Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Murmansk today to chair a meeting of the State Council presidium and the Naval Board to discuss how to speed up development of Russia's port and naval transport infrastructure, Itar-Tass reports. In his "State of the Nation" address of April 26, Putin had said: "It is several years now that I have been reiterating the need to develop seaports. However the situation in this respect has not practically improved. Goods flows continue to pass via foreign ports. This is simply inadmissible.
"Therefore, to begin with, it is essential to adopt an investment program for the development of ports, to resolve as early as this year the question of developing the harbor infrastructure, and finally to pass a respective law and determine zones for the operation of ports with preferential taxation procedures," Putin said.
The meeting will be held aboard an icebreaker 50 Let Pobedy in the Kola Bay by Murmansk, in northwestern Russia near its border with Norway and Finland. Murmansk was one of the key ports used for transport of U.S. Lend Lease goods to supply the Soviet Red Army during World War II. The State Council presidium is made up of governors of Russian territories on a rotating basis.
The Russian Naval Board, created in September 2001, had as its predecessor the Admiralty Board created in 1718 by Peter the Great, Itar-Tass reports. President Putin will review the port facilities at Kola Bay, and also meet with Murmansk region Governor Yuri Yevdokimov. During these meetings, Sergey Darkin, the Governor of Primorsky Territory, in Russia's Far East will present proposals for developing naval infrastructure, according to the Vladivstok Times.