Aisen Nikolaev, head of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia): The achievements of the republic over the past five years are phenomenal. Both in the economy and in the social sphere

Aisen Nikolaev visited the open studio of Radio Komsomolskaya Pravda and spoke about the successes in the development of the region.  Photo: KP

Aisen Nikolaev visited the open studio of Radio Komsomolskaya Pravda and spoke about the successes in the development of the region. Photo: KP

At the Eastern Economic Forum, the head of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) Aisen Nikolaev visited the open studio of Radio Komsomolskaya Pravda, where he spoke about the successes in the development of the region. But the interview began… with a movie.


– Yakutia is proud of its status as the most creative region of Russia. As part of the last St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, screenings of films by Yakut filmmakers took place. Will guests of the Eastern Economic Forum be able to get acquainted with films shot in Yakutia?

– We are proud of our cinema. We understand that Yakut cinema today is already turning from a cultural phenomenon into what is called the film industry. We intend in the coming years to fulfill the decision of our president – to build a full-cycle film pavilion in Yakutsk, making it the largest in the Far East and Siberia. In general, make it the third cinematic center in Russia. Moreover, we already occupy third place in the country in film production. But we want even more films to be made. And not only by Yakut companies, but also by Far Eastern ones.

For us, any opportunity to promote our cinema, our best achievements, is always an opportunity to introduce people not only to the achievements of cinema, but also to our republic. WEF is no exception. We brought here our best films of recent years: “Private Cheerin”, “Julur”, “Bugun-bylyr”… These are good, kind films. “Private Chaerin” is about our snipers, heroes of the Great Patriotic War. Currently, projects related to the creation of films about the heroes of the Northern Military District are at a very high level of development. We create them in collaboration with new regions, in particular with Zaporozhye and the DPR. The film “Julur” is about athletes who are involved in the original Yakut sport, which today is receiving very active international recognition. Now the World Championship is taking place in Tashkent – mass wrestling, tug of war. The film is not only about sports, but also about overcoming oneself. “Bugun-bylyr” is a kind, comedic-style story about how a person from today is transported to ancient Yakutia, and what can happen to him there. Wonderful, good films. I hope that many EEF guests will find the opportunity to watch them.

– Recently, the President of Russia signed an order to create a full-cycle film pavilion in Yakutsk, you have already mentioned it. When will this object appear? What conditions are planned to be created there for filmmakers?

– This will be the first and only full-cycle film pavilion in the Far East, where you can make a film from start to finish: filming, post-production… Now the discussion of the technical specifications is ending. Moreover, with the participation of not only Yakut filmmakers, but also Far Eastern film companies. These days these negotiations are actively being held here. We would like to start construction in 2024 and commission the facility by the end of 2026. We already understand the financing mechanisms. Using, among other things, the Far Eastern concession. We really want to make a world-class facility so that in this film pavilion we have everything that is good in the world, even just emerging, interesting, original.


– Earlier it was reported about the expansion of the network of Extra Cinema cinema installations in rural cinemas of the republic. Does this make commercial sense now?

– This question is far from idle. It is not for nothing that the president of the country, following a meeting with representatives of the creative industries, gave instructions, two of which were related to Yakutia. The first is the construction of a film pavilion, the second assignment is related to Extra Cinema. All Russian film distribution is based on Western technologies and standards. Western film distribution standards do not imply the possibility of distributing good blockbusters and interesting big films in rural areas and small towns. They are interested in large halls and cities. As a result, the number of cinemas in the country over the past decades has decreased not even tens, but hundreds of times. A huge layer of cultural institutions, the same rural and regional recreation centers, were simply thrown away. They don’t show movies now. And people have a desire to go to the movies.

Our guys who are associated with cinematography thought about this for a long time and created a film projector that not only shows movies, but also contains software solutions that allow for copyright supervision, spectator registration, including the ability to pay with a “Pushkin Card” when going to cinema halls. This played a big role in the fact that we have now started installing such film projectors in rural cultural centers in rural areas. This made it possible to multiply the distribution of the same Yakut films throughout the entire territory of the republic, and not just in large cities, as was the case just a few years ago.

We have already financed about 27 such film installations across the republic from the republic’s budget. We are also working with other regions, including new ones, so that such solutions will appear in them too. They are absolutely independent of Western technologies. They are, of course, much cheaper. If we made such halls using Western equipment, we could open only three of them.

– For me personally, you have now made a discovery. It is generally accepted that this kind of equipment is not produced in our country…

– These are fairy tales! Both American equipment and ours are created using approximately the same solutions. But ours is nine times cheaper. This is an excellent way out of the situation where today they are practically cut off from the film industry.


– One of the main thematic blocks of the EEF is called “The Far East in ten years: what happened and what needs to be done?” What events and facts in the life of Yakutia in recent years do you consider the most important achievement? What growth points do you see for the region in the next five years?

– We can talk about this for hours. The achievements of Yakutia over the past five years are phenomenal. Both in the economy and in the social sphere. We are developing very quickly in terms of increasing the gross regional product and increasing the share of tax contributions to the budget system. But our most important achievement is not in tons of gold, not in carats, not in cubic meters of space, although in all these indicators we are already one of the leaders in the country. Our most important achievement is that, despite all the problems, the population of Yakutia has been growing steadily in recent years. Moreover, it is growing faster than ever in post-Soviet times. This year the republic reached the level of one million inhabitants. Average life expectancy is rising. For the first time in the history of Yakutia, we exceeded the Russian average level of life expectancy. We are the leaders of the Far East and occupy sixth or seventh place in the country in terms of birth rates. The fact that people stop leaving Yakutia, and many even come, including to new industrial enterprises, allowed us to overcome the figure of a million inhabitants this year. And we will continue to move forward. Moreover, now the country’s economy has turned to the east, which opens up limitless opportunities for the Far East and the largest region of the country – the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).

– Do you have any further plans, any next milestone?

– Here, I would not set a goal for rapid population growth, understanding the current demographics in the country – extremely difficult. But we are developing systematically. It is my firm conviction that if the republic continues to develop in the same stable manner, both the economy and the social sphere, and people live in it comfortably, the population will grow. But if some problems arise, the trend may change.

– Is Yakutia on time with the completion of the program for resettlement from dilapidated and dilapidated housing, recognized as such until 2017? When will the implementation of the president’s instructions on dilapidated housing in Yakutsk, which he gave at a meeting on the development of Far Eastern cities, begin?

– We are not even discussing the issue that it is possible not to implement the president’s decision on the stage of resettlement from emergency housing, recognized as such before January 1, 2017. It will be completed throughout Yakutia on schedule – in 2024-2025. As for Yakutsk, we are already completing this resettlement this year. Now we are implementing the president’s decision as part of the comprehensive development of the territory; the demolition of many dilapidated houses has already begun.


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