The Voronezh Region Governor Alexander Gusev held the first press conference at his new post on Friday, September 21. The head of the region answered journalists’ questions about the prospects of creating a special economic zone, the construction of the metro, the future of the Platonov Festival and other areas of the region’s development. The RIA “Voronezh” columnist chose the main points from the Governor’s speech.

About SEZ

The Voronezh Region may obtain permission to open a special economic zone (SEZ) as early as mid-October 2018. Alexander Gusev said that the order of the Government of the Russian Federation on the creation of the SEZ already existed, the document was being agreed in the ministries. The regional authorities are preparing the technical documentation.

According to Alexander Gusev, the main task in opening the SEZ will be the search for a “nuclear” investor, one large producer with an investment of at least 8-10 billion rubles. At the same time, preference will be given to the production business, rather than to trade or services. In particular, within the framework of the SEZ, the authorities are considering options for cooperation with Rosatom in the production of equipment for power industry, with Rostekh regarding the possibility of civilian product placement. Alexander Gusev stressed that the SEZ will not be limited to these two areas.

About “Gorelektroset”

The process of transformation of Municipal Unitary Enterprise Voronezh Gorelektroset into a joint-stock company is at the final stage and will end in January 2018, the Governor said. The next stage will be the sale and liquidation of the enterprise. Prior to the final decision on Gorelektroset’s fate, the Governor will meet with all the interested parties to decide whether all 100% of the shares shall be sold in order to get the maximum amount of funds, or it is better to keep a blocking shareholding.

About metro

Alexander Gusev assured that the construction of the Voronezh metro will begin within the next three years. According to the Governor, Voronezh residents will be able to use the subway in five or six years.

The head of the region noted that the regional authorities were at the pre-project stage, which they planned to finish in the nearest few months. In 2019, the feasibility study of the project will be completed, after which the search for an investor will begin. It is still unknown whether it will be a Russian or foreign company.

About the Government personnel update

Alexander Gusev once again reminded that the Government of the region expects personnel reshuffle. An important role in this process will be played by “The Team of the Future” manager contest, developed for the Voronezh Region by specialists of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. The program, designed for at least two years, provides for the creation of a civil servant reserve. More than 2,000 candidates submitted applications for participation for less than a month from the start of the contest.

– We are ready to cooperate with the Federal personnel reserve, which has already been formed, if we do not see suitable candidates for certain positions among our reservists, Alexander Gusev noted.

The head of the region stressed that candidates will be able to join the civil servant reserve regardless of their personal political preferences. The Governor expressed readiness to work with political opponents and stated that he would continue to interact with politicians who were his rivals in the gubernatorial elections.

– Of course, we will not establish any body like “The Governor Candidates Council”, but we will meet periodically if they have questions and if I have something that can be discussed with them. The contact and participation of these people in the life of our society should be raised to a new level. Not because they distinguished themselves by nominating for the gubernatorial elections, but because they have a great experience of communication and interaction with the population; this is an important communication channel for us, the Governor noted.

About the Platonov Festival

Alexander Gusev assured that the Platonov Festival would continue to exist. The Governor noted that the financing of the arts forum might be increased in comparison with the previous years. However, the PlatonovFest program should not be formed solely by the Artistic Director, Alexander Gusev beieves. Voronezh experts in the field of culture and art will be engaged to discuss certain performances and artists. The Governor also said that the Platonovsfest programme might include a separate direction related to the art of Voronezh.

– It has been decided that the Platonov Festival will not be the author’s project of the Artistic Director, its poster will be formed by a wider range of experts. Whether Mikhail Vladimirovich will agree to participate in this is a matter that will be resolved within a few weeks. But I still see Mikhail Bychkov the Artistic Director of the Platonov Festival. I hope that he does it as well, Alexander Gusev said.

About the online interaction with the population 

Alexander Gusev expressed hope that in the near future the Regional Government would have an electronic service, which would allow direct interaction with residents of the Voronezh Region. The Governor did not specify exactly what this service could be, but noted that one of the Government’s tasks was the revival of the public council institution.

– We are ready to open, ready to give information for discussion by the public and the expert community and listen to the feedback. We need a competent technical solution to do it. I hope we will find it and implement it in the near future. I hope we can create such a service, which will provide the information about the problems to all members of the public council, and not just the chairman or the secretary, as it often happens now. Thus, if we could get the feedback taking into account the opinions of all the council members, I think this would be an important step in our interaction in solving significant problems, the Governor said.

About what has changed during his tenure as the head of the region

Alexander Gusev said that for the nine months he was the Acting Governor, he slightly changed his opinion about the duties of the head of the region.

– I never dropped out of the administration of the region, I participated in the meetings of the Regional Government, Alexey Gordeyev always gave me the opportunity to attend, express my opinion. But now there is no shield behind my back: all decisions on the territory of the region are taken by the Governor, that is by me, and I am responsible for them. As for the tasks, decisions, there were no special revelations for me. Although I did not expect that it would be necessary to do so many ritual things, such as cutting the ribbons, filling in the protocols; it’s a great distraction. I will participate less in such events, giving it to my deputies. But this is not an administrative shock for me, the Governor said.

Alexander Gusev stressed that the management work would not be wholly and completely concentrated in the hands of the Governor and the regional center.

– The municipalities should get more independence. In many districts of the Voronezh Region, excellent teams have been formed, which will get more powers, the head of the region assured.