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The dilemma of "TORA or money"

Should Transbaikal be guided to the Far East

On the recently held Direct Line, Nikolai Govorin, a State Duma deputy from the Trans-Baikal Territory, voiced a question to Vladimir Putin, which has been very exciting for the region for more than a year - about its inclusion in the TOP system of the Far East. To which the head of state replied that the region needs money, not an opportunity to get there.

The dilemma of "TORA or money"
“You don't need to be included in this system, you need money,” Interfax quotes the head of state. Vladimir Putin noted that money for the development of the Far East has already been allocated between the Far Eastern regions. “Nevertheless, this does not mean that we need to forget the problems of the Trans-Baikal Territory - here I agree with you,” he said.

As the EastRussia correspondent was told at the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia, at present, from the Trans-Baikal Territory, the department has really received an application to create a TOP in the monotown of Krasnokamensk. However, its approval has been postponed until the team of managers of single-industry towns formed in those of them where the creation of a TOP is proposed, and until they successfully defend the project for the integrated development of a single-industry town, developed as a result of the training, have been trained in the region.

The expectations from the ASEZ regime in the region are significant. So, according to the Acting Deputy Prime Minister of the Trans-Baikal Territory Government - Minister of Economic Development of the Region Sergey Novichenko, the provision of the TOP regime is one of the fundamental conditions for the development of small and medium-sized businesses in the city of Krasnokamensk. “The region expects that, thanks to the TOP regime, not only local entrepreneurs will reach Krasnokamensk, but also from other regions,” Sergei Novichenko said.

Probably, these expectations are the higher, the greater the success of the TOP among the neighbors in the Far East - and we recall, according to the statement of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East, the total volume of investments attracted through new development mechanisms, including the TOP, has already exceeded 1 trillion rubles. In the Far East, there are 12 TORs, and their creation was not tied to the training of management teams - on the contrary, in the public rhetoric of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East, it was repeatedly noted that the chosen path is a new one, there are no experienced managers in the country, it is required literally in manual mode to respond the needs of investors.

It should be noted that the discussion on how to develop Transbaikalia has been going on for a long time. On the one hand, the region falls under the State Program for the Development of the Far East and the Baikal Region, and falls under the jurisdiction of the government commission for the development of the Far East and the Baikal Region, chaired by Dmitry Medvedev. Even the full name of the Far East Development Fund actually has the already forgotten ending “and the Baikal region”. At the same time, the Irkutsk Region, Transbaikalia and Buryatia, being subjects of the Siberian, and not the Far Eastern Federal District, do not fall under the jurisdiction of Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev, and under the authority of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East. The result is an obvious management vacuum.

“The Trans-Baikal Territory, like other Russian regions, today hopes that as a result of the receipt of the TOP status by part of its territory, the federal budget funds will finally come to it in a tangible amount. That is, they perceive their presence in the TOP system only as the most possible way to receive additional financial assistance from the state in meeting their basic needs. Albeit in small volumes - knowing that the main investments that will appear in the region due to the functioning of the TOP will go to the development of business projects, ”said Yuri Krupnov, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Institute of Demography, Migration and Regional Development, a non-profit organization.

He added that the concern of the authorities of the Trans-Baikal Territory that now all the efforts of the state are focused on the development of the Far East, while the problems of the region continue to stagnate, are groundless. “The region is clearly exaggerating the dynamism of the modern development of the Far Eastern regions,” says Mr. Krupnov. - Since the fact that in the Far East there is a vigorous activity now is an illusion well created by the state. Including actively developing projects of its coastal regions. Unlike other Far Eastern regions, they do have developing projects, but their development is not proceeding at a rapid pace. "

According to Mr. Krupnov, the main distinguishing problem of the Trans-Baikal Territory today is its extremely undeveloped infrastructure. “With an undeveloped infrastructure, all industrial projects developed for implementation in the Trans-Baikal Territory and Buryatia will continue to hang in the air. And not only them - without large-scale investments in infrastructure in these two regions, no branches of the economy will develop. But it should also be noted here that for the development of infrastructure in these regions, it is first of all necessary to develop an infrastructure plan that reflects all the multiplier effects from the creation of infrastructure facilities in them, and not to invest. As such, there is no problem in finding funds for the development of infrastructure in the regions, including in the Trans-Baikal Territory, neither before, in the Soviet Union, nor now, in Russia. Since investments in infrastructure are more than reimbursed, ”said Yuri Krupnov.

According to him, in general, the whole Transbaikalia - the Trans-Baikal Territory and Buryatia - is not a question of financing. For him, the state has not found the idea of ​​"raising" its regions. And all the strategies and programs that have been developed for these macroregions since the collapse of the Soviet Union are abstract. Despite the existence of these documents, it is still unclear in what light the federal center perceives and from what angle it looks at both Transbaikalia and the Far East. How unclear and what position the Siberian Federal District takes with respect to Transbaikalia.

“Without the creation of a fundamental documentation base for the development of Transbaikalia and the Far East, the functioning of the TOP model in them is meaningless. Since certain areas, within which certain conditions have been created for breakthrough development, such as, for example, the TOP, do not bring much result either to the regions, or even more so to the macroregions, ”concluded Yuri Krupnov.

According to Nikolai Mezhevich, chief researcher at the Institute of Regional Economy Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, “any special problems of their own are not typical for the Zabaikalsky Krai. It has common problems with other Russian regions. And the root of the main problems of Russia's regions today is the lack of a well-thought-out concept of state regional policy in the country. Only the definition of such a concept and then its subsequent reinforcement with economic measures will help the regions in solving their key problems. In turn, within the framework of defining the concept of regional policy in Russia, it is necessary to highlight federal, district and regional priorities. And inside each Russian subject there are so-called breakthrough development points ”.

Mr. Mezhevich noted that the great delusion of the authorities of the Trans-Baikal Territory is the belief that the affairs of the region will quickly go uphill in the event of investments in its economy following the arrival of new producers on its territory, as well as receiving financial support from the state. The experience of foreign countries shows that the allocation of funds to one or another territorial unit does not solve its problems by itself. Funds should be allocated to the territory in parallel with the implementation of a system of measures that makes it possible to reproduce them in the future. That is, investments in the territory should be carried out on the basis of a systematic document aimed at its development.

“But if, nevertheless, we talk about the provision of financial state support to the Trans-Baikal Territory, then it seems most expedient to extend the TOP model to part of its territory and help the development of some priority sectors for the state in the region, for example, the agro-industrial complex,” Nikolai Mezhevich noted.
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