Dmitry Medvedev Held Meeting with Deputy Prime Ministers
OREANDA-NEWS. Dmitry Medvedev , Igor Shuvalov , Dmitry Kozak , Alexander Khloponin , Dmitry Rogozin , Vladislav Surkov , Arkady Dvorkovich , Olga Golodets , Vladimir Puchkov
Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:
Dmitry Medvedev: I’ve invited Mr Puchkov (Vladimir Puchkov, the Emergencies Minister) because several complicated situations have arisen due to the bad weather. One of them is in Azov in the Rostov Region. Yesterday I spoke with both the Emergencies Minister and the Governor. Several areas are flooded there. Nothing extraordinary is happening there at the moment, but the situation is still unpleasant. People have been relocated. I’d like you to tell me about the current situation and whether it is necessary to take any extra measures. The situation in Central Russia is not straightforward either – snow storms came there from Europe and vehicles on the roads are caught in the snow. What has been done to clear the roads and normalise traffic? Please give me a report on this, as well. I’d also like all deputy prime ministers who are present here to concern themselves with this, too.
Let’s start with this and then move on to other issues. Mr Puchkov, go ahead, please.
Vladimir Puchkov: Mr Medvedev, ladies and gentlemen. On March 24 a surge in the upper reaches of the Don water-logged 21 areas, home to more than 5,000 people. Some roads were also affected by flooding, as well as 10 socially important facilities. People were successfully informed of all measures and were relocated promptly. All in all, 320 people were moved, out of which 56 have been given temporary accommodation, while the rest have been taken to their relatives. Medical assistance has been organised and granted first to two persons, and later on to another five. All life-support systems are under control. This morning we formed joint groups to assess the damage. The flooding has affected 136 homes. We have involved municipal representatives, experts and public activists in our efforts to assess the damage and organise emergency recovery work. We disconnected seven areas from electricity to avoid short circuits. We have now set up recovery teams to reconnect electricity to each home one by one.
Dmitry Medvedev: Is the water receding or not?
Vladimir Puchkov: The water is already receding. The water level is 70 cm lower than at the peak of the flooding. Now the situation is stable and fully under control. We have launched recovery work and are bringing all vital systems back to normal. We have redirected the traffic to bypass flooded areas which require repairs and are doing everything necessary to support the people affected. The Rostov Region’s Emergencies Commission and the National Crisis Management Centre are also involved in the recovery efforts. I’m confident we will complete this work by the end of the day, with the exception of restoring all electricity supplies. Some houses and socially important facilities have to dry out before being reconnected.
Dmitry Medvedev: Obviously, there are safety standards which must be observed, but it is still cold, even on the Sea of Azov and in Rostov. So all connections should be made as soon as possible. Mr Dvorkovich, keep an eye on it as well, since you are in charge of energy issues. If you need any Government directives to that effect, please get the documents ready, and we will issue them.
Vladimir Puchkov: Mr Medvedev, we are preparing such documents in due course along with the administration of the Rostov Region. As soon as the assessment team completes its work, the draft directive will be ready.
Dmitry Medvedev: All right. How’s the situation in Central Russia?
Vladimir Puchkov: There are emergency situations in 13 regions of the Central Federal District due to abnormally heavy snowfall and sharp fluctuations in temperature. Authorities and personnel were put on high alert in advance. The relevant federal executive bodies are working to provide relief. I have put on high alert the corresponding functional subsystems of the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Healthcare, the Ministry of Regional Development and other federal agencies. Emergency commissions are also working in the Russian regions.
Our mobile teams have all federal motorways under control, and the 102 most dangerous sections are under constant monitoring. In addition, we have allocated additional resources and pooled efforts with the Ministry of Regional Development to monitor the operations of urban public utility services in order to help people. Apart from that, shippers and lorry drivers are being provided with constant updates about weather conditions. We are also helping stranded drivers. We have deployed life-support posts, heated tents and technical support posts. We are also managing traffic on congested roads. Not just on federal motorways, but on all nearby roads as well in order to normalise traffic.
In general, the situation is under control. The National Centre for Crisis Management is doing its job. According to the forecast, the weather will get worse, and there may be more surprises coming our way, so we are keeping the relevant authorities and personnel on high alert.
Dmitry Medvedev: You need to maintain contact with all drivers on the road so that drivers don’t do anything that could cause congestion, like it was some time ago. Are airports open?
Arkady Dvorkovich: The situation was fairly difficult at Moscow airports yesterday: over 100 flights were delayed and more than 20 were redirected to other airports. The situation had stabilised by noon today, but not all flights are running on schedule yet. We hope to get this fixed by the end of the day.
Dmitry Medvedev: Are departures and arrivals more or less on schedule?
Arkady Dvorkovich: Yes, they are. We had several flights land at alternate airfields yesterday, but today everything is back to normal.
Dmitry Medvedev: I would like you to continue to monitor the situation and report back to me. Mr Rogozin (addressing Dmitry Rogozin), that goes for you too. Keep the situation under control.
Now a few words about major projects. I approved the Forecast of Russia’s Long-Term Socio-Economic Development to 2030, which is the fairly distant future. This is a strategic document, and it must serve as the basis for developing individual sectors and territories, as well as adopting decisions on implementing major infrastructure projects and strengthening national competitiveness in general. The pace of modernisation of our industry and agricultural development will depend on the budget and, of course, on our economic growth, including GDP. It contains three scenarios, which everyone is familiar with, and the forecast is based on these scenarios. Clearly, forecasting 17 years into the future is always relative. Nevertheless, it is important to understand what we want and what kind of results we want to achieve. I want the Government members to know that I have approved this document.
The Electric Grid Development Strategy prepared by the Government has also been approved. There was a presidential meeting which set ambitious goals in this sphere. The issue concerns reducing operating costs, investment costs, removing inefficient grid operators from the market and, of course, increasing the quality of grid management, which, to put it mildly, is far from ideal. I hope that these measures will slow the growth of electricity tariffs for a large part of consumers, improve the quality of power supply and reduce the number of power outages, so that we can get a clear idea of what might happen in the future. Disruptions in power supply should become only force majeure events. These are our priorities. We have adopted a number of decisions, and the strategy has been approved. Mr Dvorkovich, what are the plans to organise work under this new strategy? How fast will consumers be connected to electricity grids?
Arkady Dvorkovich: The strategy outlines several steps to this end. We will need to adopt 20 regulations.