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Good Profile of Russia's Booming Agricultural Black Earth Heartland - Lipetsk (Russian TV)

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The sweetest bread, the best potatoes... all can be found in 400 km south of Moscow in Lipetsk Oblast, which sits at the center of Russia's "black earth" belt. Black earth (chernozem) is noted for is moisture and fertility.

The region is also known for its industrial agriculture, natural spas, and steel-manufacturing plants.


Transcript:

Dmitry Kiselyov:

Today we're continuing the series of reports about Russian regions. Lipetsk Oblast is up next. Not everyone knows this, but there are many tasty things there. And not just that. So what are people of Lipetsk proud of and what do they offer to the rest of the country?

Alyona Rogozina:

Local residents are sure that Lipetsk bread is the most delicious in the universe, their sugar is the sweetest, and their potatoes are the most crumbly in the world. The reason is in the ground: Lipetsk's black earth is especially fertile. Literally, everything grows here. Fields seem to be endless. You look and see that Lipetsk Oblast is the center of the Chernozem (black earth) Belt.

There are megafarms on the horizon. A carousel for cows and milking to music are the latest trends in agricultural fashion.

Igor Ignatov, head of a farm: “There are 200 heads in the milking herd. We produce more than 60 tons of raw milk of the highest quality.”

30 people used to work here; now, only 5 do. The free hands are working on new production.

“We achieved results - we gather roughly 30,000 tons and 24,000 tons of the brand apple last year.”

It all began in the Soviet times with the Michurin saplings - now they set out to provide the Russian market with their apples, fresh, local ones. All year round.

- This apple is 100% natural, I assure you.

- May I just take it and eat it?

- Yes. It's better to wash it, though.

In the midst of spring thaw, there's a new general practitioner’s office, and there are more and more young visitors. Classes on healthy lifestyles and vitamin procedures.

- Patients are in there now.

- Yes, we have patients now. Intravenous drip injections. You can go through a recovery here. It's not necessary to go to Dolgorukovskaya Hospital. Meaning, to the center.

- What's in here?

- It's the dentist office.

People sighed and, as statistics show, began to return to the village - a modern, computerized one, with asphalt.

“I lost a shoe but still wanted to go to the hospital and look good.”

Fit, cheerful, without guards and flashing lights - Acting Governor Igor Artamonov personally meets with every former defrauded real estate investor.

Igor Artamonov: “We have several criminal cases, an international search, it's all at full capacity now. Bankruptcy, fictitious firms, the whole complex is here.”

The mechanism for the completion of apartments for shareholders has already started. They're preparing to hand over the keys.

- Of course, we want the process to be faster. I mean, we've been waiting for five years.

Igor Artamonov:

- I think you'll get the keys this spring. There's no way I can hide. I went to other buildings yesterday, people showed up from the building that is not yet considered problematic and told me everything they think about me and the government.

Before proposing a project to investors, the region invests in the modernization of its infrastructure.

A network control center is the heart of a special economic zone. There are two sections, there's 60 miles between them, dozen of enterprises, and everything is controlled automatically. You press a button and see how the enterprise lives. How much heat and energy it's consuming. Why is it needed? On one hand, it's efficient. It also shows a high level of respect to investors and business.

Special economic zone "Lipetsk". 22 factories, a very powerful industry.

Alexey Istomin, vice director of the "Lipetsk" zone: “The total sum of investment is roughly 200 billion. 2,250 jobs have already been created here.”

Together with foreign investment, a new production culture comes here.

Boris Lohman, an enterprise's CEO: “We're growing. Any foreigner should be interested in investing here It's useful for business and development.”

"Kvantorium" works nearby and for the future. Schoolchildren carry out innovative commercial projects.

“The ordering party is Lipetsk Oblast's Environmental Department, for Lipetsk Oblast's 65th anniversary. People will find out where to relax and see all the picturesque places in Lipetsk Oblast.”

On the interactive map of the region is the restored People’s Theater, which has unique acoustics. When the people of Lipetsk are asked how they're so sure that they're going to make it, they answer: “We can't sit still. We need to move, dance! That's Russian.”

Ever since the times of the tsar, Lipetsk has been famous for its healing waters. Today, the region claims to be one of the leading manufacturers in Russia. The mineral taste in the local springs was first tasted by Peter the Great. He came here to rest and later ordered a foundry be laid on the bank of the Voronezh River - the first place in the country in steelmaking. Today, the Novolipetsk Integrated Metallurgical Plant is a whole city for the production of steel. It's oldest blast furnace will be replaced with a new one this year. An ultra-complex modernization will expand production. The steel giant is investing 4.5 billion rubles ($70 million) into the modernization.

The Novolipetsk Integrated Metallurgical Plant is the last stop in our two-day tour of the region. If we were asked today how life is in Lipetsk Oblast, the answer would be one word: "Fire!"

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