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Vladimir Solodov: I like working second number
The Prime Minister of Yakutia in an interview with EastRussia spoke about the fight against poverty in the republic, the reduction of public sector employees and major projects
The construction of a bridge across the Lena, the extraction of diamonds, and the cultivation of vegetables under permafrost conditions - Yakutia boasts various projects, however, the largest region of Russia has many problematic issues that the republic’s authorities have to solve. The Prime Minister of Yakutia Vladimir Solodov in a large interview with EastRussia spoke about the fight against poverty in the region, budget cuts, the debts and problems of large companies, global projects, investments and personal success.
- Vladimir Viktorovich, how are you successful in learning the Yakut language, who speaks better - the head of the Agency for Attracting Investments and Export Support of Yakutia Kondrashin, or you?
- Kondrashin and I did not compete in Yakutsk, but I repent, I have not made much progress. The method of learning the language is such that I reconcile individual phrases with assistants and train pronunciation.
- A trip to which ulus was remembered most of all? And what?
- I remembered a trip to the Tatta ulus, where I went with people from this ulus. The result was a trip to winter classic Yakutia with stories about the history of the ulus. I was inspired by him, as one of the cradles of the Yakut culture. To come and see the area, it is necessary that a person who loves this place and knows deeply tells about it. The sensation changes immediately. I had this before in Blagoveshchensk - a man who lived there all his life told me about the city with love.
I also really liked the trip to the Ust-Yansky district. She was, in fact, a challenge for me. It was the end of August 2018, a difficult situation with water on the Yana River and navigation. We were faced with the choice - to start unloading goods in Nizhneyansk in the lower reaches of the river, and then wait for the carriageway and import cargo on it with the risk that there would not be enough coal for the first time, or wait a bit, hoping that the water would rise. Opinions were divided in half. And I need to decide. It was very difficult, but in the end they made the right decision - to wait. We left, and two days later the water rose. In ten days they managed to deliver the whole load.
I am still looking at this water level graph. If another decision were made then, it would cost the republic hundreds of millions of rubles.
- Whose opinion has become decisive for you?
- There were many opinions. But all the locals who are not interested in transportation said to wait. In total, I visited 25 uluses. The task is to go to the remaining nine with the government report until March.
- On trips, you probably noticed that the villages live difficult and poor. Last year, the government announced the formation of a register of people in need. Is it created, and what are the primary decisions made to eliminate poverty?
- You need to understand that the registry itself will not solve the problem. The registry is a mechanism that will allow for more accurate consideration of the needs of people below the poverty line. He is now in the process of formation, because it is not such an easy task. I did not approach her as simple. Unfortunately, state statistics are very fragmented, and there is almost no uniform data about anything. One of the strategic tasks is to switch to such reliable information along with statistics, including on the basis of big data.
To address the problem of poverty, several directions were noted. First, we focused on which sections of the population are the most vulnerable in terms of financial situation. Of course, we need to improve the financial situation of everyone. But in conditions of limited resources, to get a quick result, you need to focus on the most vulnerable. These are residents of the countryside, families with children, residents of the Arctic regions.
Developed measures that are aimed at each group. Last winter, we canceled taxes for residents of the Arctic regions. The decision is actually a serious one not in the sense that taxes on transport, land, property of individuals have such a share in expenses, but rather a complex one, rather psychologically. This is an unprecedented decision in a situation where the tax system as a whole, especially in recent years, is moving towards an increase in the load. And we have reduced it for 68 thousand inhabitants of the Arctic. And in general, we focused on measures to improve the social infrastructure of the Arctic.
Radical measures have been taken to improve the financial well-being of families with children. True, to a greater extent at the federal level. But we participated in the formulation and upholding of some of them. With the initiative to pay maternity capital for the first child, which the president voiced during his message, we went to the federal level among other regions. It was discussed with us during the council of heads of self-government, which this year was held in an innovative format - not ministers as before spoke on all issues, but heads who worked out their decisions. Of course, it cannot be argued that since the maternity capital for the first child was talked about in our Republic Hall, the president immediately implemented this measure. But we voiced the initiative at different levels, because our contribution to this is also there.
I note that the allowance for a third child in the transfer to our cost of living is more than 16 thousand rubles. This is a decent amount, and it is comparable to the payment for a child in Germany.
The measure for rural residents is aimed at creating jobs. And in general, if we talk about poverty reduction, a sustainable measure is the development of earning opportunities than the implementation of social payments. In this sense, I note the project “Local personnel in industry”, in which more than six thousand people were employed in 2019, the allocation of grants from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Entrepreneurship, and constant advice to entrepreneurs. This is what we plan to expand further.
The fundamental challenge is the creation of competitive, highly qualified, well-paid jobs in rural areas. Without seriously resolving it, we are unlikely to advance in solving the problem of poverty in rural areas.
ABOUT REDUCING BUDGETS
- The upcoming optimization of budgetary structures and reduction will primarily affect rural residents. How many workers will be reduced?
- In general, the scale of reductions in people working in the public sector is extremely small. 50 thousand people work in the field of education, less than 1% is reduced. This is within the limits of labor market fluctuations. Health is the same. Now I can’t give exact numbers, because this is a very lively process. We are constantly looking at whom we can leave, whom we can transfer to another institution, but by December last year in the health sector for the entire period 700 people should be reduced. For example: the number of vacancies in the healthcare system as of January 1 of this year is 1.
- It turns out that these people will need to move somewhere?
- We conduct a very individual work. Many agree to serious payments that will follow after being released from work, realizing that during this time they will undergo retraining, or are in the area closer to their retirement, or there are some employment decisions.
We are trying to send youth for retraining, Or we offer a move. Unfortunately, we have settlements in which there is no other work than in the boiler room, school, FAP and the administration of the settlement. In such places, it is necessary to create jobs that will form a sustainable economy. For example, the construction of roads. The road is an increase in flow, and it immediately increases the need to maintain it in good condition, which involves the extraction of sand and gravel, the need for repair equipment, gas stations and cafes. I saw it with my own eyes when I drove from Nyurba to Mirny in a car.
This is what we will stimulate. Where there are no federal roads, we will develop related industries: collecting wild plants, in the north - collecting mammoth tusks, traditional crafts, tourism, where possible. Without creating jobs outside the budget sector, we will not systematically solve the issue of rural development.
- And where will the children from the villages live, where the schools are closing? Will boarding schools work in district centers?
- The situation is very exaggerated. We have 652 schools, of which only four schools will be lowered. As a rule, these are nearby settlements where a normal road is built. A classic example: near the village of Tyungyulyu in Megino-Kangalassky district there are two villages, each had a school and a bad road, the road became asphalt, and the schools remained. So, in one of the villages a step goes down, high school students will go to Tyungulu - this is a five km drive.
We exaggerate one problem and underestimate the other. Only 200 graduates have entered our Northeastern Federal University over the past ten years.
- This year and how much will be freed up through optimization?
- According to estimates, 1,8 billion rubles will be released in three years. This is not an exact amount, but the guideline that we noted for ourselves, the amount that is recorded in our agreements with the districts. In this matter I have always said and say that saving money is not an end in itself. The point is to bring social services in line with the requirements of time and realities.
ABOUT MAJOR CONSTRUCTIONS
- Once we talked about the budget, then this year it is probably difficult. Is it formed taking into account the decline in ALROSA sales?
- We cannot ignore this fact. The decline in ALROSA sales put serious pressure on our budget, and we were forced to cut costs by about 20 billion rubles. These are conditionally underfunded expenses that are cut out to bring them in line with income. We plan to replenish this amount during the first half of the year. On the one hand, the Russian Ministry of Finance is aware that it will work closely with us and monitor the difficult situation, on the other hand, we hope that the situation with the company's sales will even out and we will get more optimistic income figures than those that were laid down.
- Against this background, the desire to build a cultural cluster for 18,6 billion rubles is blasphemous. Don't you think this is a feast during the plague?
- The first thing to do is still give honest and correct numbers. The center costs ten billion rubles.
- As a result, the investor will receive the initial amount?
- On the horizon for 20 years. When we talk about the cost of an apartment, we announce how much it costs, and do not name the amount paid on the mortgage. It’s the same here. Let's share the answer, first I will explain why we need this center, then I will explain its cost.
In fact, the question is standing still: do you need the Republicsе Sakha (Yakutia) cultural objects of the federal level, are breakthroughs in the field of culture needed? I believe that Yakutia should not be content with the level of rural cultural houses, the restoration of emergency rooms and the construction of schools. The republic has unique traditions, in many respects their development was laid down in modern history by the first president of the republic, Mikhail Efimovich Nikolaev. In much more difficult times, he laid down radical things - he created a higher school of music, theaters. In this sense, I proceed from the fact that Yakutia is a region that can not only in words but in fact become the flagship of the development of the north-east of the country, become a foothold in the Arctic. In the modern world, this reliance can be made only on human capital, and it is impossible without a developed culture.
It’s not even that we will train violinists who will win the Tchaikovsky competition. Although it is also very important, as in the sport of top achievements - Samples needed. But the fact is that our children will touch the world-class culture. In the absence of such an opportunity, they will not grow up as full-fledged harmonious personalities. Because in the modern world, to be not a technical employee, but to create, you need to be a harmoniously developed person.
Now opera vocalists refuse to come to us, because we do not have a hall with appropriate acoustics. For the last time, I won’t tell you exactly who, a world-class performer, after performing in our opera and ballet theater, said that we have wonderful spectators, Yakutia is a wonderful, cultural region, but he will not come here anymore, because you can’t sing on such a stage .
I was in the hall of our philharmonic. It is impossible to have such a hall, it is simply indecent. And there we have a good ensemble, talented guys. They will just leave.
The cultural center will be multifunctional and will be able to serve as a congress hall. And this is what Yakutsk needs if we do not want to be a seedy region somewhere on the outskirts of the country.
And now for the sum. Why do people buy an apartment on a mortgage? Because the apartment is needed now, and the money will appear in them gradually. The same with us. If we had ten billion, then in three years we would have a concert hall. We do not have that kind of money now, but we can pay 1/20 of this amount every year, and this is beneficial from the point of view of the economy. There is a law of discounting value. You can’t evaluate the cost today, in ten years it will be completely different than today. Therefore, the neglected thesis that we are building a philharmonic building for 18 billion is false. The ten billion object is an object that meets the requirements of our ambitions as the cultural capital of the Arctic.
- By the same principle is a bridge built across the Lena? What does it mean in the concession agreement: the concessor returns 40 billion of investment and another 25 billion from the operation of the bridge?
- It’s easier to expand the financial model. The total cost of the bridge is 83,4 billion rubles, of which 63,9 billion is the cost of construction and installation works, 13 billion is VAT and 6,5 billion is other expenses at the construction stage and design and estimate documentation (interest payments, insurance , bank guarantee, etc.). According to sources of financing, these 83,4 billion rubles are divided as follows: 29,1 billion - funds of a private investor, 54,3 billion - of the state. Of the budget, 47,9 billion is invested by the federal center, and 6,4 by the subject. And investor funds are returned in equal installments during the operation period, they are not concentrated during the construction period.
- As a result, the investor returns its 15%? Or will there already be a different amount?
- The investor receives the total amount of expenses, part of which is paid in the form of VAT, and then returned. He receives this money from various sources: from the federal and republican budgets and during operation. I’ll clarify that the investor’s operating payments provide for the payment of property tax and income tax, the proceeds from which will be transferred to the republic’s budget.
“But the bridge is no longer a ghostly project?”
- How can it be like this if a legally significant concession agreement is concluded, if the president gives an order, if he is included in a comprehensive plan for the development of the main infrastructure? It has not yet been included in the federal budget, but the financial model is designed in such a way that the investor will carry out design work at his own expense, without waiting for the allocation of funds at a faster pace.
- Back in 2018, you said that the government would do everything possible to improve the financial situation of Yakutia Airlines. But we know that it falls into a financial hole.
- I have different ratings. When an organization is in a difficult financial situation, a sober look is needed. Another example is Sterkh insurance company, which told everyone that everything is fine. Until one day an independent examination revealed that Sterkh did not stop issuing insurance without providing reserves. Us to pull the company, it was necessary to invest one billion rubles for a short period of time. There is no such money, so we had to initiate a license revocation ourselves.
Therefore the first, what needs to be done is to soberly assess the situation. Why does it seem from the outside that it has worsened over the year? A rigorous analysis showed that lost court cases on outstanding, often fictitious works of three years ago “crawled out”.
- There are new lawsuits worth more than 600 million rubles.
- These are old unpaid contracts, they are now renewed in court. This is not a problem of today, but the hidden problems of past years that lay under the carpet and that were pulled out this year. Indeed, the situation at the airline is complicated, but in the last year it has improved.
- What is the company's debt now?
- The total debt is in the range of three billion rubles with an annual turnover of about 12 billion. The amount of debt is not the main problem. The main problem is operating loss.
The financial situation of the airline was affected by the revocation of the license for international flights in 2018, and they are one of the most profitable, the need to establish the validity of aircraft. As a result, all aircraft are rendered fit., except one.
In addition to all this, the problem associated with the reconstruction of the runway affects. Next year it will become even shorter, and Yakutia will remain the only company that will carry out non-stop flights to Moscow. In case of refusal of direct flights, only Bombardier or An24 will fly from Yakutsk to Novosibirsk, and the flight time will be six hours.
It would be economically more profitable to close direct flights to Moscow, but we decided not to refuse them. We believe that, leaving them, we maintain an element of the social well-being of the population. Of course, we will support the airline. If we deprive her of help now, she will dive.
- What is the amount of support this year?
- It has not yet been determined, because this year we have a difficult budget, but approximately in the amount of the last year: 1,5-1,7 billion rubles. Depends on the possibilities our budget.
- What are the difficulties of reconstructing the strip of the Yakutsk airport?
- The difficulties are connected with the fact that a number of mistakes were made at the design stage, as a result of which we do not have such an important detail as the design documentation for the ramp. It should connect the already reconstructed strip and the part of the strip that has not yet been reconstructed.
The bottom line is that we use the strip during the reconstruction, since we have no alternative (such a design solution was provided), therefore, in order to level the emerging step of the reconstructed strip (and it is higher than the old one), a ramp is made that allows use full length. Since it was not laid down at the initial stage, we found ourselves in such a situation that Yakutsk could be without stable flights. In order to prevent this, we have achieved that a ramp will be designed first and the reconstruction will continue immediately. In this regard, the project launch period is somewhat lengthened, but this is the most acceptable way in our case.
ABOUT BOATS AND UAVS
- Continuing the topic of the aviation industry, tell me if Yakutia intends to participate in the testing of airships? Did the drones operated by Polar Airlines prove to be useful?
- Polar Airlines has just begun to implement the project: they purchased one complex with two unmanned aerial vehicles. They are still testing the technologies for their use. The most demanded right now is their use in service aviation, associated with the monitoring of hazardous technical facilities and remote areas where human participation is not required.
In the future, we plan to significantly expand the use of drones. At the first stage - for the purpose of monitoring forest fires, monitoring water and gas pipelines, power lines, as well as developing quarries for mining and using agricultural land. We will gradually expand the list of directions, and move from drones of the monitoring class to drones of the transportation class.
At the same time, there are objective difficulties associated with climatic conditions and with the use of new power sources, since traditional batteries cannot withstand our Yakut frosts. You need either another fuel, in particular, hydrogen fuel is considered, or fundamentally different types of batteries.
As for the airships, we are also looking at this type of transport. This idea, on the one hand, seems rather fantasy, on the other hand, industrial airships for transporting large loads is an old technology that periodically returns for various kinds of use. There is also a whole series of technical issues related to wind load, safety for the settlements over which the airships will pass, with control and other technical aspects. It is still difficult to say whether it will turn out to be actively used, but in any case, we need to consider non-obvious mechanisms of cargo delivery and transportation of people. Therefore, in the future, I would not rule out the use of airships or other aircraft, such as ekranoplanes.
- Does the republic plan to support private air carriers and provide them with state guarantee if they want to unite and create a local company?
- The project of creating a private company was discussed, and with its implementation we are certainly ready to provide support. Another thing is that now such a level of regulation of the aviation sector that even large companies with state support can hardly withstand the requirements of the Federal Air Transport Agency, so the new company requires significant financial leverage. We are not ready to create a third state airline - we need to ensure stable and sustainable development of existing ones.
Another thing is that the question is periodically raised in order to move from the obligation to create an airline to the possibility of flights, say, by individuals who purchase one or two aircraft and carry passengers. Now this is prohibited, but provided that federal legislation is amended to allow the active development of private small aircraft, we, of course, will actively support the entrepreneurs of Yakutia who want to engage in this popular activity. But again, now it is prohibited by the rules and regulations of the Federal Air Transport Agency, and only airlines are allowed to transport people, for which quite serious requirements are made.
- Do the Japanese intend to expand the project on a wind park in Yakutia? What was the savings with the installed complexes?
- The wind-diesel complex in Tiksi is a unique project being developed by the RusHydro group together with the Japanese Komaihaltec Inc and the organization for the development of new energy and industrial technologies (NEDO). The project is underway, and so far the economic effect cannot be properly assessed.
During the four months of last year, with a partial load, the wind turbine generated 430 thousand kWh of electric energy in Tiksi. In 2020, the second phase of the project will be implemented in Tiksi: the construction of a DES-3000 kW with an electric energy storage device. The first electricity generation of the new power plant is scheduled for the end of the year.
- In December, the resident of Kangalassi TOP, the Sabiem company, said that he had made jewelry worth one million dollars. Have you started selling products?
- The products of the diamond-cutting cluster have already begun to be manufactured, the first products are sold, until this is a mass segment, but, so to speak, unique jewelry. But in 2020, we plan to continue serious work on the development of the cluster. I think that in the near future the target production indicators will be tentatively announced.
- What do your friends and relatives ask you first of all when they meet you in Moscow?
“They are interested in how I live here.” Especially mom is worried, like all mothers. Friends ask about the cold, about how it works, when I get back. Mom and her elder brother's family came to Ysyakh Olonkho last summer. They lived on Buotam for several days. We were delighted with nature, fishing and the fact that the conductor, getting off the boat, found a mammoth tooth. True, they complained about mosquitoes.
- At a meeting with reporters, you said that you often go to church. But this year you were not at the Epiphany font in the Green Meadow.
- On this day I had a session scheduled with deputy chairmen, I decided not to cancel it. After somehow there was no time. Perhaps because I do not attach diving to Jordan of paramount importance. Yes, this is an important pious custom, but it is not a sacrament in the Orthodox Church. It was more important for me to go to the Epiphany service, which I did. Recently, I often go to the suburban village of Zhatay, there is a small wooden temple. I like.
- In a recent interview you said that you like the works of Henry Hesse. Are you close to his heroes who are in conflict with themselves and their surroundings?
- I like The Bead Game, because the novel is dedicated to an important topic - self-improvement and development of the education system. Most of all I like to teach. I consider education to be the most important value in our society. Residents of Yakutia pay much attention to issues of development and education, and I believe that this largely determines the opportunity for a breakthrough and the strong qualities that exist in our republic.
I do not identify with the heroes of Hesse. In part, this was a spontaneous response; in part, I wanted to draw attention. Honestly, I haven’t read many books lately. I read too many documents, and when I don’t read them, I don’t want to read anything.
- It was even more amazing to find out that your favorite film is the Soviet film “Love and Pigeons”.
- I watched it ten times. I like that there are textured heroes and life sketches. They remind me of Kusturica’s films. He has the film "Life is a Miracle." The plot is delusional, but each frame is like an opening.
- You can recognize a lover of creativity ...
- Whom? Tarkovsky? I try, at least, not to draw. For the image, one could say that I love Stalker. But I like very different films. Like "Requiem for a Dream." Of course, I’m not going to revise it, after watching I did not sleep at midnight. I watched The Beginning many times.
- A couple of years ago in one of the interviews you said that you like working as the second number. Your position has not changed?
- Not changed. There are people who are configured so that either the first number or nothing. But I do not belong to them. I like to work the second number. I believe that one of the successful constructions that were underestimated in the modern Russian system is a deuce, a tandem, where there is always one leader and the other is supported. That is how I perceive working with Aisen Sergeyevich Nikolaev. And I'm comfortable, I really appreciate this opportunity.