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alternative reality

Yuri Avdeev about what should be included in the national program of development of the Far East

By 1 September 2019, the National Program for the Development of the Far East for the period up to 2025 should be prepared. We decided to ask ordinary Russians for the need of a complex macro-region, where the outflow of the population has not stopped for more than a quarter of a century. Offers can be left on a special site. Leading Researcher at the Pacific Institute of Geography, Far East Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, Ph.D. Yuri Avdeev told EastRussia which, in his opinion, should be a national program.

alternative reality


- In December last year, the Far East received a new capital - Vladivostok instead of Khabarovsk. And the governor of the Khabarovsk Territory said that he would ask for the regional center the status of a city of federal significance. How does this meet the objectives of the macro-region development?

- The proposal of Sergei Furgal was a logical continuation of the decision to transfer the Far Eastern capital, which was not worth doing at all. Khabarovsk is the center of coordination and coordination of the activities of the regions of the Far Eastern Federal District - this has happened historically and geographically. And Vladivostok, becoming “open” in 1991, turned into a platform for international communications, connecting Russia, the countries of Europe with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region. The APEC summit was held here, the Eastern Economic Forum is held annually. That is, Khabarovsk is the capital of the Far East, and Vladivostok is Pacific Russia. Both tasks are complex, and for the implementation of each need maximum effort.

Based on this, and it was necessary to act. But the decision to transfer the capital of the FEFD brought the dispute between the two cities to a new plane, which gives rise to unnecessary confrontation. And our cities need to cooperate!

On their basis, in the east of the country, a global city should be created, and this task should be reflected in the National Program for the Development of the Far East. Look, next to us, multimillion-dollar cities in northeastern China, South Korea and Japan have grown before our eyes.

From this point of view, the question of the formation of the Vladivostok agglomeration is fundamentally different. In its present boundaries, with vaguely formulated tasks, it can never give impetus to the dynamic development of the Far East. With agglomeration links, it is necessary to cover the entire south of Primorsky Territory, to provide for the coming 10 years all the preferences provided by laws on TORs, SST, to ensure the growth of the social infrastructure infrastructure of this territory and the infrastructure of future ports in the shortest possible time. This will show the "seriousness of intent" to the local population, attract investors and new workers.

- And how sensible is the idea of ​​a merger of Primorsky Krai and Sakhalin Oblast?

- Territorial transformations are necessary, but not in this case. The Far East occupies a third of the territory of the whole of Russia, but even decision makers do not always understand that the railway is not everywhere, and the speed of the transported goods is often no more than that of a bicycle. Four time zones, a territory comparable to mainland Australia! Organizing livelihoods in this space with a small population is not easy at all, therefore the issue of spatial organization should take a separate place in the National Program.

What do we see now? The most prominent example of the discrepancy between the territorial organization and the control mechanism is the Chukotka Autonomous Region. Its territory is commensurate with the Volga Federal District, which includes 14 subjects of the federation, four million cities. The population of the whole Chukotka, where up to 1991 of the year lived 162 thousands of people, less than 50 thousands.

Khabarovsk region. On a territory comparable to the same VFD, 1,3 million people live, of which 65% lives in two cities: Khabarovsk and Komsomolsk-on-Amur. More than half of the region - 426,6 thousand square meters. km, which is slightly less than the Southern Federal District with 8 subjects and 16 million people, occupy the 3 northern region, where 10,5 thousand people were lost. One third of them live in the village of Okhotsk, which was the first city on the Pacific coast and a century and a half was the control center of space right up to Alaska and California. By the way, this year marks the 380 years of Russia's access to the Pacific Ocean, but the significant date remains unnoticed, perhaps because there is more than 1600 km from Khabarovsk to Okhotsk and no rail links.

When, under what conditions it will be possible to provide the inhabitants of these territories with living conditions equal to other federal districts and subjects of the federation? The practical search for answers continues, but what is absolutely clear is that the statuses of the SST and TOR will not give them a new impulse of development.

Once Chukotka was part of the Magadan region, and it was appropriate. According to the climatic conditions, economic specialization and low population density, the north of the Khabarovsk Territory is close to them - Ayano-Maysky and Okhotsk districts. All together this is 1,5 mln. km with a population of 200 thousand people. Material compensation for living in the regions of the Far North is provided by law, but how effectively do the general principles of budgeting of the subjects of the federation work, and are there enough funds coming from the federal budget to develop the social infrastructure of this territory? Not. And within the same region issues would be resolved easier.

10 years ago, an idea appeared - to provide the Amur Region with access to the sea, transferring to it the Tuguro-Chumikansky district of the Khabarovsk Territory. This opens up the prospect of building a tidal station in the area of ​​the Shantar Islands using the experience of hydro builders from the Amur Region. Energy for still inaccessible areas will eventually turn the north-east of Russia into a “second Ural”.

During the “parade of sovereignties”, the Jewish Autonomous Region became a subject of the federation, but this “independence” did not bring prosperity to it either economically or socially. Perhaps if she re-enters the Khabarovsk Territory, she will have a chance.


- What other issues need to be considered when developing a national program?

- Besides the search for optimal forms of spatial organization, there are at least two more: to determine the strategic directions for the development of the macroregion and the sources of population growth.

We need a global project. Yes, the slogan "The Far East as a priority for the whole XXI century" is inspiring, but what, the country will simply "feed" the declining population? Or a territory surrounded by “Asian tigers” could become a driver for Russia's socio-economic development? The question is not idle, because someone sees the transit of raw materials as a priority, someone, due to the lack of ideas, agrees to any projects, the main thing is to report how many trillions are attracted, jobs created. But by selling primary resources, we become poorer, and out of private strategies there will never be a common one. The declaration of a higher standard of living as a priority task does not work, people continue to run.

Therefore, for the beginning, the National Program should answer the question: what is Russia's east for Russia? Source of natural resources? Then we need new mines, GOKs, railways, pipelines, ports in order to export more and more abroad. And the fewer the people, the more efficient the economy.

If it is aimed at integration integration in the Asia-Pacific region, in which Russia offers a solution to topical and large-scale tasks that are significant for many countries, then the priorities should correspond to them. The growth of export-import operations, of course, is important, but resources in exchange for electronics, technology and household goods will never provide a decent standard of living for everyone. The alternative is cooperation, cooperation, joint projects, in the results of which many countries are interested.

- Where to look for points of intersection of mutual interests?

- So far there are few such spheres: space and aviation, the development of the oceans, the interaction of national cultures. Russia has a lot of experience and authority, and it can rightfully take a leadership position in integration processes.

A long-term strategy can be built up on priority sectors of economic development, where the sequence of project implementation is determined. In this case, investors will understand the intentions and final results of the national program.


- A natural question arises - at the expense of what human capital will this very breakthrough be implemented?

- Rosstat's forecasts are disappointing, it is not necessary to expect population growth here until 2035. The attempt of a “cavalry assault” failed: the developers of the Concept of Demographic Policy before 2025 finally realized that it was not realistic to return the former number of 8 million people to this, so they planned to stop the outflow and increase 300 thousand, increase population up to 6,5 million. That was the number in 1975 year. But this modest task also risks remaining unsolved.

Therefore, the formation of an active demographic policy in the National Program is the most important section. Before understanding, at the expense of whom the influx of the population can be provided, it is necessary to clarify why people leave here. There are several reasons, and they have not changed for many years: the general high cost of living with low incomes, low levels of education, health care, social infrastructure, which in turn is due to the distraction of the population in a vast territory ...

Therefore, firstly, it is necessary that the people living here do not leave their home, and the most important argument should be the answer to the question: what will I lose if I leave? It is necessary to legislate in the document "Passport of the Far East", which will be spelled out benefits for everyone living in the DFO.

Of course, the development of the National Program for the Development of the Far East needs professional discussion in many areas, in-depth study of all the pros and cons, and we also need the political will to implement all our plans.

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