Meeting with journalists from the Far East and Siberian federal districts

15.11.2011 16:32:39 (GMT+12)

Dmitry Medvedev met with journalists from the Far East and Siberian federal districts in the first of a series of meetings the President will hold with regional mass media over the coming month.
QUESTION: Right now, Kamchatka Territory has a unique opportunity: the opening of the Northern Sea Route. Please tell me how is this idea viewed in principle at your level, at the state level? Are there any real, long-range plans, and if so, what are the timeframes?

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: You have a beautiful territory. Every time I travel there (especially before; today, I hope the situation is starting to change), I am always startled by the dissonance between the beauty and, to be completely honest, the disorder, the untended appearance.

As for using the Northern Sea Route and the Arctic Ocean in general, we are not just planning certain decisions; indeed some decisions have already been made. I have held many meetings of the Russian Federation Security Council concerning this topic. We gathered in various formats, and now, a corresponding law is in the State Duma, a law devoted to organising possible vessel voyage along the Northern Sea Route and the use of Arctic wealth.

At the same time, we are changing the Merchant Shipping Code, and we will even create a special department that will work on these issues. I feel that all of these things must lead to one very important effect: we must be perceived as an Arctic power, as a state that isn’t there by accident, but rather, by right. We truly have full rights.

We are the largest Arctic nation, because we have the longest coastline and the biggest sea route, so to speak. But naturally, we need to allocate money, including to our icebreaking fleet, as well as our sea vessels in general. We must also develop our ports, including in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. After all, it is an open port, and vessels sailing under different flags can enter it. But unfortunately, it is not in the best of shape, so right now, we need to carry out its reconstruction and modernisation and then we will reap the fruit from developing the Arctic and developing Kamchatka Territory. I hope we will succeed.

("Полуостров Камчатка").