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"I do not like being last"
Vladimir Ilyukhin Governor of Kamchatsky Krai
- Vladimir Ivanovich, 2014 year came to the finish line. How successful he was for Kamchatka. How did you manage to do what was planned? And what did not have time?
- The outgoing year in Kamchatka, despite all the difficulties, can be assessed as positive, although, of course, we would like to see more “red ribbons”. This year we have passed a large amount of housing, social and cultural facilities, engineering and transport infrastructure. Significant positive changes have occurred in agriculture. Thanks to the reconstruction and construction of new production facilities, the volume of production of meat, milk and vegetables has noticeably increased in the region. There was an understanding of what to do with reindeer herding - this is an important and painful aspect for us.
At the end of the year in Palana, we opened a new runway. Imagine, for more than twenty years in the village there were constant interruptions to air traffic, the band was in terrible condition. They patched it as they could, moved by helicopters through Tigil ... Now they launched direct flights from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The strip can accept all types of aircraft that are in Kamchatka aviation, so that passenger traffic has increased significantly.
In general, the situation in all districts of the region largely depends on the position of the municipal authorities. We are trying to actively support the municipalities, where the authorities are responsible for their work, introducing new projects. This year, thanks to the active position of the leadership of the Ust-Kamchatka region, we have completed the construction of the last bridges on the highway leading to the settlements of the region. Now it is possible to drive them all year round by car, without waiting for the barge or the opening of the ice crossing. I really hope that this will serve as an impetus for the economic development of the territory.
- In the outgoing year, the Kamchatka Territory made, in fact, the “face” of the Far East, having hosted the investment forum “The Far East - 2014”. How do you evaluate its results?
"We've already talked a lot about this, I do not want to repeat myself." Let me briefly say that we held an important event not only for Kamchatka, but also for the entire Far East. We had many guests. We showed our region is open for investment. If we talk about the financial results, we signed contracts worth about 40 billion rubles, of which more than half - off-budget. Today, when the economic situation in the world is very complicated, I would like us to use the results of this forum to the maximum - at least, they realized those contracts that provide for federal co-financing for infrastructure. The first priority for us is to put in order the port facilities, the airport complex. For us, everything that concerns transport logistics in Kamchatka is relevant. Within the framework of the forum, we signed a number of important agreements with the leadership of Rosmorrechflot, which provide for the reconstruction of berthing facilities, already now in Petropavlovsk is building a modern building of the sea terminal. Recently, the reconstruction of the airfield complex at the main airport of the region has been completed, and we plan to start the construction of the terminal already on the terms of public-private partnership. A number of agreements signed at the forum concern the development of the mineral and raw materials complex. This is real money, which in the near future will come to the economy of the peninsula.
- It turns out that holding various forums brings a concrete economic effect?
- But at the same time promising.
- Yes, Kamchatka is a very promising territory, especially in terms of the development of the Northern Sea Route (NSR). We spent a lot of time and effort to enter the list of territories that are related to the Northern Sea Route and the Arctic. On the Pacific coast of Russia, the port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is the most convenient to handle the cargo that the Northern Sea Route will receive: it is convenient to carry out transshipment and continue to work in the APR countries. We should make the most of it. I and Korean colleagues encouraged me to consider this opportunity together to equip the infrastructure and build a fleet. We are ready to provide investors with all possible preferences.
The development of the Northern Sea Route is also interesting for us from the point of view of creating a reliable internal sea transport corridor. We have had experience working with Murmansk and St. Petersburg: two years in a row, our fishermen, in small batches, however, carry fish for the Northern Sea Route for the 22-23 of the day, which is more economical and faster than the way through Vladivostok.
- Recently, the whole world was shocked by the tragedy with South Korean sailors in the region of Chukotka. The rescue operation was coordinated from the port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Will you propose the creation of a rescue and dispatch center in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to service this section of the Northern Sea Route?
- While at the forum in Korea, I expressed my condolences to the relatives and friends of the victims, the Korean side. Although the tragedy happened near the coast of Chukotka, from naval jurisdiction it is the authority of our Spascentre. The leadership of the rescue operation was conducted from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, and our guys did everything they could. There was a strong storm, unrest up to 10 points. Even those who carried out the rescue operation are already heroes. Not everyone is able to show such courage. I had to do with the navy and the sea and I know what it is. But in the sea in another way it is impossible. To stretch out a hand to the one who dies is the sacred duty of everyone who is connected with the sea element.
The safety of navigation is important for us. And I'm talking about safety not only in expeditions that extract water resources in the Bering Sea or the Sea of Okhotsk, but also about safety in sea transportation. The rescue and dispatch center in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky already exists. There is a system of assistance, including on the waters within the Ministry of Emergency Situations, within the framework of naval doctrines. Our Spasscenter is staffed, works and performs its functions as carefully as possible.
- At the end of December, a list of territories of advanced socio-economic development (TOSED) will be announced, which will be actively developing next year. And they say that TASED Kamchatka has good chances to get on this list. How would you describe a competitive advantage? Implementing projects in Kamchatka is certainly more difficult than In Primorye or the Khabarovsk Territory.
When defining TASERs in the Far East, there should be some zoning, and the attitude to the sites should also be different. All that can easily be given in the south - in Primorye, Khabarovsk Krai, we are advancing with great difficulty. We are trying to make the most of our reserves, so that our territory is not the last, but gradually came to a strong position. I do not like being the last. But also to be the first - which is pleasant and honorable - I do not want one day either. It is better to be a firm "middle peasant", knowing that the region is gradually developing steadily. This is an understanding of the robust economy that we have come to today.
- What is a "strong farm" in your understanding?
"People have suffered in Kamchatka. Remember at least the vicissitudes with the supply of fuel for another 10 years ago when we here literally cooked food at the bonfires and knew by name the steamships that should bring 3 or 5 thousand of fuel for our CHPs so that the central energy center could supply electricity for 2 hours per day. I will do my best to prevent this situation from happening again. I am proud that in recent years we have managed to solve many problems in the housing and communal complex. Energy now works like a clock. This year, for the first time in 20 years in summer, we delivered fuel to the north of the region in full. Previously, the delivery lasted until October, even the navigation was specially prolonged. In the province it is important to ensure not only a stock of fuel, but also products. Yes, it is clear that mandarins with apples will cost us more than on the "mainland", but it is important that they are even in the most remote village, like potatoes, carrots, bananas. Unfortunately, we are the second after Chukotka in Russia at the cost of the food basket. Alas, there are things that do not depend on us. For our part, we are trying to find ways to influence pricing: we have an agreement with our commodity producers, which today are trying to restrain prices. We allocate funds from the budget to close the transport component, so that local producers carry less energy costs.
And I want to note that the budget for the last five years has not increased significantly: we redistributed funds to close the key "sores" that we have accumulated. The budget for the coming years will certainly be difficult for the whole country. But in the region we will preserve its social orientation.
“Since the end of the 1990s, there has been an outflow of population from the Far East. How are things in Kamchatka today?
- In the last 30 years, we have seen quite a serious outflow. The population declined in the entire Far East. Kamchatka is no exception. In recent years, we have recorded a natural increase, but migration flows are still negative. Although this year, the situation may change due to the rather large number of citizens who came to us from the south of Ukraine. Someone from the immigrants remains, someone leaves. Many believed that money in the province "grows on trees." But we have to work in Kamchatka. Yes, for work in the areas of the Far North, residents receive surcharges, but living conditions here are really uncomfortable. And this is not only remoteness from the central regions of Russia. The climate is quite complicated - frosts for - 40 -50 degrees. If we talk about budgetary security for one inhabitant, then Kamchatka falls almost in the top ten in Russia. At the same time, everyone forgets about the colossal costs associated with logistics and other difficulties. Salaries here, although quite high, but the purchasing power - at times lower than in neighboring subjects.
- Vladimir Ivanovich, you mentioned high prices for products in the region, but at the same time Kamchatka Krai is associated with fish. We can not touch the work of fishermen. On the one hand, everyone talks about the special conditions that are emerging for the Russian manufacturer in terms of sanctions, on the other hand, the risks associated with pressure from the regulatory authorities are relevant. Can you tell us what actions fish farmers need to take and in what time frame in order to avoid such overlays in the 2015 Putin year?
- I can not. Today there is no more complicated federal legislation regulating relations in fishing: one denies the other and it is impossible to find the extreme ones when solving a number of issues. Things really are simply absurd. Why can foreign ships pass through the first Kuril strait, and our fishermen should, but do not have the right to walk on it ?! I very much hope that the attempts, which Rosrybolovstvo, and the Ministry of Agriculture, and we are discussing with them, will bring clarity and give positive results. The State Duma adopted a whole package of amendments to the current legislation regulating the order of crossing the state border by our fishing vessels. These are long-awaited amendments for our fishermen. They will at least regulate the relationship between the supervisory authorities and the fishery industry. This year, many companies suffered multi-million dollar losses because of legislative incidents. The legal field should be cleared, so that there are clear rules of the game for everyone.
- Kamchatka is not only fish, but also the mining industry. Tell me, is there an ingot of gold in your office?
- No, I do not have an ingot of gold, fortunately. Yes, it is not needed. I want gold bars from our companies that deal with this issue. We do not only get gold. In Kamchatka, platinum, nickel, and silver are mined. Although the volumes are not too big. Now we are actively developing this direction, provided additional tax and property benefits for investors in the mining industry. In the province there is an active construction of modern ore-dressing plants, development of new deposits. Already in the next 5 years, we hope to increase the gold production in 4 times, to reach 10-12 tons of metal per year. For us it will be good indicators. However, it is very important to scrupulously approach these projects and preserve the pristine beauty for descendants.
- Do you think sanctions against Russia can somehow affect Russia's gold projects?
- The imposition of sanctions already affect pricing. I do not think that the current situation will continue for a long time. In recent years, the price of gold was one of the highest in history, although it was still very low in the 1990s. In Kamchatka, on average, the gold content is about 12-19 grams per ton, these are fairly good deposits. Therefore, I hope that all projects in this industry will be further developed, and the GOKs that are under construction will reach the planned level in time. This will give not only the growth of production volumes and new jobs, this is a serious tax return for our remote northern territories. So, I declare: there should be a mining industry in Kamchatka!
- You have touched upon the problems of reindeer herding in the region. What are they?
- Not only we, but all the northern territories have faced the problem of acute shortage of personnel in this industry. Attempts to solve the issue through the traditional way of life of indigenous small peoples of the North were unsuccessful simply because people were disaccustomed to working in the tundra. This is an echo of Soviet times, when children from families who worked in this area were forcibly taken to cities and towns to schools.
In the college of Palana, we introduced a specialty "Reindeer breeder" a couple of years ago, but there is practically no one who wants to study this profession. Reindeer husbandry is a complex and difficult work. People find it easier to buy a piece of meat from the store or from poachers, so as not to forget the taste of venison. I worked for a long time in the North and understand that for these people reindeer husbandry meant. North they lived! In the best years the number of reindeer in Kamchatka reached 280 thousand heads. We scored a year for 40-50 thousand deer, and now we have only about 46-47 thousand goals. We will not leave the figures of the past years in the coming years, but we can change the situation only through business mechanisms. And we have bright positive examples, when private business begins to engage in reindeer husbandry, we support it, helping with the purchase of equipment and subsidizing various costs.
- As for tourism, in your opinion, against the background of the weakening of the ruble, is it worth expecting a flow of tourists to the region?
In recent years, the region comes to the order of 50-60 thousand tourists per year. We plan to reach the level of 100 thousand in the coming years. But for this it is necessary to "tighten up" the tourist infrastructure, develop a hotel fund.
In addition, our task is to redistribute the flows within a year. The most attractive for visiting the region are traditionally July, August, September. At this time the hotels are crowded, there are almost no free tickets for airplanes, and the cost of the flight is off scale. Now more and more people have come to visit us in the winter and we are trying to create comfortable conditions for winter recreation, we are reconstructing ski resorts, we are holding large themed holidays. For example - a lot of tourists came to us last spring dog race "Beringia".
Another important area is cruise tourism. Now we accept about 10-12 cruise ships per year. Within the framework of the economic forum, we signed an agreement with a company that carries out international calls. As a result of the implementation of the agreement, the number of cruise ship calls to the Petropavlovsk port should increase to 60.
- This is not the Swiss who, according to some media, is ready to invest about 5 million dollars in the development of cruise tourism?
"Show me this Swiss, let me touch it." I do not know, I did not see him. Baek of different kinds, probably, goes a lot. At the economic forum in Korea, I spoke no more about Kamchatka, but about the Far East in general: the region is open to guests, as at any time. Come, invest and earn money, and we are ready to drive. Who thinks modern, probably, will come. Maybe this Swiss, in the end.
We have many proposals - in tourism, food and transport, energy, and the gold sector. Come! We can offer a whole lot of projects: invest, and we will help.
- In late December, preparations began for the traditional "Beringia" dog sled dog race, which will be held in March next year. Is this one of the forms of popularizing tourism?
- Not only. Dogs for Kamchatka are a way of life, especially for people who have lived here since time immemorial. Deer much later dogs began to be used as a pack animal. There were no horses - boats and dogs. Therefore, it is impossible to imagine Kamchatka without dogs. We had our own ride Kamchatka breed - a cross between an ordinary sled dog and a wolf. The breed was lost, now we are restoring it. This is a very hardy, reliable dog, especially in the north.
"Beringia" is held from year to year more than 20 years and turned into a regional holiday, which every year is gaining momentum. Districts fight for the right to race through their villages. These are emotions that overwhelm everyone, these are dogs, these are themselves kayurs. This must be felt! And in order to "taste" a little "Beringia", you have to participate in it as a spectator at least on the prologue in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. And when the blue sky, white snow, beautiful dogs, inspired kayurs, people - this is not convey in words!