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Georgiy Poltavchenko: We need to solve actual problems instead of thinking about September elections


In an exclusive interview to “Pulse of the city” host, the acting governor summarized the past political year and explained why he is not yet bothered with the upcoming elections.


Yuriy Zinchuk, “Pulse of the City” host: “Let me start by saying – politics is politics. But life will not stop after September 14th. And the biggest mistake would be if the political elite of the city will direct all its thoughts towards the election race. St. Petersburg is in for a very rough winter – as forecasts are suggesting. And not easy economic situation too – in the context of the events in Europe right now. In other words, its not only about September 14th

That’s why one matter becomes particularly acute. How will political promises differ from actual deeds? Because one can give a loud and resounding promise – I can give you a happy and comfortable living, me and no one else. And then have no responsibility over these promises. Because that’s not the person to be even responsible for such things. So that gives one the right to say whatever one wants.

But there is one man in St. Petersburg who has neither right nor possibility to throw empty words or promises. Because he’s responsible – literally – with his head for everything happening in St. Petersburg now and what will be happening after September 14th, irrespective of the election’s results. Because preparations for the winter must start now. Even yesterday, to be more precise. The man’s name is Georgiy Poltavchenko.

Now lets ask him – what is being done so that the authorities do not forget about the most important things in the heat of political battles. About comfort, safety, development and life of the 5-million-populated megapolis. But lets start with politics – with outcomes of the parliamentary year, closing ceremony of which was attended by Georgiy Poltavchenko. That’s where we – using journalistic slang – caught up with him

Yuriy Zinchuk, “Pulse of the City” host: “Georgiy Sergeevich, the parliamentary year is drawing to a close. What is the main lesson you have learnt?”

Georgiy Poltavchenko, acting governor of St. Petersburg: “Not a lesson, but rather a conclusion. There is the main one: together we have worked out a clear and effective mechanism of solving the city’s challenges. Speaking to deputies today, I used the famous Confucius quote: “When roads are different, joint plans are not made”. Yes, we may have different views – including political ones – but we have a common path. It is the same. The path is towards solving city’s issues and improving lives of our residents”

Yuriy Zinchuk, “Pulse of the City” host: “You could have kept your job until 2016. But now you’re going through elections. After the campaign started, have you had any changes in your decision-making? Any changes at all?

Georgiy Poltavchenko, acting governor of St. Petersburg: ”First of all, I have had enough time to think everything through and clearly understand what kind of job I was given. This huge, important and very complex mechanism. That’s first. Secondly, together with the expert community, with the city’s government, with deputies and residents we have created a genuine plan of actions for the foreseeable perspective – the so-called “Strategy-2030”. And that’s when a question popped up – the strategy is ready, 17 state programs are ready – we will publish them shortly – and I think I am responsible for launching this mechanism. If I waited until 2016, I would have had only a year to work with it. Today I have a chance of participating in the elections, win it and prove to the residents of St. Petersburg that I’m capable and start solving these tasks”

Yuriy Zinchuk, “Pulse of the City” host: ”A lot is being said about “Strategy-2030”. What will it give me – an ordinary resident of St. Petersburg?”

Georgiy Poltavchenko, acting governor of St. Petersburg: “The first and foremost goal – development of human capital, of all residents with no exceptions. Starting from newborns to men at certain jobs in a certain age. The second, nonetheless important goal – improving the city environment so that the human capital can live freely”

Yuriy Zinchuk, “Pulse of the City” host: ”Heating, metro, roofs, cleaning of streets”

Georgiy Poltavchenko, acting governor of St. Petersburg: “And not only that. We are used to a notion that comfortable living is only about heating, clean streets, strong roofs. That is not so. It is about creation of a corresponding cultural space, strong cultural infrastructure – even more so that it’s not difficult to do for our city. The main thing is a complex approach to it. Creation of new means of leisure for the people”

Yuriy Zinchuk, “Pulse of the City” host: “So this means that not only I’d be able to live a comfortable life, but also have possibilities for self-fulfillment and education?”

Georgiy Poltavchenko, acting governor of St. Petersburg: “Precisely. Getting good medical care, education and self-education”

Yuriy Zinchuk, “Pulse of the City” host: “Career ladder and business”

Georgiy Poltavchenko, acting governor of St. Petersburg: “And that’s where we’ve reached our 3rd goal – providing economic growth. Firstly, within the development of economic knowledge. We have a huge scientific and educational potential. We have inherited great institutes, great science and traditions from our ancestors. We would develop new businesses and innovative businesses based on that economic knowledge. And also technical refurbishment of those enterprises which are considered as the basis of our refining industry today”

Yuriy Zinchuk, “Pulse of the City” host:»: “Are tourism and culture included in this economic knowledge? I’m just trying to understand this term”

Georgiy Poltavchenko, acting governor of St. Petersburg: “Tourism, tourist infrastructure, the so-called “creative industry” – economy based on art and culture. And it’s a very important matter – improving state governance and activities of bodies of power”

Yuriy Zinchuk, “Pulse of the City” host: “That includes new methods of improvement?”

Georgiy Poltavchenko, acting governor of St. Petersburg: “That includes the implementation of electronic government. We want to make it happen so that by 2030 one would not have to wait for attendance at any state body for more than 7 minutes. I think it is possible to do. We just have to do it everyday, with all seriousness and have a wish to do that. I’ve said it before – we do not work, we serve. If all state officials understand that, the people will understand that these people really do serve their interests. And that means doing a good job”

Yuriy Zinchuk, “Pulse of the City” host: “Your speech as the city’s governor contains not only words like “roads, heating, metro, rooftops”. That is very important, surely. But I also hear “strategy”. I must see the future, and you must show me that future if you want to have my vote”

Georgiy Poltavchenko, acting governor of St. Petersburg: “Why am I not talking about it today? Because I think its natural for the work of city’s authorities. Its like breathing, having a breakfast, lunch or dinner. There’s a lot of work left to be done”

Yuriy Zinchuk, “Pulse of the City” host: “Life doesn’t stop after September 14th. The fall and winter are coming. What do you think about it?”

Georgiy Poltavchenko, acting governor of St. Petersburg: “Yuriy, in all honesty – you may not believe me, but it really is so. Today im thinking NOT about the election, but about the coming winter, about the heating season. There’s a Russian saying – get your skates ready in the summer. And we’re actively doing it today”

Yuriy Zinchuk, “Pulse of the City” host: “Get your skates ready in the summer, and don’t think about the 14th . Do what you have to”

Georgiy Poltavchenko, acting governor of St. Petersburg: “Exactly. September 14th will pass, but the city will live on. The city and its residents. They will not be interested in what you were doing in the summer. Its best to be involved in the city’s affairs, then you’ll have a good answer to everything”

Yuriy Zinchuk, “Pulse of the City” host: “A governor 2014-2020 – who is it? What is it? What responsibilities? What challenges?”

Georgiy Poltavchenko, acting governor of St. Petersburg: “Smart servant of the people”

Yuriy Zinchuk, “Pulse of the City” host: “Smart servant of the people – that’s exactly the kind of governor St. Petersburg now needs. God bless, it will have one. Good luck on this rocky road! Thank you”