President Putin describes economics as one of Siberia's main problems

Russian President Vladimir Putin has mentioned economics among the main problems facing the Siberian Federal District.

Speaking at a session of Russia's Security Council in Moscow on Friday, the head of state pointed out that the economic situation in the district has "somewhat stabilised" over recent years - gross regional production has registered growth and its industrial production rose by 4 per cent.

"But even these advances have been gained mainly thanks to enterprises working for export, ones that mine and process raw materials," the head of state indicated. According to him, most of the Siberian territories remain subsidised, although Siberia concentrates colossal natural resources and has large industrial and scientific centres. One of the explanations put by Putin was a squeeze of labour.

Besides, according to the president, "other critical issues concern the wear and tear of fixed assets, investment crunch, and the need to re-establish the mineral base." "The situation is compounded by high energy and transport charges," Putin said.

He recalled that a strategy for Siberia's economic development was adopted last year. Meanwhile, according to the president, mechanisms for its implementation "are not as yet clear enough". "Nor are there any definitive decisions on the district's initiatives on innovative activity," the head of state said and suggested progress in realising these programmes be discussed.

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