Vladimir Putin has described the Volga area as "an excellent region with a magnificent potential", but expressed dissatisfaction with the inefficient use of this potential.
"It is obvious that Volga regions possess a fabulous production potential," the Russian president noted, speaking on Monday at a conference on the social and economic development of the Volga Federal District. As an example the head of state cited the automotive industry, which accounts for 85 per cent of the all-Russian potential, aircraft manufacture /more than 60 per cent/ and petrochemistry /30 per cent/.
"Concentrated in the region are many industrial giants, which have in the past been called 'beacons' of industry; today, however, their economic effectiveness is insufficient", Putin noted. In his view, very slow progress is being made in production renewal, and almost nothing is done to create jobs, while "in terms of wear of basic industrial assets and number of unemployed the Volga area leads the other districts of the country." The president pointed out that the district's enterprises have a real chance of becoming economically successful and competitive, since the Volga area is extremely attractive to investors. "But until now all these possibilities have been used demonstrably poorly: most of the area's regions in terms of investment attracted are rated 60th to 70th among the other constituent members of the federation, Putin said. adding that such a situation is "inadmissible".
At the same time the president noted that in the volume of farm produce the Volga area is an undoubted leader -- it is already forming a modern market of agricultural products and introducing new forms of economic management, and in this sense the region is better than the others.