Irkutsk
Ulan-Ude

Blagoveshchensk
Chita
Yakutsk

Birobidzhan
Vladivostok
Khabarovsk

Magadan
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

Anadyr
Petropavlovsk-
Kamchatsky
Moscow

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Fast plans and slow life

A series of essays on how the future in the Russian Far East is planned and implemented. Essay 1

Fast plans and slow life
Photo: TASS / Photobank of the Eastern Economic Forum

Leonid Blyakher

Professor, Head of the Department of Philosophy and Culturology of the Pacific State University, Doctor of Philosophy
Almost all plans for a large-scale transformation of society have some common feature. In what? The fact that none of them is being implemented. That is, something turns out, something is being built. Only as a result it turns out, like a textbook author: "We wanted the best, but it turned out, as always." This has happened more than once in the Russian Far East. Some resources are allocated, often not small resources. Some objects are being created (enterprises, factories, infrastructure). And then it turns out that they exist exactly as long as money is allocated from the sovereign's treasury for their existence. And no one really needs them by themselves. They either crumble or are redeveloped for local needs by local people.

So, at the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, deposits of precious metals were discovered in the region. It’s necessary. Subscribed to the possession of the Cabinet of His Imperial Majesty and began to master. They assigned serfs and convicts to factories and mines, and allocated money from the treasury. Only, strange to say, gold mining did not bring income to the treasury. Well, or almost never. And the serfs worked poorly, and the state money was plundered by all and sundry. They planted and filmed. And the theft did not stop. And here, unfortunately, serfdom was abolished. There was a lack of workers.

Desperate, they transferred the mines to private hands. And ... not overnight, but soon everything changed. The mines were not just profitable. The region bloomed in gold mining. Nikolaevsk, Kirby (now Polina Osipenko settlement) - gold mining centers - turned out to be the richest settlements of the region. Yes, and Blagoveshchensk with Chita enough. Not only gold miners-millionaires built themselves manors and palaces, writing out architects from Vienna and Paris, but people also had a simpler income. Houses were built, timber and stone were harvested, bricks were made. And just roads and squares, churches and commercial warehouses built. After all, all this was not for the rich, but for all. That is, they, of course, did for themselves. But on this earth. Earth and became more beautiful and beautiful. Cinemas opened, schools, hospitals. And, interestingly, stealing from the treasury is not something that has disappeared, but has become more modest. In itself, and at the same fellow countrymen to steal somehow it is not so convenient. It is not from the nameless treasury to drag the money.

Something similar is happening today in the Far East. About ten years ago came the order - the Far East people to love, cherish and cherish. For a decade, some, sometimes huge amounts of money have been flowing into the region, the first persons are arriving, a special ministry and a separate deputy prime minister for the Far East have been created. Projects and programs are being developed, hundreds of officials are working, dozens of experts write, who know exactly how to develop the Far East. As they say, everything is for you. Only the effects of giant investments are rather modest. That is, reports and reports are accepted, but people leave, and reports are accompanied by the next series of prosecuted criminal cases against high-ranking officials, postponement of entry dates and correction of indicators.

What is the problem? You can repeat the popular theses about traditional laziness and total corruption, about difficult climatic conditions and remoteness. Only this will be, if not self-deception, then only a small part of the truth. The problem is different. More precisely, a set of problems. I would like to talk about these problems and their solutions. Moreover, it is not at all in terms of "what the state should do." It did not take from me, and therefore - should not. And in terms of how events will most likely develop.

The first problem, which I would like to say in this essay, in order, rather than in importance, is that regional development plans are created outside the region and by the same bureaucratic structures that will later execute them. But these structures are not created for goal-setting, but only for execution. In the absence of a clear goal, their actions turn into the planning of future reports, rather than work "on the ground". Not at all because someone is working badly. But because that's how the mechanism works.

In theory, someone (parliament, president?) Sets a goal, and the ministry executes it. For any other, a qualitatively different level of freedom of performers is needed. But the goal is not set. As I tried to show in one of the previous essays, the word "development" is very vague. So, as a goal, it does not work. Since there is no goal, there are not completely understandable and multidirectional actions, more connected with the games inside the government than with the territory. In theory, regional officials are much closer to the "land." But today their influence is often limited to the allocation of budgetary funds and, again, the preparation of reports.

As a result, money flowed into the region, but not for the region, but for solving some, of course, important, but indirectly related to the Far East tasks. Since any attempt to redirect them to a more familiar or more necessary channel for the region was perceived as corruption, abuse of office, etc., the return on investment remained and remains more than weak. "Fast" plans for development and revival are being built ("Far Eastern hectare", "free zones", "TOPs"), and life flows past them, at best, not reacting in any way to fast projects, and at worst - being slowed down by them. Apparently, we need some other model of interaction between society and the state.

For today, everything is simple. There are flows of public funds that are controlled and distributed by the ministry, whose leadership happens in the region (but does not live here). The remnants of the flows are controlled by regional administrations, almost completely deprived of freedom of maneuver. The population of the same region is in the position of the same girl who, who "pays, he dances". But the situation is slow, but changing. And with it the management system will change. About it In the following essay.
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