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Far Eastern phenomenon
Yuri KrupnovChairman of the Development Movement
- Yuri Vasilievich, please describe the socio-economic situation in the Far East?
- The situation is critical, since four extremely unfavorable processes are superimposed on each other. The first is general deindustrialization, which has been going on for almost 3 decades throughout the Russian Federation, but has affected the Far East in the most severe form. The second is the situation in the Russian economy as a whole, where for the last quarter of a century there have been no powerful promoting development projects, which, again, first of all, affected the Far Eastern Federal District, since its development requires colossal investments - and we did not have either money or strategies. The third process is an absolutely new phenomenon - China and the countries of Southeast Asia, which 30 years ago were poorly economically developed, today they have practically turned our Far East into a raw material appendage. Roughly speaking, the situation in the 1950s, when the Soviet Union helped China to build factories, turned upside down exactly the opposite. Raw materials are chased from Russia to the East, and in the structure of our trade as a whole, not only in the Far East, 45% of machinery and equipment are imported from China. China - both in terms of human mass and economically, is such a factor with which it is not clear what to do.
And the fourth process - despite the active eastern policy of President Putin, the elites for the most part have lost their strategic understanding of the Far East and the need for its hyper-status. We need to raise the status of the Far East dozens of times so that the most talented graduates of the country's leading universities - Moscow State University, the Higher School of Economics, MAI, MIPT - want to go there. If we want the country to move forward, then one of the thirty young professionals should want to go to the Far East. In our country, the situation is the opposite, that is, young people today are fleeing from the Far East.
- You said that the Far East is not needed by the elites, but what about all the prescribed Strategies for the Development of the Far East?
- In your opinion, it turns out, Minskvokrazvitiya today does nothing?
- Minvostokrazvitiya at the moment the only one that is imbued with the situation. Young energetic team of the ministry can become an important element of strategy promotion. Another thing is that this new and effective strategy must first be developed. There are difficulties here, since there was practically no strategic planning for the last quarter of a century, there is no experience. Our Institute of Demography, Migration and Regional Development from the very beginning of the new team's activities suggested steps to standardize approaches to the rise of the Far East and the development of a strategy, but unfortunately, so far there is no real response to our initiative.
- Do you think that the Far East has a great chance of becoming Priority direction of the country's development?
- What kind of project development economy should there be, as you said?
- It is focused not on survival, but on the creation of the phenomenon of planetary development, the transformation of the region. That is, the project economy should directly follow from the first point of the strategy - about the priority status of the region. Because if we consider the Far East as a kind of distant depressive territory, which needs to be "thrown" from time to time, so that people there somehow live and do not die, only do themselves, then we will lose the Far East and Russia. In this sense, the project development economy should be based on a clear understanding of how to design and create a planetary development center in the Far Eastern Federal District.
The most striking indication of the lack of projects is the situation at the Vostochny cosmodrome: 100 billion rubles were thrown into concrete, into the ground, a launch pad was built (I am sure that the first Soyuz rocket will fly on December 31), a whole city - the science city of Tsiolkovsky - is starting under construction, by the end of the year there will be several buildings for 5-7 thousand people. However, ask any person who is responsible at least to some extent for this object, who will live there? Nobody knows. In addition, no one knows what the project of space activities in the Far East consists of. And there is money, and a lot.
“But the situation with the population is not so bad: last year, Chukotka became the first region in the Far East where there was a positive population growth trend.
- Chukotka is a region where over the past twenty-five years there has been the largest outflow of the population - from 150 to 50 thousand people. Three times! Of course, if a number of projects of the Soviet period, which were kept in an inviolable reserve, for example, for gold mining at the same Kupol deposit, slightly shifted industrial production, then the increase by one or two thousand people - 2-5%, you know, this is not serious.
- Well, how then to attract the population to the Far East?
- Nobody said why to involve him. We have a colossal underutilization of the Far Eastern population itself. We do not have a shortage of people, but of jobs and, accordingly, of qualified personnel. Svobodnensky region, where the cosmodrome is being built. What happened before the construction of the cosmodrome? 13 thousand residents of the Svobodnensky district and a thousand jobs. The problem is not that we will still get to these 13 thousand (according to the statements of even the President, there will be 40 thousand people in the city of Tsiolkovsky), but that in an absolutely labor-abundant region, people do not know where to work: a lot of people leave “for west".
Or, take ports. If Busan is a port that occupies a worthy place in the top five world ports, then there are no ports in the Russian Federation - these are “little things”. For the ports of Primorsky Krai, where a ton of coal costs one hundred dollars, the maximum dollar goes to the regional budget - this is not even visible. Who has a project in the country, even a two-page conceptual one, which port will we build so that it can be conditionally comparable at least with Busan? Nobody will tell you. But they will answer that we have continuous transport corridors, free ports, we will do it there, we will strengthen it here, we will have a new berth in Nakhodka, etc. But there is no project. But what is a port? The port is not a berth, not warehouses, not transport, and not even a customs regime, although this is extremely important. The owner of the port must own all the access roads to it and the base fleet, including the oceanic one. We practically do not have it. Even if we create a megaport, that is, we build a pier, we will again collect a penny. Because the main thing will be collected by those who have ships, ports - Korea, Singapore, China.
- How do you feel about the idea of giving out Far Easterners and everyone who wants to live in the Far East, on 1 hectares of land for farming and business development?
- The fact that Trutnev proposed such a measure to the President is an application for the decisive development of the Far East. But again - so far the measure is isolated, non-systemic, that is, torn from the future integrated strategy and, therefore, divorced from reality.
Prominent Russian economist and Far Eastern thinker Mikhail Ivanovich Ledenev put forward the idea of “Your own home on your own land”. This thesis should become the basis of the strategy.
If you, for example, live in the Far East for 10 years, I will credit you 80% of the cost of the house, and you will pay 20%. Moreover, there will be a high-tech house. This mechanism for allocating land for housing construction has already been spelled out in the draft federal law, and I put forward this idea while working at the embassy in Khabarovsk in February 2008, it is called the "State Housing Certificate of the Far East". But since then no one has bothered to at least discuss it.
What does a full-fledged "home" mean? That is, to a hectare and a house, we must add that you will no longer have hyper-tariffs for housing and communal services, which are in effect in the Far East, and there will be a powerful car that you can purchase on favorable terms. Better not only a jeep, but also a small airplane for 2-4 people. Indeed, in Alaska, where 750 thousand people live, there are 9 thousand private planes, that is, for every hundred people on the plane! And for the whole of Russia of 146 million people - only 3,5 thousand small ships! In order for the Far East to get on an equal footing with an Alaskan, the number of private planes in the Far East must be increased from less than 200 to 70 thousand, 350 times. Consequently, the rise of the Far East requires, conditionally, forced aviation, where the number of small aircraft will grow at least 100 times, and we will manufacture them in the Far East itself. This is realism and extreme practicality, and giving away just hectares of land is far from life fantasies, children's fairy tales.
Where do we get the money? We are building a candle tower in the Tsiolkovsky science city for a wretched provincial project. Hruschbami want to return the world leadership in space? But we are building for our space, for our best youth. And who will go there? The center of shipbuilding in the Big Stone - prices are Moscow, including housing, and the average salary is 17 thousand rubles. Let's develop Russian shipbuilding!
Plenipotentiary Trutnev has the right approach in principle. I remember how I was amazed by his verdict on another project about the Big Ussuriysky Island: “We don’t need any concept, we need a project that would fulfill the function of developing the whole country!”.
This is the essence of the correct methodological and managerial approach for the Far East. We do not need fictitious development projects, but each of them should give the country the phenomenon of development, move the whole country forward ...
- Please tell us your opinion about the TOSER Law, which was adopted at the end of December last year.
- With TOSER the same as with hectares. The idea of TACER will play out if it becomes one of the elements in the system complex of at least 10-15 other mechanisms.
And we have everything for this, but no projects, no sense of activity! They are building houses in the same Tsiolkovsky - it is not clear for whom, graduates of leading universities (MAI, MIPT) either go to work abroad, or go to the store as security guards.
In the Amur Region, as well as in the Jewish Autonomous Region, in the Khabarovsk and Primorsky Territories, up to one and a half million tons of soybeans are grown. Unique, non-genomodified soybeans, it is endemic here! It is desperately needed by our Siberia and central regions as a unique protein feed for livestock. One and a half million tons of soybeans per year is a "gold and foreign exchange" resource, you just need to look at it a little more economically and improve agricultural technologies. To increase the volume of soybean produced to at least 3 million tons. After all, the Chinese have twice the harvest than ours. And if we now give everything to China, then we will be imported genetically modified Argentine, Brazilian, American soybeans. To work properly in the Far East, you need to bring soybeans to Siberia, and grain from Siberia, which they don’t know where to put it, but in the Far Eastern Federal District it is not enough. A colossal project! Who will deal with it ?!
- Nevertheless, recently the vector of development of Russia is directed to the East. How do you think, how much is the Far East itself ready to meet these expectations?
- To justify the expectations or not - a question concerning both the government and every resident of the country. The development of the Far East is our national idea.
Once I was told that the Russians do not want to work and drink, and instead bring in the Chinese - they will work in two shifts and so on. But this is slander, this is insulting! Because what kind of Chinese is coming? Not from Shanghai, where his average salary is two to three times higher than in Russia. He comes from these remote provinces, lives in a dugout for one and a half dollars, and here, in the same fertile Amur region, receives 300-400 dollars. How can you compare our man, who was a combine operator in the same Amur village - the first guy in the village to make money on a Zhiguli? Now he drags out a miserable existence - and everyone here will drink. What else to do? The state simply threw him away. He still remembers being sent to Crimea on a trade union ticket! And then this man was placed in the state of this Chinese from the deep provinces. And they didn’t drop it because he stopped working and started drinking - no: he just woke up one day, the country collapsed - and, hello, the market came!
But Russia has invested enormous forces in the Russian Far East! And she always overcame any difficulties that seem insurmountable.
Today our Far East is the country's only savior. Because either we will make a real breakthrough in the Far East, build a new model of the economy here, and this model will work - it will generate profit and social wealth, just like a self-assembled tablecloth, or nothing will happen. We must finally come up with real development projects. We must answer ourselves anew - why do we need a cosmodrome, what kind of real port we will build, how we will design a new merchant and transport fleet, destroyed in 25 years, what new cities we must build for our most talented and heroic youth.
I have been promoting the New Eastern Policy for 13 years, I have more than 20 development projects for the region - but no one needs it. This is the problem.