Interview of the acting Ugra Governor, Natalia Komarova to sports media portal Sportbox.ru
Interview of the acting Ugra Governor, Natalia Komarova to sports media portal Sportbox.ru
Natalia Komarova: Deaflympics is beyond the politics
Acting head of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Ugra, Natalia Komarova in an exclusive interview to Sportbox.ru has told about her attitude to the upcoming winter Deaflympics and preparing for it, and once again reiterated importance of the intangible heritage of the Games.
- Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug - Ugra is a frequent host of sports competitions of all levels. What is the difference for you between Deaflympics from other tournaments already held?
- You are right, in the piggy-bank of Ugra there are many large international sports forums. Almost every year top biathletes of planet come here, there chess games played between grandmasters from all over the world, there are held championships of world, continent and country in various sports, boxing, water polo, billiards, skiing, judo and so on. For Ugra sports have become the hallmark of the region, by which it is known all over the world.
But Deaflympics Winter Games stand out here. For the first time our country was entrusted with honorable right to host such a big sports forum for athletes with hearing impairments. And we are very pleased that Deaflympics will be held at the land of Ugra. When the decision was made, everyone understood that Ugra has extensive experience of tournaments of highest level, and people are always warm and welcome guests with care. Many of those who have visited Ugra say that they have felt at home.
There is another good reason – the uniqueness of Deaflympics. Overcoming difficulties athletes go to victory, to the target, to the cherished dream. As it is rightly said, these are the people with health restrictions, but with infinite possibilities. And Deaflympics is another chance to remind all of us about tolerance and respect for those who are different from us, about the need to always find a common language. We invite to Ugra, to the first in history of our country Deaflympics, all citizens of Russia, CIS and foreign countries. Ugra is truly unique region that is home to unique people. We say: "To see Ugra – to fall in love with Russia."
- When you, as the head of the region, have first approached with the proposal to host the Games?
- In Ugra Deaflympics Movement has a long history. At present, it unites about 600 deaf athletes and hearing impaired athletes, 23 of whom are members of the national team. In the piggy-bank of Ugra there are victories in biggest tournaments in athletics, skiing, and volleyball. Moreover, each year the territory of the autonomous district holds about 400 competitions of different levels. Another advantage of the capital of our region is walking distance to the sports infrastructure facilities. Therefore, we ourselves have applied to host the Deaflympics in Khanty-Mansiysk, and the International Committee of Deaf Sports has decided in our favor. Today we do our best to justify the confidence of the international sports community.
- Is the course of preparations affected by political and economic situation in the country and the world? Were there any "refusing ones"?
- Olympic Games are not a politicized event, but a real festival of sport. The same principle underlies Deaflympics. To date, we have not received any refusal to participate. Athletes from European countries, the USA, Ukraine have applied for participation in Games. We will be happy to see them and do everything possible to hold Games at the highest organizational level. The Executive Directorate receives letters from fans from other regions of Russia who are interested in where to buy tickets, what hotel is the best to book. About 100 hearing impaired people from the United States have already announced that they are going to come to Russia as an organized group to cheer for their own. So people in the world can separate sports from politics.
- The greatest difficulties you personally or district as a whole had encountered in preparing for the tournament? Does the fact that this is the first winter Deaflympics for 8 years impose certain responsibilities?
- Five sports venues of Khanty-Mansiysk will be involved in the Games. Most of them are among the best in the country. But we must understand that they have required special preparation for Deaflympics. For several times we have been visited by a special committee; we have taken into account all comments and omissions before the sports forum. We have spent not one major event in the region and beyond. For example, our experts have been actively involved in organization and preparation of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi. Therefore, we have a great experience, and we are not afraid of challenges. We feel the responsibility to our people, our country, and to ourselves. After all, as it is known, descendants will remember us by our deeds. And we must do things with kindness and soul; then everything is possible!
— It is clear that compared to the Olympic Games, Deaflympics is totally non-commercial project. However, you have said once, that its heritage cannot be expressed in material equivalent. What have you had in mind?
- Deaflympics is a sort of intermediate stage of what we have learned and what we have achieved. After the Chess Olympics in 2010, we did not stop there. Ugra continues to develop in this respect. But the main result of all these tournaments is not even international recognition but development of sports in Ugra. Thousands of boys and girls come to sports after such forums. Not all become champions, but, believe me, mass sport in our region is not worse than the sport of high achievements.
For us it is very important to change attitude towards people with disabilities throughout the country. For now, many sports facilities in Russia require special adaptations for people with disabilities, not to mention the streets of our cities. This adaptation, attention to needs of people with disabilities shall become the main legacy of the Games.
Also it worth to add, that Ugra is a very attractive region for tourists. It so happened, that we are constantly visited by people from all over the world for a variety of events, not just sports. Deaflympics is a great reason to visit the region, to get acquainted with traditions and way of life of indigenous peoples, to see with own eyes how to extract "black gold", to plunge into the atmosphere of sports festival. We always welcome guests!
In addition, we have a very strong volunteer movement. Deaflympics will become a new impetus to its development. The Games will allow volunteers to obtain additional skills and to educate a whole generation of people who understand problems of people with hearing disabilities. Do not forget about the image component. The capital of the region will once again declare itself as sports, business, cultural and tourist center of international class with modern social, transport, telecommunications and energy infrastructure.
- How is Khanty-Mansiysk preparing for the Games in all that does not directly refer to sporting moments? How Ugra is going to surprise athletes and guests of the competition?
- Now there is an ongoing large-scale preparation for the opening and closing ceremonies of the competition. One of main symbols of ceremonies will be Deaflympics Fire, the relay race of which will leave the theatrical site for the streets of the capital of Ugra. The moment of lighting the city bowl on the central square will be a symbolic signal for the official announcement of the Games open. 18 torchbearers who will come to us from all over Russia will take part in Deaflympics Fire relay race. These will be the most worthy representatives of regions inspiring by their example; people for whom disability is not an obstacle to achieving the goal of life; public figures who has helped to improve living conditions of persons with disabilities; representatives of charitable organizations; peacekeepers and others. The ending of each day of the Games will be holding a solemn ceremony of awarding the winners in each discipline at the central square near the Bowl of Deaflympics Fire. Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as Deaflympics Fire relay race will be broadcasted on the official website of the competition. I invite your readers to also watch it.
- And what has been done to ensure that people with hearing impairments feel themselves as comfortable as possible during their stay in the city and district?
- Let me repeat, one of the main areas in preparation for the Deaflympics is formation and training of volunteer corps that will work at the event. In total it is planned to attract about 800 volunteers, some of whom will know sign language that will allow people with hearing disabilities to feel comfortable in the capital of Ugra. Although Khanty-Mansiysk is a fairly compact city, and sports facilities involved in the Games are in close proximity to each other, all over the city there will be hung necessary information signs.
- Do you plan to also hold campaigns similar to the "Lesson of Deaflympics" and singing the Russian anthem in sign language?
- Before the Games there are planned several special events including contest for the best social advertising "It’s time to erase the boundaries" and best selfie dedicated to the Games. All events are primarily aimed at promoting the XVIII Deaflympics Winter Games as well as at drawing people's attention to development of Deaflympics Sports Movement. I'm sure they will get not less coverage and not less response than the Lessons of Deaflympics.
Let us recall that Magnitogorsk will also host the Deaflympics Winter Games that will be held in a period from 28th of March to 5th of April in addition to Khanty-Mansiysk.
Teleconference with residents of the cities of Kogalym, Langepas, Urai and Pokachi with participation of the Ugra Governor, Natalia Komarova and the President of OJSC "LUKOIL", Vagit Alekperov
The Ugra Governor, Natalia Komarova, and the President of the OJSC “Lukoil”, Vagit Alekperov answered the questions of residents of Kogalym, Langepas, Urai and Pokachi live on the air.
The Host: Ladies and gentlemen there has been signed a supplement additional to the Cooperation Contract between the Government of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Ugra, and OJSC "LUKOIL" for 2015.
Dear Natalia Vladimirovna, Dear Vagit Yusufovich, I would like to ask you to say a few words about the document signed today.
N. Komarova: First of all I want to note that this decision is suspended; we have previously worked out everything, all has been carefully thought out. I also would like to note the following. The Wizards say: "Friendship doubles joy and halves the sorrow". The autonomous district has such a friend who follows this rule. We are very grateful to the "Lukoil" company. During recent months we have witnessed the true roller coaster in the market of currency market, stock and raw materials. But our partnership with the "Lukoil" is reliable, predictable and mutually beneficial; it really works for the interests of the people of Ugra. It is proven by new supplement agreement we have just signed. I also would like to note, in addition to information that has now been demonstrated in this short movie that in 2014 company has been engaged in 27 social projects. In this particular case I have just mentioned the projects being constructed. Another important pool of our mutual commitments regards company investments in human. Knowledge, skills, expertise, high professional level these are exactly what we are extremely interested in, and we believe it is important to provide such opportunities and conditions for young people. In Kogalym, in collaboration with "LUKOIL" there is created second in the second center of applied qualifications which will be focused on preparation of high quality personnel for oil and gas industry. In November 2014 there has been commissioned a testing site for developing practical skills of students. Now there is started design of the campus which will house dormitory, classrooms, computer rooms, and laboratories. Already now programs, and there are more than sixty of them, are being tested. In 2014, more than 2000 specialists were trained under these programs. I appreciate cooperation in this format on this project, too, and, without exaggeration, I believe this is one of main practical investment of resources that company spends on social policy. In this project, social investments are embodied in the enormous human capital. Our active interaction leads not only to social, but also to tangible production successes, and Vagit Yusufovich here has mentioned early commissioning of Imilorsk field. We also have put a hand here; and Vagit Yusufovich, I assure you that every move of company towards increase in its production capital at the Autonomous District will be welcomed, and we will create most favorable conditions for such projects; up to accepting in ownership of the autonomous district of roads and other facilities free of charge, which are non-core production activities. I want to thank all employees of the "Lukoil" company and you personally, Vagit Yusufovich for your contribution to the development of the autonomous district, for a stable, confident, and reliable performance. It is not only ours, but also the assessment of the market. You have already mentioned one of indicators; we also know that company's shares have now reached historical highs; often, capitalization of the company has led to the fact that it became most expensive oil company in the Russian Federation. I want to note that we treat your company as expensive not only in times of rise, but also in times of its stable operation; we appreciate our mutual cooperation and look forward to its development.
V. Alekperov: Thank you, Natalia Vladimirovna for your words addressed to our company. I would like to emphasize that for us signed agreement has a crucial meaning, because for us it is very important to understand the prospects, to predict projects that we are implementing together with the District. Such predictability and your loyalty not only to the "Lukoil" company, but also to our colleagues in Ugra, provide an opportunity to stabilize the operation of industrial enterprises in a difficult period of time, to implement social programs aimed at improving lives of urban residents at the territory of Ugra. I have already said, but let me repeat, because for us the main thing here is the fact that today social projects are being implemented in cities where we have never separated oilmen from teachers, from doctors in urban areas aimed at development of Ugra oil and gas industry. And for our part we carry out this mission of social development in terms of completeness of tax payment. Every year we increase volumes of tax payments; in part of not downsizing the staff even in times of crisis, but increasing the number of employees here in Ugra, because our fixed assets are increased, and they require additional workers. This is a timely indexation of wages and of course preservation of social packages that people are accustomed to receive here in Western Siberia, and which shall enable them to overcome in these harsh conditions difficulties they face, especially in times of crisis. I hope crises come and go, we have already experienced this. The country just begins to develop more actively and, probably, here is the security of relationship that exists here, especially here at the land of Ugra between government and business, between power and people of the district. I would like to thank you for your attention, because it has taken a very long period to give birth and to sign this document today; and this is probably a consensus which we have reached by signing it, and taking into account the interests of absolutely everyone: governments, companies and residents, and of course, the region.
The Host: Thank you very much, Natalia Vladimirovna and Vagit Yusufovich. I now propose to go directly to dialogue with residents of the base cities "Lukoil – Western Siberia". We, those who are present in this hall, are being joined now by residents of Langepas, Urai, Pokachi and one more place, a city of Kogalym. I turn it over to my colleague, Natalia Kornilova from Kogalym. Good evening, Natalia!
N. Kornilova: Good evening, we are pleased to be first to join the dialogue. Hello Natalia Vladimirovna! Hello Vagit Yusufovich! We have questions; we are in leisure and cultural center "Amber"; citizens of the city have gathered here, and that is more than five hundred people, and I propose to go on.
Question from residents: Good evening, I am the master of oil and gas production shop No. 1 at South Yagunsk field. At the end of last year Ugra has proposed a federal initiative to introduce tax on financial output for the oil industry. Recently, this initiative has been supported by the Vice-Premier of the Russian Federation, Arkady Dvorkovich. What shall Okrug, and we, the oilmen expect?
N. Komarova: I would like to note that this initiative of the district has been formed on basis of proposals, including the ones from oil companies. Quite an active role has been played here by the "Lukoil" Company. We have proceeded from the fact that without changing the system of taxation in the industry; we simply cannot continue provide conditions to convert hydrocarbon resources into potential for both mineral resource base and the Russian economy as a whole. As a region creating conditions for production of 50% of the Russian oil volume we cannot remain aside from the "tug-of-war" at the federal level with various lobbying interests in this regard. We have legalized our opinion on this matter in form of a legislative initiative. This is the first. Second, we relied on views of experts who are the most positive in this approach. We understand that it is possible that a certain degree of estimates may be overstated. That is why our proposal has been reduced to introduction such new system step-by-step having tried it at a number of particular fields and pilot conditions eliminating the risk of loosening the entire tax system, because every new rule in taxation requires restructuring of the administration and the state is worried that in this situation it can lose those revenues it counts for. Therefore, we have proposed a "transitional period". This is a very serious proposal, the systematic one, so most likely, there will be no simple and short term solution. But we are ready; we’ve got engaged, we’ve made the first step and published our opinion, the attitude to this issue and, of course, will defend our point of view. Once again, the main thing is that we cannot "stop", and the pressure that has occurred at the oil market in the last year would hurt us more because we are not willing to work in such flexible, adequate situation, in such business environment. Our tax system is not responding to such calls. That is why we have local decisions taken as a "tax maneuver", which has immediately become obsolete, because there is no flexibility, too. Such an industry like ours requires different rules. So we suggest this initiative, and we will actively promote it as much as possible. That's what I would like to comment in this regard. I am sure that once we will launch the "pilot" it will show its effect, and then we will be able to replicate it painless all over the country. Hello, compatriots! I didn’t greet you at first, but I am very glad to see you all.
N. Kornilova: Thank you very much. Let’s proceed to the next question.
Question from residents: Good evening, I am Mitina Farula Yarullovna, the operator of oil preparation and pumping shop. Vagit Yusufovich we have a question. Under a signed supplement agreement for 2015 whether the "Lukoil" Company will be able to fulfill its obligations in view of oil prices? Thank you!
V. Alekperov: Yes, we have endorsed a budget for 2015 based on oil price of USD 60, and exchange rate of 55 Rubles. We perform all our obligations on taxes, to our teams and to shareholders. I am confident that this agreement that has been signed is weighted, the funds have been allocated by the company, and the company's budget for 2015 has been drawn up without involvement of borrowed funds, and without appeals for state support. We do not look to the state for support, and we do not involve external borrowings. Therefore, these are real projects, plus you know that in Kogalym there is under construction quite a large complex, which is beyond the scope of this agreement, and it will be timely commissioned in 2016.
N. Kornilova: Thank you very much, we have just one more question to continue; give me a sign. Let's listen.
A. Rafikova: Good evening, Natalia Vladimirovna, good evening, Vagit Yusufovich. I am the head of the school of foreign languages, the "Dialogue" Rafikova Alsou. Vagit Yusufovich, at Kogalym there are facilities that either have been built or are under construction thanks to the charity foundation "Our Future". The kindergarten "Tsvetik-semitsvetik" is perfectly operating. In October last year there has been commencement of the construction of a multifunctional complex the "Galaxy". Vagit Yusufovich, please tell us, under current economic turbulence, how possible it will be to meet the deadlines set, and how actively will the foundation "Our Future" work?
V. Alekperov: In respect of the foundation "Our Future" the budget for 2015 has also been allocated. Just yesterday there has been a meeting of the Board of Directors and I can assure, that both programs and funds allocated to the foundation allow it to grow. That is, at the level of 2014, without increasing the budget, at the 2014 level, the foundation will develop. It means, that today there are a lot of initiatives, our foundation "Our Future" is already known at the Russian Federation, in many regions, in many cities, so the initiative that has begun five years ago is being developed. In general, I am very sure that social entrepreneurship is the way of development that gives a person a possible to self-actualize; it also stabilizes social situation at the country, and will help to overcome difficulties to many families who want to start own business, especially in regions where there are massive job cuts . These are mainly industrial centers such as the Urals, Perm, Ekaterinburg. There the Foundation supports people in retraining, giving them opportunity to establish the business of their own.
N. Kornilova: Thank you, any more questions. Please
Salnikov Alexander: Hello, I am a specialist of the Department of Physical Culture and Sports. Natalia Vladimirovna, the Deaflympics Winter Games will start in Ugra really soon; our country will host such Games for the first time. We all are very proud that our district will be the venue of competitions. Can you tell how ready are we, for such a responsible international competitions?
N. Komarova: We are ready. And this is not only my assessment. When international competitions of such level are being prepared such preparations are accompanied by appropriate training and monitoring carried out by international organizations at initiative of the Ministry of Sports of the Russian Federation. Last inspection has taken place in January, and experts have confirmed that the autonomous district is ready to host such large-scale international sporting events. Therefore, today we can breathe out; stop worry for what will be ready or not. We should set our mind and start cheer for our athletes and for the victory of our team. There will be 6 residents of Ugra, five skiers and one snowboarder. Therefore, we also have such a "domestic" interest in victories of the national team. 27 countries and nearly 500 athletes have already applied for participation by now. Therefore, it should be an interesting international competition. We are ready. It remains to us only to cheer and to athletes – to achieve results. International experts have recognized our capabilities as good enough.
The Host: Thank you very much. We thank those who have gathered in the "Amber" hall. I’d like to remind that today teleconference unites Langepas, Urai, Kogalym and Pokachi. And the next question will be from the "Lukoil-Western Siberia" company, please.
Polina Filimonova: Today we talked about oil price for more than once. Natalia Vladimirovna, do you think this trend is for a long term, and how will it allow the district to fulfill social responsibilities?
N. Komarova: In my case I see a wonderful way out of this situation. At first, a bit earlier Vagit Yusufovich has given such assessments, but I will refer to even more serious – at least for me – expert, to our President, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, who commenting on this issue for Egyptian journalists, has said that oil prices cannot be low infinitely as well as they cannot be high infinitely. Therefore, let’s stop at this at least in respect of forecasting the prices. Let's go back to how it affects, and how prepared we are by budgetary parameters, by our expectations of the economic development of the Autonomous Okrug. We have reserves accumulated in previous years, including even the reserve fund in the district budget. In addition, last year we have worked very actively with municipalities. With us here there are several heads from Kogalym, and Pokachi; at least they will confirm that we are very actively engaged in this subject and have taken very effective decisions that enabled us to refuse from some unnecessary expenditures of the Autonomous Okrug budget and concentrate on development of tax revenue base. These are also those reserves that we will use if necessary. Above all, I want to note that under instructions of the President of the Russian Federation we are preparing a plan of priority measures to ensure the stability and reliability of the economy of the region in 2015. Until 13th of February anyone from public can submit an appeal, and I’d like to note that in respect of proposals to be made by citizens and then included in the plan, people who have proposed them will be awarded by merit certificate from the governor with a cash prize. With regard to officials, municipal and state employees, I have a separate offer that has reached each of them, and proposals that will be formed in professional expert community and will be included in the plan, will also be awarded by prizes of the governor. I.e. we are mobilizing all of us in every possible way to work together, and as it has been already noted here, when it is hard to mobilize all possibilities, usually during this period the conditions for breaking through are being formed, serious breakthroughs to move forward. I believe that in our case it makes a difference, and we are faced by such a choice. On one hand, the crisis means instability, and the New Year has begun with the fact that risk factors to have accumulated in 2014 have survived, and we shall live with this. We were lucky, perhaps, more lucky than other regions because we are closely linked to problems and risks that have emerged at the stock markets, oil markets. On the other hand, the real economy and budget begin to adapt to the current economic conditions, and thus to change in such a way as to get rid of these risks or take advantage thereof to move forward. That is why we are mobilizing all people in order not to miss any of movements we could have gathered in a piggy bank. Therefore, we will live and work, so companies forming the revenue base are confident that they will cope with budgetary commitments and will remain within the budget parameters they have planned. It remains to us only to form our obligations and our opinions thereon. At this moment, conditions that we have today, give us the opportunity to deal with all targets that are set before us by the President of the Russian Federation. Let's move on.
Polina Filimonova: Have the residents already expressed their activity?
N. Komarova: Yes, open the website here, I think we have Internet connection her, look, up to taking a decision by the district to become a shareholder of the open joint stock company "UTair" which today has rather serious problems, up to such proposals as, for example, to increase the share of small and medium enterprises from 15% to 30% when placing the municipal and state order. That is, there are all sorts of different proposals.
The Host: Dear viewers, we move now from the city of Kogalym to Langepas where my colleague, Nika Pavlova is working. Nika, good evening, please speak.
Nika Pavlova: Good evening, Kogalym, we are in the Center of Culture "Neftyanik". We are glad to greet you, Natalia Vladimirovna, and you Vagit Yusufovich, and of course all of our neighbors. We are ready to ask questions.
Svetlana Abramova: Good evening! I am the chairman of the city club for young families the "Family". My question is as follows. Vagit Yusufovich, this year is reach for anniversaries. Kogalym and Langepas turned 30 years; Urai turned 50 years; "Lukoil -Western Siberia" turned 20. Vagit Yusufovich, can you please tell whether the residents of our cities can rely on decent celebration, or the celebration will be moderate?
V. Alekperov: I think such dates as 50 years, 30 years, of course, shall be celebrated, particularly in cities. In regards to the Western Siberia – the date is 25 years, we will probably reconcile it with the 30th anniversary or Langepas or Kogalym, and celebrate it at the same day. Festivities will be held in all our cities, budgets have been allocated for it. Anyway, on its part the "Lukoil" company has allocated such a budget.
N. Komarova: Well, Svetlana, I want to maybe add that to celebrate or not celebrate is one thing, but autonomous district has no right not to notice such dates, such events. Moreover, they are superimposed on the anniversary Birthday of the District, and our common joy on not only Russians, but of the entire the world – the Victory over Nazism, fascism. Therefore, indeed, the year of 2015 is so momentous, and I would say not for the dates but for events. Thank you very much.
V. Alekperov: I am sure that in difficult time it is necessary to give joy to ourselves, so all we will celebrate all our dates.
The Host: Please, Langepas.
Adelina Yakunina: Good evening, I am the artistic director of the Center for work with children and young people the "Fortune", Adelina Yakunina. Natalia Vladimirovna, a great gift for all people of Ugra has become opening of new agro-industrial complex in Yarki. At the end these are high-quality own fresh vegetables. Thank you very much for that. Therewith I have a question, please tell, whether there are plans to build such complexes in other areas of Ugra?
N. Komarova: This is an interesting project. It was not easy. And the main challenges, what is not natural, were in a period of preparation, at a stage of idea. The entire project has been transforming from one format to another, but in the end, we have defined a priority. We have mobilized all administrative resources, removed all obstacles that could only pile up for the project. And it happened, and the first stage was put into operation. The investor plans to expand this complex. To add 3-4 hectares to already commissioned capacities. And now, at this moment, when the facility has been put into operation, we have organized work according to which the manufacturer, the greenhouse complex has signed an agreement for supply of goods to retail chains. Even for these products that have not yet grown up, there is a buyer. This is a very important component of this, this is the first. And second, we are at a very high stage of getting consent of the investor to do the same project in Surgut. We have a large greenhouse there, but agricultural sector is nearly destroyed in terms of managing and effect. So we have been interested in finding such an investor to revive what Surgut has, and to develop it. We believe that if in Khanty-Mansiysk and Surgut those facilities will work at capacity we rely upon, we will close to a large extent the need for this kind of products for the entire territory of the autonomous district.
Question from residents: Vagit Yusufovich many oil and gas companies have begun cutting the number of employees, please say do you have such plans?
V. Alekperov: No, the company has no plans to downsizing of its employees in 2015 and 2016, too. We have chosen another way. We do not hire additional employees at our refineries where there are large capital assets. We redistribute our oil-producing workers and raise performance. In oil-producing regions, we drill a lot of wells that require maintenance, there is a growth in number, hiring of new workers. But today we assign tasks to our leaders; these are – to raise labor performance, to raise efficiency. We believe that our qualified personnel may and have to increase productivity and to maintain more sites than the last year. Given the fact that this will allow us to overcome difficulties we face and not to reduce our employees.
Nika Pavlova: We thank you for the opportunity to communicate directly.
The Host: Thank you, Nika. Now we go back to the "Lukoil-Western Siberia".
Question from residents: Today we have discussed consequences that may be expected by large businesses and would like to talk about the small. As a rule, it suffers in times of crisis. Mostly this is reflected in drop of purchasing capacity and in inaccessible loans. Natalia Vladimirovna, here is a question for you, how you, as the head of the region, will help small businesses in Ugra?
N. Komarova: You're right. Indeed, small and medium-sized businesses – is the engine that in an unstable economic environment is becoming the locomotive for preservation and development of entrepreneurial activity. That is why the Plan of the Government of the Russian Federation adopted on 27th of January provides for priority measures to ensure stability of economic development. This block is given a main position. And, in turn, we are committed to implementing the planned activities. In February, the Government of the autonomous district has taken a decision on introduction of "tax holidays" for private entrepreneurs, have introduced a legislative initiative in the State Duma, and I believe that on 20th of February at the next session of the Duma, the initiative will be supported. Moreover, somehow it is taken into account in the President’s Message. Today, state authorities, the Government of the Autonomous District have also formed such proposals into a regional plan. It includes measures on capitalization of the guarantee fund; that is an extremely demanded mode of support to small and medium businesses at a time when money are very expensive – expensive because of short term and high-interest for use of such bank resources. I have already mentioned the proposal associated with an increase in share of small and medium businesses in respect of services and goods procured by state and local governments. Both in Surgut and here, there have been proposals, and, probably, together with municipalities we will choose the route of introducing more serious or most responsive decisions in respect of setting the rental rates for use of municipal and state property. This is an enormous amount of expenditures for small and medium-sized businesses. It is important to help entrepreneurs here. Currently we discuss, and evaluate our capabilities in terms of increasing amount of direct government guarantees. I do not like this measure. Because it is directly related to the fact that even at the planning stage we are forming the national debt, which is not attractive for investors. At the very least, any rating agency when there is a national debt, assesses it and lowers the investment rating. This is a minus, a negative signal. No wonder Vagit Yusufovich described as a plus the fact that for company this rating has not decreased, and it is higher than the national rating. This is a set of direct solutions. I have named them among those that are expected to be taken at the federal level, and those that are formed here in the region given our specificity, and inquiries received from small and medium-sized businesses. The year of 2014 was not everywhere in the Russian Federation favorable for the small and medium businesses. At the autonomous district, we recorded growth in business activity by both number and turnover which is created for implementation of the activities of small and medium-sized businesses. For us it is important not to reduce this activity. Therefore, we are ready introduce "tax holidays" for a variety of obligations and areas of our mutual cooperation. We also believe that at times when large economy, big business is hard to deploy, small and medium businesses could support entrepreneurial activity and development of conditions for self-employment and job creation.
The Host: Thank you. Now we go to the city Pokachi. You are live on air.
The Host in Pokachi: Hello. It just so happened that the teleconference from Pokachi is not complete without one of our citizens. Do you recognize him?
N. Komarova: I am very glad to see you, my young friend.
The Host in Pokachi: This is our pride, Daniil Mikhailovich.
Daniil: Everyone is talking about the crisis. And how is your mood?
V. Alekperov: If I talk about my mood, my mood is tense but fairly optimistic. After today's communication with leaders of Western Siberia when we have worked on food program and overcoming the difficulties that we may have, I am optimistic.
N. Komarova: In addition to stress which is associated with such times, I would like to note that it is necessary to maintain confidence of yours, Daniil Mikhailovich, and of all your countrymen, in that, that this is exactly the time a large number of smart, talented people the nature itself allows for opening up and realizing potential. In respect of my colleagues, the officials, we are the callous and consolidated people in terms that we are hard to be broke. But I always say, colleagues, friends, this is the chance when you can prove that you and only you have the right and are able to provide guidance and conduct state and municipal policy at the territory of the autonomous district, because in peacetime, very few people are seen. And in such times here you are. I have even established the award for those whose proposal will be included in the plan of priority actions of our lives in 2015. The mood is working, optimistic, and moreover, for me personally, it is necessary and important that this optimism to be read by you, too.
Daniil Mikhailovich: Thank you for the answer. Two years ago I asked the question whether I am to follow the footsteps of my father, the oilman and whether there will be enough oil for this. I'm in 8th grade now. And oilmen have many professions. What is the one you can advise me?
V. Alekperov: petroleum engineer in development of fields. I have the same specialty, you see, and I have become president of the company.
N. Komarova: He knows what he says (applause).
Daniil Mikhailovich: Thank you for the answer, Natalia Vladimirovna, and Vagit Yusufovich.
The Host in Pokachi: Here, in the hall of "Pokachevneftegas" representatives of various social and professional groups have gathered, and they also have questions.
Question from residents: I am the director of municipal sports school, Alexander Kuzmin. Natalia Vladimirovna, how do you intend to cope with rising prices? In our city, as well as throughout the country, the average price has risen because of increased exchange rate. But prices are increased without reasons. What do you plan to do in this regard?
N. Komarova: I would like to inform all that since August last year the autonomous district together with municipalities have established a system that allows for obtaining information on prices and availability of goods in the trade organizations of the Autonomous District. Monitoring is conducted using a certain methodology over federal networks and local outlets for 40 kinds of food products. Before that, we have received information on a daily basis, and every time when we see that price of a particular product grows more than the inflation rate, we pass the information to the prosecutor's office and the Federal Antimonopoly Service. Prosecutors have worked quite seriously on our signals, and offenders have been prosecuted. Last week there was a meeting of the board of the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous District with the Deputy Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation. They have worked out this issue in a hard manner. According to the Ministry of Economic Development by results of 2014 our region is in the top three of those where prices have increased the least. Same is true by results in January. For a number of municipalities there has been set a limit to trade margin on more than 20 kinds of essential goods. Among them – there is Pokachi as the city once has been referred to territories with limited abilities to deliver the goods. The gasoline price has even declined at the autonomous district in December and January. But when you come into the store, despite what I say there is a noticeable rise in prices. It's frustrating, but at the same time, we understand that there are objective reasons for this. Every time when it goes beyond reason, report immediately. We will take all measures.
Artem Buyanov: My name is Artem Buyanov, and I am the chairman of young specialists of "Pokachevneftegas." Ugra and "Lukoil" actively cooperate in training the specialists. Vagit Yusufovich whether this experience be replicated to other areas?
V. Alekperov: We are replicating this experience. We have a center in Nizhny Novgorod established together with regional authorities, which trains specialists in oil refinery. As for Ugra, there is a sufficiently large center in Kogalym. It depends on number of graduates that will be required. It is necessary to consider the economy and demand for such professionals in the region. We support District programs, including in Pokachi.
The Host: Thank you, Pokachi. Let’s move on to Kogalym. Here is a wuestion from the audience, please.
Question from residents: I am Polonsky Oleg Anatolievich the secretary of "Lukoil-Western Siberia". Natalia Vladimirovna, the Russian Government has made it mandatory for all Russian regions to develop by mid-September crisis management plans. At what stage the anti-crisis plan is at the district and what it is based on?
N. Komarova: By mid-February. There is a high degree of readiness because state agencies have formed their proposals; they are placed on a webpage I mentioned on the website we have created for our Public Council according to Strategy 2030. I already have a set of proposals out there from experts, but we have posted them at the same website. Now it is a period of forming public proposals and discussing the once that have already been received. It is important. This week, the Duma of the Autonomous District in cooperation with the Public Chamber will consider this question in mode of live contact, and the specific task for the plan will be formed. Today I worked with entrepreneurs, and we also talked about it. Tomorrow I will work at Pokachi and will cover this subject, too. Until 13th of February we will complete the public stage, and next week, I believe, we will be able to approve this document.
The Host: Thank you, Natalia Vladimirovna. Let’s continue and move on to the south of the Autonomous District, to the town of Urai. Good evening, Olga Mishutina is here.
Olga Mishutina: Hello. Please accept the greetings from the most southern and eldest of our towns. We are here today, and we also want to ask our questions. Please.
Question from residents: Vagit Yusufovich, I have a question for you. What is your advice to holders of “Lukoil” shares” Is it better to buy or sell? Although Natalia Vladimirovna has described the position of “Lukoil” shares at the stock market, but taking this opportunity, today at live teleconference I would like to hear your advice, Vagit Yusufovich. Thank you.
V. Alekperov: Good evening. I'm buying! I always believe that “Lukoil” shares are the most effective investment. There was no even a year in the history of the company, when the company did not pay dividends for its shares. I.e. we fulfill our obligations to our shareholders, so my advice to you and your friends is to buy.
Elena Valerievna Zhdanova: the Territorial Production Enterprise, "Uraineftegaz." Vagit Yusufovich, here is the question that bothers thousands of employees of the "Lukoil" company. Due to high inflation whether there is a reserve in order to maintain the level of wages.
V. Alekperov: Yes, the company has incorporated indexation in its budget. That is, here at the meeting I have said that we will fulfill all social obligations to our employees. The social package that has been formed will remain, and indexation of wages will happen in the same way as is provided for by the collective agreement. Here is the head of the trade union organization, he watches over the interests of our employees. So we will fulfill all points of the collective agreement, and indexation of wages will happen.
Elvira Rakhmatullina: My question is for Natalia Vladimirovna. Natalia Vladimirovna, I have once read on the Internet that you are telling your grandsons the tale about oil, please tell is it really true and why about oil?
N. Komarova: I think I will have to tell you a story. I just could not think of other stories and decided to talk about oil. This is at first. And second, it seemed to me that my grandson and he has just celebrated his four years in December, will be interested to look at his grandmother, and at place where she lives when we part, and I go to Ugra, it was not clear to him. And now he knows that this is the place where the oil is, and the people who produce oil. For him, it is now closer and more understandable. For our family of oil and gas is what shapes the character of our family members, creates a tradition. So I felt that such a tale-true story will be useful for our younger relatives. So I give an idea you can use. It remains in memory and interest remains.
The Host: Thank you. Urai, and the final question please.
Question from residents: Good evening, Natalia Vladimirovna, and Vagit Yusufovich! This year is the 50th anniversary of Shaim oil. It is important for industry veterans. We thank you, Natalia Vladimirovna, and Vagit Yusufovich for supporting veterans' movement. We are pleased to invite you to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the town of Urai. We are waiting for you among guests of honor in our town.
V. Alekperov: We accepted the invitation. We will come.
The Host: We say thank you to the town of Urau. Natalia Vladimirovna, Vagit Yusufovich our air is coming to its logical conclusion. Let me remind you that today we have been in touch with residents of Langepes, Urai, Kogalym and Pokachi. Thank you, Natalia Vladimirovna, and you, Vagit Yusufovich for answers you gave. Because it seems to us that since these issues concern residents of base cities they concern all residents of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Ugra. Thank you. And thanks to all our viewers. See you all at our next meeting on the air.