Irkutsk
Ulan-Ude

Blagoveshchensk
Chita
Yakutsk

Birobidzhan
Vladivostok
Khabarovsk

Magadan
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

Anadyr
Petropavlovsk-
Kamchatsky
Moscow

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Please refer to the text in Russian as a source.

The Far East: what is it? Far Eastern: who is this?

A series of essays on how, why and for whom to develop the Far East. Essay 1

The Far East: what is it? Far Eastern: who is this?
Photo: shutterstock.com

Leonid Blyakher

Professor, Head of the Department of Philosophy and Culturology of the Pacific State University, Doctor of Philosophy
On the need for the development of the Far East did not speak only lazy. This region is related to national priorities, a special ministry for development of it has been created for it, conferences, meetings, forums and meetings are being held on the topic of how this Far East itself is better, deeper and more fully developed. The number of developers is growing. Here a similar growth of something (well, except for the number of people leaving or intending to do this) is not observed. Here it comes to mind that, apparently, there is some discrepancy in the very formulation of the question. What is it?

First, in ... the Far East. Despite the fact that this concept in relation to Russian lands is already more than a hundred years old (before that the term referred to China, Japan, and sometimes India), the Russian Far East remains only a political and administrative, but not an economic and cultural entity. It is too big and different for that. Yet 36% of the country's territory. Too long: from the Arctic with permafrost to Primorye with ripening watermelons and grapes.

The zones along the Amur and the Trans-Siberian with a relatively high population density quite comparable to the average for Russia are quite distinct. More than three million people live on the square that is not giant, but comparable to the trans-Ural (European) subjects of the federation. It is here that the big cities, the industry developed on the Far Eastern scale, the social sphere, fertile lands, which, in terms of yield, already competed with the Kuban at the beginning of the 20 century. Why is this blessed land not visible?

Everything is simple. The population is calculated by the constituent entities of the federation, each of which, in addition to the inhabited lands, includes not particularly inhabited ones. For example, in addition to the fully populated south and center of the Khabarovsk Territory, half of the territory is occupied by almost uninhabited ones: Okhotsk, Tuguro-Chumikansky and Ayano-Maisky districts. This entire territory is home to about 10 thousand people. The situation is similar in other southern regions of the Far Eastern Federal District.

It is clear that the general development program, even for the southern subjects of the federation, is built with difficulty. They are different. But their difference from other regions, administratively included in the Far Eastern Federal District, is even more significant. There is a comfortable and habitable southern Primorye, there are Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Vanino and SovGavan - areas with relatively developed transport and established international connections. A different picture in the Northern Primorye. Despite quite serious efforts, in any case, stormy discussions, prospects for the development of the Northern Sea Route, which should radically improve the logistics capabilities of the northern part of the coastal strip, while the territory remains isolated enough, living unique fish stocks, as a hundred years ago.

And a completely different picture is presented by the gigantic spaces of Yakutia, Magadan Oblast, Chukotka - they are also very different: from industrial regions to the traditional subarctic economy. Yes, there are unique natural treasures, incredible reserves of everything and everything: from diamonds to uranium and gold. But people, even in these territories, do not live where there is wealth, but where there are some comfortable living conditions. Except for those who prefer to live the way their ancestors lived. But these residents are not at all eager to find jobs in extremely necessary and promising enterprises for the development of mineral resources.

But if the problem was only this, everything would not be so sad. It is clear that the program of the Far Eastern hectare in the Magadan region or in the north of Yakutia has a very limited sense, but after all, it is possible to introduce corrections, to make the program not for the Far East, but for its various parts, based on their needs and characteristics.

For example, it is unexpected to recall that our country is called the Russian Federation, not because the word is beautiful, but because the living conditions in the country are very different - in terms of climate, food preferences, everyday habits and features of speech. Hence, there must be special features in both legal regulation and economic life. For example, do not fight the regional deputies over the law on the Far East, but consolidate the right for the subjects of the federation, and maybe for the regions, to create legal norms more appropriate to the conditions of life in these places.

But this is the most obvious part of the conditions of the problem, which is easier to take into account than others. Not easy, but easier. What is the problem? People living in the region (and people still live here) have become accustomed to a certain type of activity, a certain type of interaction with the authorities. At some point in the beautiful far away intelligent and responsible citizens decided that this activity does not meet modern ideas about high standards of anything. Far Easterners live and work, as seen from the outside, not efficiently, creatively and in a modern way. It is necessary to help.

Actually, it was the beginning of all the development programs of the region over the past three hundred years. And now we translate this into the language of the Far East. People are thrown out of the comfort zone into an incomprehensible and not very friendly world, created or created in complete distraction from the fact that they are. After this, developers start to be genuinely surprised at the mass departure of residents from the region, often reminiscent of flight. And what are they? Apparently, backward.

Once, in the very recent 90s, they tried to take the population out of such "backward" areas. Indeed, why are they suffering there? Let them live in big cities or suburbs. Someone left. But a significant part stubbornly held on to their unpromising villages. This is where the second problem is rooted: how to develop the Far East without destroying the Far East, without expelling them de facto from the land they have inhabited and warmed? Is it possible to reconcile the progressional intention of the center and the desires of the bulk of the region's inhabitants, who, by the way, simply have no one to replace? I think yes. And about this my The following essay.
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