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Far Eastern governor
Artem LukinAssociate Professor, Department of International Relations, Eastern Institute - School of Regional and International Studies, FEFU, PhD in Political Science
Formally being a federation, Russia remains an empire in many ways. And one of the confirmation of this is the revival of the practice of governorship. In fact, the “governor of the tsar” in the Caucasus is the presidential envoy and deputy prime minister Alexander Khloponin. And recently, a viceroyalty has appeared in the Far East, which in the rank of plenipotentiary and deputy prime minister in August last year was headed by Yuri Trutnev.
The tasks of the two "governors" are different. The North Caucasus is perhaps the most unfavorable and explosive region in Russia. Khloponin should stabilize it. It seems that no one dreams of turning the Caucasus into the locomotive of economic development. Trutnev is also charged with the mission to transform the Far East from Russia's backyard into its Pacific façade, to turn the region into the main "sail", through which the national economy will "catch the wind" of Asian dynamism. According to Trutnev himself, it is no small matter that, learning from the experience of the most successful countries of the Asia-Pacific region, "create and use advanced models of development in the Far East" and then "replicate them on other territories of the country."
There were other Far Eastern governors between Trutnev and Muravyov. And it cannot be said that everyone had an enviable fate. Here is Admiral Yevgeny Alekseev (1903-05), whose Far Eastern career was ingloriously ended by the lost war with Japan. We can also recall Yan Gamarnik, who in the 1920s rather successfully led the Far Eastern Territory and continued to actively supervise the Far East in the 1930s, already in the People's Commissariat of Defense. In 1937 Gamarnik shot himself to avoid imminent arrest ...
The epochal task facing Trutnev is complicated by the lack of money. Fat years for the Russian economy are over. That golden rain of public investment that has spilled into the Far East, especially Primorye, in recent years, will not happen again. It is necessary to attract money from private investors, including foreign investors, and this is very difficult, especially in the Far East, where normal Russian infrastructure, such as inefficient bureaucracy and corruption, is added to the usual Russian problems. In addition, Trutnev will have to win from other federal ministries and departments the necessary powers, which, of course, they are not in a hurry to give. By the way, the vagueness and ambiguity of the administrative prerogatives of the "deputy" was characteristic even in tsarist times, when his authority was determined not by formal documents, but by ties at a high political level and, above all, by the degree of access to the sovereign. Apparently, Trutnev has such access and he can really concentrate in his hands the amount of power in the Far East, unprecedented since the days of Admiral Alexeyev. If Trutnev succeeds - and you really want to believe in it - then maybe another Russian capital will be in Vladivostok.