Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov briefed the meeting participants about the mechanisms of protection for citizens with high debt levels, in particular about the new rules for out-of-court bankruptcy procedure, which became effective on November 3. Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina also commented on the subject.
The speeches by Minister of Sport Oleg Matytsin and Head of the Russian Popular Front Executive Committee Mikhail Kuznetsov were devoted to the system of tax deduction for physical training and sports.
The Minister of Culture Olga Lyubimova spoke about the restoration of cultural heritage sites, while the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Alexander Kozlov talked about the progress in construction of the Vostok station and the work of the Antarctic expedition.
The meeting was also attended by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, Deputy Prime Minister – Chief of the Government Staff Dmitry Grigorenko, Deputy Prime Minister – Plenipotentiary Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yury Trutnev, deputy prime ministers Viktoria Abramchenko, Tatyana Golikova, Alexander Novak, Alexei Overchuk, Marat Khusnullin and Dmitry Chernyshenko, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin and Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov. In addition, the heads of several ministries and departments were invited to the meeting.
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Excerpts from transcript of meeting with Government members
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
Mr Murashko is our key speaker today. He will brief us on measures to combat oncological diseases.
Incidentally, I visited the Dima Rogachev Centre today – probably you noticed this. I discussed this with Mr Mishustin this morning.
I would like to thank the Healthcare Ministry for its serious attitude towards the work of this institution. Specialists have a number of questions, but we will discuss them later. They are asking for support and assistance on some specific problems. We will discuss this separately with the Minister afterwards.
But before getting to the main item, let’s discuss some current issues. I would like to ask Mr Reshetnikov to start with the protection of people with a high debt burden. There are some changes in this issue and people should know about them. Of course, everyone should understand that all these actions are aimed at protecting the interests of our citizens.
I would like to ask Mr Reshetnikov to speak about this problem in more detail.
Vladimir Putin: Ms Lyubimova, we have 154,000 federal and regional cultural heritage sites, and 16 percent of them are in poor condition. This process has clearly dragged on, especially their transfer to economic use. I know that you have some proposals. And in general, how is this work going?
Minister of Culture Olga Lyubimova: Mr President,
Indeed, almost 154,000 cultural heritage sites are currently included in the register, and work has been organised with the new regions to update the unified register. It is scheduled for completion by the end of 2025.
Every year, the Ministry of Culture works to preserve more than 300 cultural heritage sites. We pay special attention to historical communities – there are 46 such towns and villages at the federal level and 112 at the regional level. We apply the ‘conservation for development’ principle to those communities. For this purpose, we designate facilities for protection and work out development concepts for each historical community for decades ahead.
Such concepts have been approved for Plyos, Arzamas, Borovsk, Tutayev, Gorokhovets, Yeniseysk, Krapivna, Kyakhta in the Republic of Buryatia, and Suzdal. And we have plans for Vyborg, Zaraysk, Belyov, Vologda, Yaroslavl, Tomsk and Kargopol.
We are working on this in close cooperation with the respective regions, and this has had a positive effect, prompting the development of local businesses, restaurants, cafes and hotels, as well as an increase in the tourist flow. For example, tourist flows to Arzamas, Krapivna and Gorokhovets have doubled over the past year, and the tiny Tutayev now welcomes more than 250,000 visitors a year.
The Ministry of Culture is doing a lot of work to preserve cultural and natural landscapes associated with historical events or the lives of eminent people, and to designate places of interest. Some of the best examples include Polenovo, Yasnaya Polyana in the Tula Region, the Solovetsky archipelago in the Arkhangelsk Region, and the ancient city of Tauric Chersonesos in Sevastopol. Currently, more than 2,000 places of interest have been added to the register.
I would like to specifically note the results of work to reduce administrative barriers to renovation activities.
All public services related to the preservation of cultural heritage sites are now available digitally. The shift was achieved through the joint efforts of the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Economic Development and our colleagues from the Ministry of Digital Development. As a result, the time limits for most services have been halved, and the number of documents to be submitted has been reduced by two thirds.
Thanks to you, Mr President, a very important problem affecting people living in listed apartment buildings has also been solved. On September 1, a law came into force allowing for capital repair works to be carried out in such buildings. Given that there are 8,000 residential buildings in the country that are recognised as cultural heritage sites, this is a very welcome measure of support for their residents, and according to our preliminary estimates, it will save more than 200 billion rubles.
Mr President, in pursuance of your instruction, the Ministry, together with the DOM.RF joint-stock company, is also working on the possibility of turning heritage sites with low investment attractiveness into economic objects. The first five regions to participate in the pilot project have already been identified: the Trans-Baikal Territory and the Novgorod, Ryazan, Smolensk and Tver regions.
The Ministry of Culture has also been implementing two more new programmes since 2020. The first is the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Sites programme, which makes it possible to prevent further damage to monuments and to ensure the possibility of their restoration in the future. This programme covers 50 sites annually. And there is a programme for the preservation of wooden architecture monuments, which ensures the restoration of five sites per year.
Thank you for your attention.
Vladimir Putin: Ok. We need to work more actively here, of course. The preferential interest, how much is the rate for a restoration project? Four percent?
Olga Lyubimova: We are working on four percent, yes, with the possibility of compensating banks, respectively.
Vladimir Putin: We need to see how this goes in the regions. Because in Moscow, it is clear that these investments pay for themselves quite quickly. We need to see how it will go in the regions.
And as we go along, as we implement this plan and this project, I ask you to report back in six months or so on what is happening there, so that, if necessary, we can make some adjustments, and by the end of the year, the pace should be noticeable and positive.
Mr Kozlov has sent us two good pictures. I think the Government members have them. They show our Vostok station in Antarctica. The 69th Russian expedition is about to get underway. These two photos show what took place from January 2003 to November 2023.
Mr Kozlov, please tell us what happened.
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Alexander Kozlov: Thank you.
Mr President, Mr Prime Minister, colleagues,
The 69th seasonal Russian expedition has begun in Antarctica. More than 650 people – scientists, technical staff and builders of the new winter complex for the Vostok station – will take part in it.
Russia operates ten research stations in Antarctica. Five of them are year-round and five are seasonal. Vostok is the only station located in the central part of the continent, and the construction of the winter complex is among the world’s most challenging engineering projects, considering logistics, low temperatures and climate. Right now, it is 60 degrees below zero there.
The new winter complex is a modular structure with a total area of over 3,000 square metres, almost like a five-story building. The modules were manufactured in Gatchina in 2020. In 2021, the disassembled structure was loaded onto ships and sent to Antarctica where it was transported deeper into the continent on sledges, almost 1,500 kilometres away from the coast. The route included elevation changes of up to 4,000 metres above sea level, comparable to Mount Elbrus, which is why the builders undergo high-altitude training before going to the continent.
What has been accomplished in the two construction seasons, which in Antarctica last only four months, from November to February?
During the first season, 36 supports were installed to form the foundation. Specially made jacks were embedded in the supports to level and adjust the station's height depending on the snow level. A garage module was assembled, which, in addition to unloading dock and equipment storage and servicing, has a snow melter to provide station residents with water, which is important.
During the second construction season, which ended in February, two more modules were assembled: an engineering module with an energy supply system, and a residential unit which offers 15 comfortable rooms, a dining area, and a recreation space.
Up to 35 researchers can live and work at the station during the season, and up to 15 polar explorers can stay for the winter. All modules have an external insulation system one metre thick, so you could say they are wrapped in a layer of special insulation like in a sleeping bag.
By the way, specifically for the second construction season, we have implemented another complex infrastructure project. We upgraded the runway to receive cargo planes like the Il-76 in order to quickly deliver builders and equipment to the Progress station. The flight from St Petersburg now takes 72 hours via Cape Town compared to 45 days by sea. By the way, the runway can be used as a platform for international air transport. China, India, and Australia’s stations are located nearby.
The third construction season at the Vostok station started in November with 176 builders already in Antarctica. They will finish the construction of the two remaining modules. These are not the main facilities but will be used for storing fuel reserves and equipment backups and parts. The construction of the complex is almost finished, and the scientific and technical staff can stay and work there permanently. We plan that this year, six people from the Institute of Arctic and Antarctic and 30 technicians will stay there in order to launch Vostok into pilot operation to test all systems in operating mode.
At the end of January, we will be there together with the director of our Antarctic and Arctic Institute and the head of Novatek, which co-financed the project. We are ready to set up a teleconference. The polar explorers and builders working there would appreciate it if you, Mr President, personally gave the command to start. Please support this request.
The full operation of all five winter complex modules will begin in early 2025. I want to emphasise that, despite the construction, our polar explorers did not suspend their research in this area.
For example, last year, thanks to the work conducted by the Mining University since the 1970s, the researchers raised an ice core that is approximately 1.2 million years old from a depth of more than 3.5 kilometres. Glaciologists, chemists, and climatologists from the Institute of Arctic and Antarctic and the Limnological Institute of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences are studying it. Without a doubt, the subglacial lake is the main focus of research at Vostok. Taking samples from it in 2012 was a world-class achievement. Now, the goal is to get to the lake itself. Studying this untouched water body will help answer questions about how Earth's climate formed millions of years ago.
The project to study this subglacial lake will last for several years, and this winter complex is being built to provide the scientists with workable living conditions so they can live and work comfortably onsite.
Thank you very much. That concludes my report.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Kozlov, if this core is 1.2 million years old, it means this ice has been there for the past 1.2 million years, correct? Or?
Alexander Kozlov: Yes, absolutely correct. Most importantly, these results will help us materially and technically substantiate changes in the climate agenda, which is being widely discussed at the international level. We really need this.
Vladimir Putin: Could it be that this water didn’t freeze 1.2 million years ago, but sometime more recently? Is that possible?
Alexander Kozlov: Mr President, this is atmospheric ice. Science says that the ice is as old as I indicated before.
Vladimir Putin: Well, okay.
For Novatek, it is a charity project, correct?
Alexander Kozlov: Yes, they co-financed the project with almost 3.5 billion rubles. They are working with us as part of the team. They brought in the contractors, and their experience and expertise help us complete these large projects on schedule.
Vladimir Putin: Thank Mr Leonid Mikhelson and the Novatek team for their support.
Let's move on to the main item, measures to combat cancer.
Please, Mr Murashko, the floor is yours.