Vladimir Putin held a regular meeting with Government members, via videoconference.
The Kremlin, Moscow,October 14, 2020
1 of 2Meeting with Government members (via videoconference).
The meeting focused on the main instruments for achieving investment development targets.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
Today we will hear a report by Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov on the main instruments for achieving investment development targets.
However, I would like to begin with a different matter. I have a nice piece of news: the Novosibirsk-based Vektor Centre has registered a second coronavirus vaccine, EpiVacCorona. I would like Ms Golikova to tell us about this in detail. As far as I am aware, a third vaccine is almost ready at the Chumakov Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Ms Golikova, please.
Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova: Good afternoon, Mr President, colleagues.
It is good news indeed. The Vektor Centre has received the registration certificate today.
I would like to note that clinical trials involved 100 volunteers. Unlike with the first Russian vaccine, Sputnik V, which is an adenovirus vector-based vaccine, the new one is a promising synthetic vaccine based on peptides. It consists of short synthetic peptide fragments of virus proteins, which the immune system can use to identify and neutralise the virus. It should be pointed out that the peptide-based vaccine does not induce any reactogenic responses and is noted for its high level of safety.
The first batch of 60,000 vaccine doses will be produced in the near future, and the Vektor Centre will launch post-registration clinical trials in a number of Russian regions involving 40,000 volunteers. I would like to add that simultaneously the centre also plans to start clinical trials on 150 people aged over 60.
I would like to point out that the creation of a second Russian vaccine will greatly increase vaccination opportunities for people, which will help us to stabilise the situation and will bring us closer to the end of the COVID-19 epidemic.
In addition, post-registration clinical trials of the Sputnik V vaccine are ongoing as well. They involve 13,000 volunteers, and the vaccine has been dispatched to the regions, albeit in small amounts, but it has.
One more vaccine, which you have mentioned, has been created at the Chumakov Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences. It is an inactivated vaccine. We have received permission to conduct the first and second stages of clinical trials at medical facilities in Novosibirsk, St Petersburg and Kirov. During the first stage, 15 volunteers were inoculated with this vaccine on October 6. They have not reported any serious complications or side effects. All of them feel well, and the second stage will begin on October 19 on 285 volunteers. The clinical trials of this vaccine are expected to conclude by December, which means that we will have three vaccines. We certainly hope that this will be the case. The more vaccination opportunities we offer to our citizens, the sooner we defeat the coronavirus.
Mr President, may I say a few words about the epidemiological situation and the Russian regions’ preparedness to work under these conditions?
Vladimir Putin: Please do.
Tatyana Golikova: Actually, just as we expected, the number of coronavirus cases went up with the beginning of the autumn-winter epidemic season. As of October 14, we have 1,340,000 cases of COVID-19. The average increment rate over the past 24 hours across the country was 1.1 percent, and in 30 regions, it was even higher.
I would like to note that the average daily incidence rate for the past working week was 7.5 per 100,000 people. I would like to note in this regard that Russia ranks 54th among the 189 countries that publish data on the spread of the virus. This suggests that the situation in Russia, although quite tense and complicated, is nevertheless under control. It does differ across the regions: as of the end of the last working week, an increase was observed in 38; 29 were unstable; 18 recorded a stabilisation of incidence; while eight regions showed relatively high levels.
The regions that showed a significant increase have failed to fully implement sanitary and anti-epidemiological restrictions: there was no control over wearing facemasks in public spaces and public transport, and no restrictions on public events. On the other hand, the regions showing low morbidity rates were the ones enforcing the anti- epidemiological measures. I will cite a few examples.
In the Chechen Republic and the Republic of Tatarstan, there is strict enforcement of facemask requirements and the COVID-19 incidence rate is less than one per 100,000.
(Further in her remarks, the Deputy Prime Minister addressed the regional authorities, employers and citizens to underscore the need to comply with the requirements and sanitary doctors’ recommendations, adding that the level of testing has reached almost 52 million lab tests, and also cited statistics on the graveness and age structure of cases and on the number of hospital beds available. In addition, Tatyana Golikova spoke of the Russian regions’ preparedness for the autumn-winter epidemic season and the supply of medicines.)
In closing, I would like to say that the spread of the novel coronavirus, and of course, the autumn-winter epidemic season are cause for concern. However, our preparations carried out in spring, I mean, the fact that two Russian vaccines are now available, makes us confident in the future. We believe that the situation is under control and no restrictive measures for the economy are required.
However, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage the regions and the people to comply with all sanitary requirements.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
Ms Golikova, you said 40,000 volunteers are willing to take part in testing the new vaccine, EpiVacCorona. As far as I know, you and Chief Sanitary Doctor of Russia Anna Popova have been vaccinated, among these 40,000 volunteers. You have already been given the second dose of this vaccine, haven’t you? How are you doing?
Tatyana Golikova: Yes, Mr President, Ms Popova and I were vaccinated, and not among 40,000 volunteers, but as part of clinical trials, that is, during the first and second phases in order to see if the vaccine was safe and effective.
Indeed, we have two phases behind us. Neither Ms Popova, nor I had any side effects or complications during the first and the second phase, or afterwards. We strongly hope this will be the case with everyone who takes this vaccine in the future.
Vladimir Putin: Did you run a fever?
Tatyana Golikova: No, we did not. Importantly, none of the volunteers in the first or second phases had a fever, either.
Vladimir Putin: I see. But the titres appeared, did they not?
Tatyana Golikova: Yes, they did, and at a fairly high level.
Vladimir Putin: I see.
I would like to congratulate the researchers and staff at the Novosibirsk Center Vektor on this achievement. This is undoubtedly an important accomplishment of yours, my dear friends. Thank you very much for your work, talent and dedication. We need to step up the production of our first and second vaccines. Of course, it is critical to provide as much of the vaccine to the Russian market as possible.
We continue to cooperate with our foreign partners, and we will promote our vaccine internationally. However, we should strive to produce the vaccines for our international customers, at least at this point, at production facilities in the recipient countries. I think everyone understands this. I just want to point it out again.
Ms Golikova, you said that testing has not been properly organised in all regions. You also said that six regions clearly have a problem with that. I will call you shortly after this meeting to get a list of these regions.
Tatyana Golikova: Fine, Mr President.
Vladimir Putin: Let us proceed.
Several days ago, Mr Patrushev reported to me that the grain harvest in 2020 might be at least the second largest harvest in Russia’s recent history.
Mr Patrushev, are you here, can you hear us?
Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev: Yes, Mr President, I hear you.
Vladimir Putin: Please comment on this and elaborate on what you have already reported to me.
Dmitry Patrushev: Thank you very much.
Mr President, colleagues,
Despite the recent developments, Russian agriculture shows positive trends. We continue to cooperate with the regions on a weekly basis to monitor the situation in the sector. In general, it remains stable. In spring, farmers had their sowing season as usual. The harvest campaign also began on time and is almost done now. The harvest rate and crop yield figures are significantly higher than last year.
As of today, grains have been harvested on 93 percent of the areas and, as I reported, we hope that this year the grain harvest will exceed 125 million tonnes in net weight, including the expected 82 million tonnes of wheat, which is 7.5 million tonnes more than in 2019. The plans for other crops are as follows.
The potato harvest should bring in about 22 million tonnes and the oilseed harvest should yield 21.5 million tonnes. In particular, a record harvest of rapeseed is expected: at least 2.5 million tonnes. The vegetable harvest is to exceed 14 million tonnes. In addition, fodder conservation for cattle breeding is on schedule.
At the same time, winter crop sowing continues. The total sowing area covers over 19 million hectares, which is half a million hectares more than last year. In 38 regions, the work has already been completed, and in another 24 regions, it is still underway.
Mr President, in general, everything is proceeding on schedule. Agricultural producers have been provided with the seed they need, and the same can be said about all the main production resources. In particular, the accumulated reserves of mineral fertilizer amount to 3.7 million tonnes, which is almost 10 percent more than last year. Prices on the mineral fertilizer market are stable now.
As for fuels and lubricants, no interruptions in fuel supplies were recorded over the past period of this year. Demand is about 4.6 million tonnes of diesel fuel and 700,000 tonnes of gasoline. Agricultural producers have been provided with fuel and lubricants for the harvesting campaign.
Next. The major farms have over 565,000 tractors and combine harvesters, and the equipment fleet is being systematically updated. According to plan, 56,000 units will be purchased this year, partly based on Resolution No. 1432 of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and preferential Rosagroleasing programmes. In 2020, Rosagroleasing will supply at least 9,000 units of machinery and equipment worth 36 billion rubles. This was possible because of the funds allocated for the additional capitalisation of Rosagroleasing. I would like to thank you separately for this. This is a very necessary solution that allows for updating the agricultural equipment fleet.
I will brief you on the main parameters of state support. In 2020, 100.5 billion rubles were allocated to the regions as direct financial assistance to farmers. These funds were directed to the regions in December of last year. As of today, 72 percent have been received by the direct recipients. I would like to note that this pace is higher than last year, but we continue to keep it under special control.
Also, during the period of seasonal field work, agricultural producers need to maintain a sufficient level of working capital. The most effective tool for this is loans, including concessional loans. To carry out seasonal work in 2020, Rosselkhozbank and Sberbank alone issued 479.8 billion rubles in loans, which is almost a quarter more than last year.
(Further, the Minister spoke about measures to support agriculture, including subsidies and concessional loans.)
Mr President, this is the current state of affairs regarding the sowing campaign. I also have information on the comprehensive development of rural areas, which I would like to present to you now, if I may.
Vladimir Putin: Please do.
Dmitry Patrushev: Thank you.
We have repeatedly said that the agro-industrial complex is more than just agricultural output and food, it is also the rural people employed in this industry. To improve their quality of life, since 2020 the Ministry of Agriculture has been implementing the state programme Comprehensive Development of Rural Areas. It came as an important stage in the large-scale development of the territories that one-fourth of the Russian population calls home. The state programme is based on monitoring Russia’s rural areas in terms of key parameters that describe the quality of life, so each of its action points has been thought through from the perspective of actual needs. Moreover, regions, local government bodies and, importantly, rural residents took an active part in drafting this state programme. As a result, 81 regions took part in the 2020–2021 bidding campaign.
Notably, according to the plan, the state programme will cover areas that are home to almost 5 million people, or 13 percent of Russia’s rural population, during the first year of its implementation, with 132 projects this year, including landscaping, construction and renovation of social buildings; 90 of these projects will be completed in 2020. As a result, 361 new buildings will become available, including schools, kindergartens and cultural centres, as well as medical and sports facilities. In addition, over 833 kilometres of gas distribution lines and over 733 kilometres of water supply lines will become operational in 2020. In addition, almost 690 kilometres of roads will be built or renovated.
Mr President, the rural housing mortgage programme enjoys high popularity and has already been used by over 24,000 people in 80 regions with the amount of outstanding loans nearing 48 billion rubles, which were used to buy about 1.8 million square metres of housing in rural areas. In other words, we are seeing an enormous interest in this programme and are working on proposals to extend it until 2030.