Prime Minister of the Republic of Bashkortostan Andrey Nazarov
A photo: Julia PYKHALOVA
The open studio of the Komsomolskaya Pravda media group at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum was visited by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Bashkortostan Andrei Nazarov.
“The process of change continues successfully”
Andrei Gennadievich, in connection with the sanctions pressure, Russia has begun reorienting the economy from West to East, developing cooperation with China, the SCO, BRICS, and the EAEU. As far as we know, Bashkortostan is also actively building relations with the CIS countries, and you are planning to open a representative office in China. Tell us about new partners.
– I would like to remind you that our country did not start its reversal yesterday, but in 2014, when the first enhanced sanctions against our country appeared. Then we realized that we needed new markets, new suppliers, new partners. The process of changing our foreign policy has begun, and, in general, it continues quite successfully.
It must be admitted that more could have been done during this period of time, but, nevertheless, a lot has been done. Now there is a forcing of these changes, this reversal. And for Bashkortostan, this is also a challenge, as well as for the whole country. We see that those relations with partners that are friendly to us are not only comfortable for us, but also profitable and reliable. Therefore, we strengthen our relationship with them.
China is our traditional partner. Recently, a meeting of a delegation from Bashkiria with the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to Russia ZHANG Hanhui was held at the Chinese Embassy in Russia. The parties discussed the prospects for opening in China an office of the representative of Bashkortostan at the trade mission of Russia in China.
Now India has appeared, with which we are starting to work, Iran, which, under the conditions of 40-year sanctions, is developing quite steadily, there are many areas that can be adopted and cooperated. Nevertheless, I will note those countries with which we have recently signed road maps and are developing very close cooperation. This is Kazakhstan. We have a representative office there, a road map has been signed, an interdepartmental commission and working groups have been created, and we regularly analyze what has been done and what has not. We’re making good progress.
Belarus can be called a kind of discovery for us. Why? You know, the republic turned out to be a country that produces high-quality products, competitive equipment, and is a very friendly territory with which we not only speak the same language, but understand each other. Feelings in the full sense of the word brotherly. Having made a visit to Belarus at the end of last year, we outlined a number of areas in which we can cooperate, and there are already results. These are the fastest results of all the countries we work with.
Further it is possible to note Uzbekistan. This is our most recent relationship, recent, but also very promising. There are already a number of projects, we have already exchanged delegations, and not only we were there, but they also came to visit us. A number of steps have been outlined, which, we are sure, will grow into great economic cooperation.
I will note Kyrgyzstan, with whom we have built relations. Turkey is a strategic partner for us. We have many Turkish companies that have fairly large production facilities in the republic. And now there are a number of projects that are already beginning to be implemented this year. In general, we ourselves plan to visit there in the fall. We see that this country is a major partner for us.
Support covered the entire economy
– What measures of regional support have been developed in the context of sanctions, how is the work on import substitution going?
– When the coronavirus pandemic happened, we realized that many enterprises would not emerge without our support. Moreover, the business community as a whole was in a difficult position. Suspension of business activity, restrictions on movement hit small and medium-sized businesses, individual entrepreneurs, and large enterprises too. But if we single out the large ones in a separate system-forming list, and there are separate measures of state support and our actions, then for small and medium-sized businesses, we covered almost every second small and medium-sized business with three packages of state support measures in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. Further growth (not a decrease, but growth) of registered small and medium-sized enterprises in the republic showed the correctness of these actions. Therefore, now that new challenges have arisen in connection with the sanctions against our country, we have carefully developed a large package of state support measures. At that time, 6 federal packages had already been developed. We looked at how they cover our economy, and where some industries or areas were left without proper support, we paid more attention to them, but not only. In general, and where federal measures are concerned, but we see that more support is needed. 154 events in our package, 54.3 billion rubles. This applies to one degree or another to all spheres of the economy – the agro-industrial complex, industry, tourism, and transport. We see that to a greater extent our economy is supported by our government support measures. And if after a while we see that some additional support steps are needed, then we will develop more packages and strengthen them.
We are doing separate work on backbone enterprises (we have 400 of them). Now we are preparing a big meeting of the head of the republic and government with the leaders, owners of these enterprises in order to monitor and discuss what additional measures are needed for their development in this period.
We can say that in terms of the unemployment rate, which is also an indicator of how the industry is developing, are there any risks of laying off people, in general, while we are at a historically low level. Therefore, we believe that Bashkortostan is developing steadily under sanctions restrictions for this period, and we do not see any significant risks.
– I heard that support for the economy of the republic was noted, including at the federal level …
– Yes. Those packages of state support measures that were during the period of covid restrictions were recognized as the best in the country among the subjects of Russia. So far, we have not heard such an assessment of state support measures under sanctions restrictions, although we know that we are one of the largest. How are government support measures formed? These are financial and non-financial support measures. Of course, without financial support measures, it is impossible to extend the provision of assistance in general. Because, if only non-financial measures help (tax breaks, some holidays, additional support measures), this will definitely not be enough, so financial ones are needed. But since the budget did not provide for any reserve financial opportunities for the formation of such a package, we had to partially reformat something in the budget, plus we had to make borrowings. We took 21 billion infrastructure bonds from the DOM.RF fund, which we direct to the construction of infrastructure. The agreement was signed at SPIEF 2022. This is primarily water supply and sanitation necessary for the development of Ufa. This supports our business and construction as a whole.
Then we will also direct these funds to the hospital for war veterans. A very big social task is to build a modern medical institution, but which could be realized only in a few years. But now, as part of this package of state support measures, we have decided to take infrastructure bonds and direct them there.
And the mathematical lyceum is also an important area for teaching our younger generation. But at the same time, do not put it off indefinitely. Now this is also a system of measures to support our enterprises, which will be involved in the construction and equipping of these facilities. Also, the National Welfare Fund, we also raise funds from there. and infrastructure loans. In general, we began to do this in order to enable the economy to receive additional financial support. At the same time, residents of Bashkortostan and Ufa will also benefit from the fact that these facilities will appear not in a few years, but in the next two or three years.
“Useful for the country and for us”
– On the basis of Bashkortostan, it is planned to create the Eurasian Economic Center, the international platform “Ufa Dialogue” and the office of the SCO Energy Club. What economic effect do you expect from such cooperation?
– All activities aimed at developing the country’s economy are useful both for the whole country and for us. If we talk about the Energy Club, at one time the country’s President Vladimir Putin noted that it was necessary. Then there was a certain pause. And during the forum “Gas. Oil. Technologies” we returned to this topic and proposed to create the SCO Energy Club and the headquarters or central office in Ufa. So that we can support it and generate an idea, so that the energy theme is in development. This is one of the foundations of economic development.
The proposal, which arose as part of one of the events of the Yalta International Economic Forum, that the Ufa Dialogue is a continuation of communication between businessmen and managers from different countries who are somehow involved in the sanctions situation, but do not share this approach of politicians and would like to work out measures to overcome the sanctions. This includes circumvention of sanctions, and some legal measures that allow them to be overcome. And in general, for the lifting of sanctions, which harm, perhaps even to a greater extent, those countries that participate in this. Therefore, the Ufa Dialogue is a political event where legal and political measures will be discussed, but it is aimed at developing the economy.
When this proposal arose, we said with pleasure: “We are ready to support the Ufa Dialogue” organizationally as well. All these areas contribute to the development of the Russian economy, overcoming sanctions, import substitution in general, all this ultimately affects the growth of the well-being of our residents. We are pleased that Ufa is chosen to host such events as a pilot region. Now we need non-trivial new approaches to solving problems. Quickly, quickly, you need to decide. But it must also be very efficient. We see that many decisions that we make quickly give a positive result. I am sure that the discussion of the Energy Club, “Ufa Dialogue”, which will take place in Bashkortostan, will give its positive result. We are ready to promote ideas that will be accepted within the framework of these events.