President of Tatarstan at the session of VEB.RF: Landscaping solves not only economic, but also many social problems

14 February 2019, Thursday

After the plenary session, chaired by the Chairman of the Russian Government Dmitry Medvedev, the President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov took part in the VEB.RF session on topic “Economy of urban comfort”, devoted to development of urban economy.

Vnesheconombank Chairman Igor Shuvalov moderated this session and among the first he addressed Rustam Minnikhanov and Assistant to the President of the Republic of Tatarstan Natalia Fishman with a question about when and how he decided to systematically improve public spaces and what management decisions were needed for that.

The President of the Republic of Tatarstan noted that the impetus for this big work was improvement of the central park of culture and recreation in 2014, available almost in every major city, namely Park Gorkogo in Kazan. “After the basic reconstruction, I was struck by a lively response from Kazan residents - this was unexpected for us. People so sincerely and so massively did not thank either for the construction of social infrastructure facilities, or for the implementation of other projects. It became clear that improvement of parks and squares had a tremendous social effect”, he stressed and added: “The same year we decided to launch a targeted program of work with public spaces throughout the republic, and the next 2015 was declared the Year of Parks and Squares".

“That time, local authorities in Russia had almost never been involved in parks, perhaps except for Moscow. In the capital, I met Natalia Fishman, who spoke so convincingly about the effects of improvement that I soon suggested her to become an assistant and launch our program,” Rustam Minnikhanov reminded and gave the floor to Natalia, who formulated the following key approaches to the program as preparation and "pumping" of local architects, participation in design of local residents, development of local industries, interagency cooperation, as well as activation of public spaces with cultural programs and event content. Let us recall, on February 12 these approaches were presented to the Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Kazan and aroused his considerable interest.

In the opinion of the President of the Republic of Tatarstan, work with improvement is not a one-time action for alleviating social tensions. Landscaping improves the local economy, stimulates small and medium businesses, which is especially noticeable in small and single-industry towns. Work with the Program for Development of Public Spaces has become an impetus for the growth of existing and the emergence of new local industries oriented towards the improvement of territories. For example, production of small architectural forms does not require large capacities, and as a result of interaction with architects, the quality and range of products is constantly improved and experience is enhanced.

“Many Tatarstan companies working in the field of improvement now supply products to other regions.

We see that parks, squares and embankments have become interesting for small and medium businesses in different directions. Points of catering, rental of sports equipment and other kinds of street trading come there. Mostly young and start-up entrepreneurs are engaged in this, and development of public spaces gives impetus to their own development”, noted Rustam Minnikhanov and cited examples of small towns in Laishevo, Tetyushi, Nizhnekamsk and others, who received an increase in not only the tourist flow, but the decline in the outflow of people from small and mono cities to large megacities, which is the serious All-Russian problem of migration, cannot but rejoice.

At the end of his speech, the President of the Republic of Tatarstan emphasized that improvement could not be limited to the introduction of formal projects. Improvement for Tatarstan was an exceptionally complex development of spaces, an investment in professionalism, and these are people and their interaction for the benefit of the territory of residence.

Concluding the speech of Tatarstan representatives, Igor Shuvalov suggested to Rustam Minnikhanov, using the example of well-known consulting company Strelka, to create in Kazan his own architectural bureau, which, led by Natalia Fishman, could implement his projects throughout Russia.

Among the speakers of the session were the Governor of the Ivanovo Region - Stanislav Voskresensky, the Head of the city of Novokuznetsk - Sergey Kuznetsov and the Governor of the Tyumen Region - Aleksandr Moor, as well as the General Director - Chairman of the Board of Russian Railways - Oleg Belozerov, the President of the Moscow School of Management Skolkovo - Andrei Sharonov, Chairman of the Board of PAO SIBUR - Dmitry Konov and Vice-President for Strategic Development of GS Group - Konstantin Aksyonov and others. Deputy of the Chairman of the Russian Federation Government – Head of Executive Office of the RF Government - Konstantin Chuichenko, Deputy of the Chairman of the Russian Federation Government - Vitaly Mutko, Minister of Construction and Housing and Public Utilities of the Russian Federation - Vladimir Yakushev, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation - Maksim Oreshkin, Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation - Mikhail Kotyukov, Governor of the Kaliningrad Region - Anton Alikhanov, Governor of St. Petersburg - Aleksandr Beglov, Governor of the Kaluga Region - Anatoly Artamonov, Deputy Chairman of VEB.RF, General Director of the Development of Single-Industry Towns Fund - Irina Makiyeva, General Director - Chairman of the Board of "Corporation "SMEs" AO - Aleksandr Braverman, Director General of "DOM.RF" AO - Aleksandr Plutnik and General Director of "Russian Export Center" AO - Andrei Slepnev were invited to the session as experts.

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