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“The bridge across the Lena should be a key project for the Far East”

The Chairman of the Government of Yakutia summed up the results of the WEF-2019 for the republic

Yakutia presented at the fifth Eastern Economic Forum, held in Vladivostok, several major investment projects, as well as the results of the development of a national development program for the Far East. In an interview with EastRussia, Chairman of the Government of Yakutia Vladimir Solodov spoke about the new goals, prospects, and also the results of the WEF-2019 for the republic.

“The bridge across the Lena should be a key project for the Far East”

- The fifth Eastern Economic Forum ended, Yakutia was its traditional participant. How can you rate the anniversary forum?

- Every year the WEF reaches a new height, takes a new level, and the fifth, anniversary forum has proved it once again - in terms of the number of participants, in the maturity of discussions, and in the specifics of the agreements. It is no exaggeration to say that we have reached a qualitatively new level. In my opinion, the main event of the forum was the meeting of the State Council, which was held by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and at which the head of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) Aisen Nikolaev presented the results of the development of a national development program for the Far East. This program should draw a line and move from catch-up development to leadership development in the Far East, ensure a quality of life consistent with economic potential and growth, set a number of new development vectors that we will implement in the coming years.

- Which of the agreements signed at WEF-2019 would you note first?

- Our agreements reinforce the ongoing negotiations. At the forum, Yakutia traditionally actively participated in the business program. I would single out a few blocks of agreements. One of them concerns our main flagship investors, with whom we have been cooperating for several years and agree on a new quality of interaction. For example, this is cooperation with the Rosatom company, with which we agreed on the deployment of one of the low-power nuclear power plants in Yakutia. For the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), with its vast expanses, harsh climate, this can be of revolutionary importance: to ensure the availability of utilities and heating, for the quality of life, but more importantly, for the development of new investment projects, in particular related to the processing of natural resources. Huge natural resources are not being developed right now because it is impossible to reach the infrastructure. A nuclear power plant can solve this issue. In addition, we agreed with RusHydro on the modernization of the heating system in Yakutsk, with a key partner, Alrosa, on the implementation of a number of infrastructure projects.

The second block of agreements is related to the development of infrastructure. The main one for the republic is a bridge over the Lena River. We understand the need to build a bridge; all federal executive bodies already share this. In anticipation of the final approval and inclusion in the program documents with financing, we have entered into a number of agreements with partners to develop technical solutions. This is the Japanese company Mitsui, the Russian flagship of education and science in the field of road construction - Moscow Automobile and Road State Technical University and a number of others.

In addition, we agreed to attract private funds in the social sphere. I can give two examples: the children's health camp "Polar Star", which will be built in Yakutia thanks to the support of the program for the development of social growth centers, implemented on behalf of Yuri Petrovich Trutnev. The vast majority of the funds will come from the investor with a capital grant from the federal budget for this program. We will also develop similar solutions in the field of work with the elderly.

A separate block is cooperation in the development of high technologies. The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) is the flagship of this area in the Far East - 75% of all exports of digital solutions and services account for precisely Yakutia. At the WEF, we agreed with a number of our partners on concrete steps to strengthen cooperation in this area. I can cite Rostelecom as an example, which, together with our municipalities, continues to penetrate the fiber-optic communication line, without which the high-quality development of the Internet is impossible. By agreement, the Internet will come to the most distant Arctic regions - Oleneksky, Anabar - in the very near future. We will also pull fiber-optic communications together with the Magadan region.

We agreed with MTS that more than 500 million rubles will be invested in infrastructure development. In addition, we will implement projects in the field of "Smart City", work with big data and artificial intelligence.

- At the forum, Yakutia presented a project of a tourist cluster. Tell us more about him.

- Tourism is one of the growth points for us. The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) is endowed with unique natural beauty and remains intact. This attracts a large number of people who want to come to us. But there are still certain constraints regarding transport infrastructure and accommodation facilities.

We are systematically moving towards the removal of these restrictions: we are developing the Yakutsk airport, and are building new accommodation facilities. We see two clusters that will develop. The first includes the urban district of Yakutsk and the Khangalassky district, the Lena Pillars park is located there - the pearl of Yakutia, plus a tourist route is being worked out that will be comfortable and accessible for everyone. The second cluster is formed around Oymyakon - the pole of cold, the place where the official temperature record of -NUMX degrees Celsius is recorded. In the modern world, such unique and extreme phenomena are attracting more and more interest. Last year, two foreign athletes ran a marathon in the 71,2-degree frost in Oymyakon. The pole of cold attracts by the fact that you can feel for yourself this unique temperature phenomenon, when the water splashed out of the bottle freezes before it reaches the ground and falls in the form of pieces of ice. People of the modern world, accustomed to traditional forms of recreation and fed up with them, come to such places with great interest. We are confident that we can occupy the niche of extreme natural tourism not only on Russian, but also on a global scale.

- Returning to the draft national program, tell us what other projects would you like to see in it?

- The national program is a comprehensive document and its essence is to give an additional impetus to the development of the main areas, starting with key economic projects and the social sphere. Of course, the main project and the main problem for the republic is transport accessibility. We remain largely isolated from the main territory of Russia, so the construction of a bridge across the Lena River should be our key decision. This was discussed at the State Council, and we are confident that this project should be included in the national program as one of the key in solving the problems facing the whole Far East.

In addition, I would note the decision that the president has already made - the provision of mortgage loans in the Far East at 2% per annum for young families. This is a key topic, because the population, quantity and quality of human capital is the basis of development. Who else but youth should become the basis for the development of demography and human capital in the Far East. The housing problem is very concerned about our citizens, so this decision is historical. It will definitely enter the national program and will be able to make a serious contribution to solving this issue.

The president also supported proposals to increase the number of places for Far Eastern students to study at universities, the revision of approaches to health care, in particular the use of an estimate mechanism for remote sparsely populated areas, where per capita financing does not allow for a sufficient number of specialists and to provide adequate medical care. A number of areas concern the development of school education and other significant areas that determine the quality of life in the Far East.

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