Mikhail Zelensky: The forum’s theme is The Era of Agglomerations: A New World Map. But what is the Moscow agglomeration and how will the country’s map change?
Sergei Sobyanin: Moscow accounts for one fourth of the country’s economy. These are new sectors related to raw materials, processing, as well as high-tech jobs, IT, services, trade and finance. Of course, the Moscow agglomeration has always been the driving force behind the country’s economic growth. It creates some four million jobs not only for people in neighbouring regions, but also for the entire country. So we are working not only for ourselves, but for the entire nation.
Today’s forum is aimed at finding solutions that provide the most efficient connection between large, medium and small cities and agglomerations in order to provide economic growth not only for large cities, but for all regions.
Mikhail Zelensky: But do agglomerations boost development, or are they just a huge burden on the budget?
Sergei Sobyanin: All agglomerations serve as donors for other regions. Moscow is the largest source of revenue for the federal budget. Some one trillion roubles in tax revenue go to the federal budget, and about 1.5 trillion roubles go to social funds. Every tenth Russian citizen receives medical aid and pension at the expense of Muscovites. One trillion roubles that go to the budget are used to balance the fiscal capacity of regions. Moscow does not take funds from anyone; on the contrary, due to its highly efficient economy and labour productivity it generates revenue which is then distributed across the country.
Mikhail Zelensky: Major changes are now occurring due to the housing relocation programme. What should we expect from this? As I understand it, people can see the future flats at the VDNKh expo?
Sergei Sobyanin: Yes, there is an expo of future flats, but I think that people will be able to relocate soon. I believe that we will relocate several buildings before yearend.
Of course, we will create new districts. The VDNKh expo features a model of such a district and the changes we will make. As you can see, there are no tower blocks. We will provide comfortable housing with buildings of various heights, with public areas, parks, gardens, social and cultural facilities and good transport accessibility. This is the future of the new districts.
Mikhail Zelensky: Oh, good transport accessibility…I think you know what car owners say about the My Street programme. So what can we expect this autumn?
Sergei Sobyanin: The My Street programme will not last forever. I think all the main roads that are affected will open within a month and we’ll have a friendly urban environment both for drivers and pedestrians.
Mikhail Zelensky: What about next summer? What should we prepare for?
Sergei Sobyanin: We are finishing projects on the main roads, and local improvements are planned for next year, so there will be no major road traffic disruptions.
Mikhail Zelensky: Do you plan to finish renovating the embankments this year, too?
Sergei Sobyanin: Some of the embankments will open this year, but is it a large-scale programme. In 2017, 10 Moscow embankments will be improved; one of them has already opened. Actually, we will open a renovated facility almost every week. This does not mean that we will work until September. New streets, embankments and urban facilities will be open every week.
Mikhail Zelensky: Thank you very much, Mr Sobyanin.
Sergei Sobaynin: Thank you.