Artur Parfenchikov said that in recent years, thanks to federal support and the maximum use of their own capabilities, the situation in the republic has changed dramatically.
At the end of last year, regional revenues almost doubled compared to the 2017 level. Industrial production, in comparable prices, grew by almost 12 percent, and investment, by 40 percent, exceeding 70 billion rubles.
The region is establishing technology parks to promote economic growth and support entrepreneurship. Russia's first stone processing technopark has opened in Petrozavodsk; the Karelian Products Technopark is being created now; there are plans to set up a technopark for packaging as part of the country’s import substitution policy. All these projects enjoy the support of the Ministry of Economic Development.
The unprecedented sanctions pressure on Russia has also opened up new opportunities for the development of domestic production. For example, Petrozavodskmash foundry, a major industrial enterprise in Karelia, has seen a dramatic increase in the volume of contracts, including those to supply engine and turbine frames – these products used to be imported.
As for agriculture, in 2018, the region discontinued the practice of rezoning agricultural land as forest reserves. To date, 14,000 hectares of land have been reinstated as cropland. The number of local farms increased 2.5 times over. State-owned agricultural companies are also expanding; there are four of them in the republic, including two state stock breeding farms.
Karelia is one of the top three Russian fish farming regions. The republic accounts for 70 percent of all Russian trout. Projects are being considered to build feed plants as well as fish hatchery and fingerlings production businesses. New environmentally friendly technologies are being introduced in fish farming and fish processing. The first projects have been launched in the White Sea in the Arctic.
Berry farming is a new and promising segment of local agriculture. Last year, the gross harvest of fruits and berries in all categories of farm exceeded 4,000 tonnes, which was almost twice the 2018 figure. According to the regional head, Karelia will be able to reach a leading position in this segment and to compete with the top manufacturers, even foreign ones.
Forestry and the timber sector are a vital part of the republic’s economy. Karelia is implementing a pilot project to introduce a model of intensive use and reproduction of forests.
The republic has implemented the President’s instruction to reduce the export of timber. Timber exports have been reduced by nearly 50 percent and timber processing in the republic has increased by 30 percent.
Various rating agencies assess Karelia as one of the best tourism regions in Russia. The number of registered tourists and travellers in Karelia was 957,000 last year, an increase of 14 percent compared to 2020.
The President was also updated on the development of the housing construction sector, the relocation of people from dilapidated housing, the modernisation of the healthcare system, construction of social facilities, development of vocational education and the implementation of the Safe and High-Quality Roads national project. Over the past five years, more than 600 kilometres of regional roads have been repaired in the republic, which is 12 times more than in the previous five years.
The head of the republic asked for the President’s support in matters of gas supply, the reduction of electricity rates and the revival of intra-regional air services.
Artur Parfenchikov noted that his term as the Head of the Republic of Karelia expires this year, which is why it is important for him to know the President’s opinion about his performance and career prospects.
Vladimir Putin replied that the situation in the republic was complicated when Parfenchikov became head of the republic, but the current trends were positive. He pointed out the growth of the gross regional product and investment in fixed assets. The President added that he expected Artur Parfenchikov to use the available positive trends when dealing with priority issues, notably support the labour market with investments, maintain stability, improve the situation in single-industry cities, and settle the problem of water supply and water treatment. He said that it was a major issue that could not be settled without support from the federal centre. Applications from the republic will be forwarded to the relevant government agencies. The President asked Artur Parfenchikov to coordinate these matters thoroughly together with the colleagues in the Government. He said that everything possible would be done to help the head of the republic.
Vladimir Putin also said that the experience which Artur Parfenchikov gained as head of the republic would have a positive effect on his work in this position during the next term and wished him success.