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Khabarovsk Territory: results - 2015, trends - 2016

East Russia continues the cycle of analytical publications devoted to the results of the past year and the analysis of the situation in the current year in the socio-economic and political spheres of life in the regions of the Far East and Eastern Siberia

The development of events in the Khabarovsk Territory last year was characterized by a sharp complication of the financial and economic situation that made the capital region of the Far East one of the worst examples not only for the macroregion, but for the whole of Russia.

Khabarovsk Territory: results - 2015, trends - 2016

Rostislav Turovsky

Doctor of Political Sciences, Professor of HSE, Scientific Editor East Russia
If in the traditionally competing with the Khabarovsk Territory of Primorsky the available resources and support of the center allowed at least to maintain the status quo, the Khabarovsk Territory proved to be extremely vulnerable to crisis processes and, in fact, could not oppose them in the operational response mode. The center, apparently, does not fully understand the scale and systemic nature of Khabarovsk Krai's problems, cutting financial assistance to it, but at the same time it is working to create points of growth in the region. So far, however, this work has not led to tangible practical results.

From the point of view of the abundance of decisions made regarding the Khabarovsk Territory, it is difficult to recognize the region as deprived of attention. One of the most important events of the end of last year and the trend developing now was the definition of Komsomolsk-on-Amur as one of the key growth points of the entire Far East.

This position was outlined in the presidential address, as Vladivostok was especially highlighted in the message last year, where the creation of a free port subsequently began. The "hit" of Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the text of the presidential message is the undoubted success of the regional authorities. The interest of the governor Vyacheslav Shport is all the more obvious, since he is a native of this city.

Another potential beneficiary of the new trend is the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), which is controlled by the key enterprise of the city - Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant (KnAAZ). The Governor maintains a longstanding relationship with KnAAA, since his entire work biography is connected with this plant.

The prerequisites for combining the efforts of the governor and the UAC and promoting the interests of Komsomolsk-on-Amur are indeed very serious (in summer the governor and the UAC signed an agreement on cooperation). As a result, in accordance with presidential instructions of the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia, a plan for the social and economic development of this city was prepared. About any special and unique mode, like a free port, there is no question.

But it is worth recalling that last year a priority development area was created in the city, one of two in the Khabarovsk Territory. Therefore, a new development mechanism in the city is already in use. The government plan involves federal investment in urban infrastructure. Governor Vyacheslav Shport has already managed to announce ambitious plans, including even the construction of a high-speed railway from Khabarovsk to Komsomolsk-on-Amur.

Strengthening the positions of Komsomolsk-on-Amur creates an interesting intrigue in the relationship between this city and Khabarovsk. If previously Khabarovsk has always been considered the unconditional political and financial and economic center of the region, now Komsomolsk seems to be trying to challenge it and strengthen its positions in the second capital of the Khabarovsk Territory. However, this status can be objectively justified not only by the fact that Komsomolsk-on-Amur is the second most populated city and obviously outstripping all other cities of the Khabarovsk Territory, but also by the fact that one of the largest industrial enterprises of the whole region, KnAAZ, is located in this city.


The interests of both key centers of the Khabarovsk Territory, however, were met when making decisions on the creation of TOP in the past year. In the Khabarovsk Territory, there were two TOPs - Khabarovsk and Komsomolsk, which fully corresponds to the economic and demographic structure of the region. Moreover, all decisions taken by the government to create growth points in the region directly corresponded to the current realities. So, two priority investment projects, approved by the federal authorities in the Khabarovsk Territory, are connected with its "raw" and "transport" parts. In the first case, it is a project for the development of coal mining and enrichment in the BAM zone (the project of JSC "Urgalugol", which is part of the leading coal company of SUEK). In the second - on the creation of a coal terminal in Vanino.

Attention is also drawn to the fact that the growth points in the Khabarovsk Territory are created in the interests, mainly, of large businesses, as a rule, already working in the region. The interests of the structures of the UAC and its suppliers are connected with the Komsomolsk TOR (one of the anchor investors of this TOR is the Energia GC cooperating with the UAC). "Coal" projects, claiming for state co-financing, are implemented by politically influential capital FIGs. The project in Vanino is controlled by the structures of Gennady Timchenko and claims almost 3,3 billion rubles from the budget (through Vanino it is supposed to export coal mined in Yakutia by the company Kolmar, in which Gennady Timchenko until recently was the main owner).

SUEK expects to build at the expense of the state automobile bridges, railway access roads and a power transmission line in the area of ​​its coal deposits (for this it is allocated more than one and a half billion rubles). In addition, one of the leaders of the timber industry of the Far East, RFP Group, is among the investors of the Komsomolsk TOPs, while the structures of the Khabarovsk airport, which is a private company, are represented in the Khabarovsk TOR.

On this basis, it can be concluded that while the development institutions and points of growth created in the region are more aimed at maintaining afloat or ensuring the growth of the existing regional economy. Any plans to diversify it and create fundamentally new productions are not visible. Of the existing problem industries, it is likely that the crisis in shipbuilding will not be overcome. Shipbuilding enterprises were seen as possible beneficiaries of the creation of TOP, but no decisions were made on this matter.

The resources of Khabarovsk, as not just a political, but also a scientific, innovative center of the Far East, have not yet been used. Although this potential exists and can be fully realized, in particular, at the sites of the TOR "Khabarovsk", such as the Avangard industrial park and the industrial zone near the village of Rakitnoye. In fact, only the Khabarovsk Territory has the necessary human resources in the Far East capable of producing innovative development. Without its implementation, Khabarovsk risks finally giving up to the position of Vladivostok, which uses the resource of its geographic location. In the meantime, projects conceived in the Khabarovsk Territory seem to be too predictable, sustained in the standard logic of the reproduction of the status quo.

Somewhat just not the most standard project was lost - the territory of Russian-Chinese cooperation on the once controversial Amur Island Big Ussuriysky near Khabarovsk. There were plans to create a tourist and recreational zone, which were discussed at the level of the federal government. But most recently, a similar project of the “Golden Mile” in the Amur Region began to appear in the first positions, while no progress was seen in the Big Ussuriisky.

However, even on already designated industrial and infrastructure projects, one cannot speak of their rapid progress. Khabarovsk TORA faced problems in building relations with their main residents. In Komsomolsk-on-Amur, it has not yet been possible to start the work of Energia Group of Companies, which is seen as the key company of the corresponding TOP. Information activity of the company occurred last summer, after which, obviously, the stage of searching and confirming financing began.

In Khabarovsk, the solution of the issues with the owners of the airport was delayed, the modernization of which should become one of the most important investment projects in the region. In the spring, the Development Corporation of the Far East reportedly signed a corresponding agreement with the airport structures, however, the project has not yet passed to the practical phase.

The very old question of the functioning of the port special economic zone in Sovetskaya Gavan, which still remains in limbo, was not solved. Creation of a TOP or free port there remains only at the level of assumptions, the infrastructure and production potential of the main port complex of the Khabarovsk Territory, the agglomeration of Soviet Harbor and Vanino, is underutilized. In addition, the likelihood of a reduction in the investment program of Russian Railways and its support by the state after the change of management of this company has grown.

In this regard, the modernization of the "Khabarovsk" part of the Baikal-Amur Mainline may also not receive sufficient funding (while currently there is almost no such financing under the state program for social and economic development of the Far East and the Baikal region). Thus, according to the results of the previous year, not a single new or updated old project, by and large, in the Khabarovsk Territory did not work. All drowned in bureaucratic reconciliation and hardware contradictions.

Prospects for the raw materials economy - reserves of growth

Positive shifts began to occur in the meantime on a few less significant for the edge directions. Thus, in the extraction of minerals, the situation with the production of tin was revived. The company "Rusolovo" began to promote the receipt of state support for the construction of GOK at the Pravourmiyskoye deposit in the Verkhnebureinsky district. This company seeks to dislodge financing for the construction of power lines and roads. The agreement with it was signed, in particular, by the Khabarovsk Krai authorities at the Eastern Economic Forum. But funding, of course, is expected from federal funds.

Positive trends have also been noted in the forestry industry, where RFP Group is strengthening its position, one of the participants in the TOP in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. In addition, the state support is being sought by the Asia Forest company, which intends to build a woodworking plant (it also refers to the road and power lines). The timber industry of the Far East has repeatedly been criticized, including from Yury Trutnev in connection with his low efficiency and significant criminalization. Perhaps, the Khabarovsk Territory is able to become the main point of growth of the forest branch of the Far Eastern Federal District, the potential of which, in fact, has not been realized.

On the contrary, last year the fishing industry of the Khabarovsk Territory received great praise from the regional authorities, demonstrating good growth, ahead of many other regions of the Far East. It is possible that in the fish industry of the Khabarovsk Territory there is also still untapped potential, given that the region does not have the traditional “fish” specialization and is inferior to the neighbors.

However, in this case, the Khabarovsk Territory should be much more actively integrated into the plans for reforming the fishing industry currently under discussion and "break through" the development in this capacity of its "seaside cluster" around the same Soviet Harbor. It will be difficult to overcome the resistance of lobbyists from Primorsky Krai, Sakhalin and Kamchatka. But in any case, if we are talking about the raw material economy of the Khabarovsk Territory, the forestry and fishing industry, where there are still reserves of growth, could take a more significant place in the projects being developed now.

When financial independence is not a joy

Actual processes in the financial and economic sphere in the Khabarovsk Territory leave much to be desired. From a financial point of view 2015-th The year was frankly bad. Revenues of the regional consolidated budget fell by 7,6% (worse was only in the Jewish Autonomous Region), and this was due to a sharp reduction in federal financial assistance.

As a result, the revenues of the Khabarovsk Territory (almost 91 billion rubles) again fell behind the incomes of Primorye (almost 108 billions). The paradox was that with one hand the federal government made decisions about the creation of growth points in the Khabarovsk Territory, and the other cut its financing. As a result, own revenues in the Khabarovsk Territory amounted to 82% of all revenues (which is higher than in all other DFO regions receiving subsidies), but hardly in Khabarovsk they were happy about such financial independence: the region is not able to become a donor and does not strive for this .

The region retained its own revenues (growth of almost 1%), while federal transfers fell by 30,8%. Among the subsidized regions of the Far Eastern Federal District (ie, excluding Sakhalin), this was the worst index of decline. The decline was due to subsidies, the distribution of which depends most on the success of regional lobbying (a reduction of 26,8%) and subsidies (a reduction of 26,1%).

But with regard to subsidies, their principal form - subsidies for leveling the budget provision - the situation has not changed much (reduction by 2%). Lost the edge at the expense of other subsidies, which, incidentally, depend on the effectiveness of relations between the region and the center.

With his own income, Khabarovsk Krai, too, was not all right. They, as already mentioned, remained at the same level. At the same time, it is noteworthy that the income from income tax (by 7,1%) decreased, which indicates financial problems at large enterprises of the region.

Revenues from another major tax - income tax also fell, but not so noticeably (by 2%). It was possible to preserve the status quo by increasing other revenues from the business - from corporate property tax, taxes on comprehensive income, etc.

A growing problem is the debt obligations of the Khabarovsk Krai, which itself can not cope with expenditure policy on its own, and receives less from the center. By the beginning of 2016, the state debt of the Khabarovsk Territory exceeded 30 billion rubles, and this is the second indicator in the Far Eastern Federal District after Yakutia. During the year, the national debt grew by 32,8%. This happened at the expense of budgetary credits (more than three times more than in Primorye), while with the banks the region gradually paid (reduction of debt by 5,5%).

In terms of budget loans (13,9 billion rubles), the Khabarovsk Territory is now the leader in the Far Eastern Federal District, in terms of bank loans it is in second place. Interestingly, the municipalities' debt, on the contrary, increased due to the “banking” component (growth in 1,9 times, first place in terms of growth not only in the DFO, but in Russia as a whole), but in budget loans decreased (by 6%). But in general, municipal debt in the Khabarovsk Territory grew by 14,7% (it is almost 3,4 billion rubles, this is the second indicator in the FEFD after Primorye).

The ratio of the amount of the state and municipal debt of the Khabarovsk Territory to its own revenues grew and approached the dangerous line, amounting to 45,8%, almost half. This is by no means the worst indicator in the Far Eastern Federal District, but it can not but worry about such a large region. At the same time, as expected, the debt servicing costs are growing, amounting to 2% in the expenditure part of the budget (the growth of these expenses for the year was 1,9).

In a difficult financial situation, the Khabarovsk Territory is forced to cut costs (for the year by 10,1%), and the regional budget still remains scarce. In fact, the deficit to the Khabarovsk Territory now covers the center with its loans. Spent in the province last year over 102 billion rubles, much more than they received. As a result of 2015, the budget deficit amounted to almost 11%, which, of course, indicates an imbalance in the regional budget and an acute shortage of funds.

Conditionally the "social" model

Under tight budgetary constraints, the authorities of the Khabarovsk Territory were forced to restructure their financial policies in the direction of the conditionally “social” model, but they could not fully retain the social situation. In the process of budget savings, the main rate was made to reduce the cost of housing and utilities and road facilities. The first were cut by a third, the second - by a quarter.

In addition, the Khabarovsk Territory, in comparison with a number of other DFO regions, spends very little on agriculture and fisheries: they have been reduced by more than 15%, and at the same time they constitute only 1% of all budget expenditures. Under this article, the region spends even less than Kamchatka, and a little more than Chukotka, and the corresponding percentage in the cost structure is minimal in the DFO.

The economy, in theory, should not have affected budgetary salaries, for the level of which the region, moreover, reports to the federal center. The rate, as in most regions, was made on the health care sector (growth of expenses by 5,6%). However, in the sphere of education, expenses were reduced (by 5,5%). In addition, the region began to save more on the costs associated with the functioning of state and municipal authorities (reduction by 8,3%).

Although it is interesting that the financing of the activities of the governor and the heads of municipal administrations directly increased by 3,1%. The Khabarovsk Territory is still a region where bureaucracy costs are high (9,2% of all expenses, in the DFO a higher percentage is only in the Jewish Autonomous Region, which last year was connected with the conduct of gubernatorial elections there; in Russia, the region is surely among the top five) .

In terms of the volume of funds spent on the item "national issues", the Khabarovsk Territory just surpasses its neighbors from Primorsky Krai. And the region was criticized earlier for high expenses for the bureaucratic apparatus, but the situation did not change radically.

But the most painful situation arose in the Khabarovsk Territory in connection with spending on social policy, which were reduced by 14,6%. A clear consequence was the growth of social tension and the regular holding of protests. In the Far East Khabarovsk, perhaps, has now become the leader in the number of such shares.

The greatest resonance was caused by the protests of pensioners against the abolition of benefits to travel in public transport. The protests provoked the cancellation by the regional authorities of the full repayment of the mortgage debt at the birth of the third child. Residents of the famous port village of Vanino, which seemed to be a growth point, turned to Vladimir Putin to keep their social facilities from closing.

Thus, to make the crisis budget truncated, but at the same time underlined by the "social" Khabarovsk region in full measure also could not. Not surprisingly, the expenditure policy of the regional authorities did not satisfy, in fact, no one.

At the same time, the deterioration of the general economic situation in the region was noted. The sharpest decline in the volume of investments in fixed assets shows this most clearly - by 32,8% (for January-November 2015). No region of the DFO has demonstrated such a catastrophic situation in the current results of its investment policy. Almost the volume of construction works fell by as much as 26,9% (for 2015 year).

In construction, the worst dynamics in the Far Eastern Federal District was noted only in the economically much weaker Jewish Autonomous Region.

In the construction industry just at this time, the situation around the company Dalmostostroy, the structure of the group E4, which was on the verge of bankruptcy, became aggravated. Received information on the postponement of the RusHydro timing of the commissioning of a new CHP plant in Sovetskaya Gavan with 2016-th For 2017 year. Thus, investing funds for the future in the Khabarovsk Territory last year was carried out on a very limited scale, promises and expectations were produced more likely.

The aggravation of the situation in agriculture occurred, where the annual decline was 7%. At the same time, there were no major projects for the development of the agro-industrial sector using the TOR mode in the Khabarovsk Territory (unlike a number of other regions) (and the regional financing of the industry was kept to a minimum).

An exception may be, perhaps, the project of the Khabarovsk grain processing plant for the construction of a turkey meat processing plant that claims federal co-financing. Regional authorities at the end of the year created the ANO "Regional Agricultural Fund", whose task is to form in the region a network for the production, processing and supply of agricultural products.

But again, by the end of the year nothing has changed for the better. The decline in the agro-complex in the Khabarovsk Territory was the largest among all regions of the Far Eastern Federal District, not counting Chukotka (where this sector is not developed due to climatic conditions). In the industrial sector, meanwhile, the results have simply remained the same, which on the general background even seems a huge success (growth of 0,4%). Perhaps, in the case of the industry, the launch of new projects will contribute to the transition of the current stagnation to growth.

Negative results of the year in the financial and economic sphere have not yet had an equally strong impact on the social situation, except for the problem of worsening the situation of socially unprotected categories of the population and beneficiaries, as well as protest actions at enterprises (including KnAAZ and Khabarovsk shipyard, and also "GiprodorNII").

The index of real money income for January-November even showed an increase of 3,1%. Surprisingly, this was the best figure in the Far East. In retail trade, whose condition indirectly reflects the situation with the standard of living, nothing has changed - the indicator of 2014 was repeated. However, it can hardly be called a positive trend in price growth, the dynamics of which in the Khabarovsk Territory are higher than the average for Russia and the Far Eastern Federal District.

Food prices rose over the year by 15,7% (in general, the consumer price index for goods and services was 113,1%). Only the Magadan region in the DFO differed in the worst dynamics in food prices (and similar dynamics in prices in general). This situation also looks rather strange, since the Khabarovsk Territory cannot be called a remote, peripheral region of the Far Eastern Federal District (like the Magadan Region), where the delivery of goods inevitably affects prices.

One way or another, it was not possible to effectively limit the rise in prices in the region, and therefore the growth in real incomes recorded by statistics was hardly noticeable in practice.

Conflicts of the political elite and the point of growth of the opposition

It is not surprising that the socio-political situation in the region remained quite tense during the year. This was not related to intra-elite conflicts, but at the same time there was also an imbalance in the management apparatus, and the protest activity of political parties dissatisfied with the work of the governor.

In the regional government, personnel reshuffles and reorganizations of ministries that became a kind of “tradition” continued.

In particular, the "building" block of the government was re-created, in which people from Komsomolsk-on-Amur came: Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ignatovich and Minister Andrei Skomorokhov (former head of ZAO Dalmetallurgstroy). At the same time, in the construction sector, as we have already noted, the situation has deteriorated. The new Minister of Industry and Transport was Viktor Lemekha, who is associated with the group "Alliance" Musa Bazhaev. Minister of Culture Alexander Fedosov was promoted to the vice-premier, and the minister was replaced by Natalya Yakutina. Alexander Ermolin was promoted to the Minister of Natural Resources. The reorganization of the agrarian bloc led to the creation of the Ministry of Agricultural Production and Rural Development: Alexander Kuprjakova was appointed minister as the vice-premier of the regional government (again, the industry remains in decline and does not receive public funds). The new ministry of investment and land-property policy was headed by Yuri Chaika. Finally, another innovation was the appearance in the structure of the regional government of the Ministry of International and Interregional Cooperation headed by Vyacheslav Dianov. There were also "forced" losses in the government caused by federal decisions: the experienced vice-premier for economics Alexander Levintal went to the post of governor of the Jewish Autonomous Region, and the vice-premier for culture and sport Andrei Bazilevsky became director of the all-Russian children's center "Ocean" in Vladivostok.

However, by the end of the year, it can not be said that the new government structure and new staff led to an improvement in the quality of the work of the executive branch. Moreover, a big resonance in the media was received by "the smears", which V.Shport himself arranged for his employees, incl. New appointees - A. Kupryakov, N. Yakutina, actually accusing them of incompetence. Not without scandals in the legislative branch: the speaker of the regional Duma V. Chudov was arrested and then dismissed in connection with the corruption case. He is accused of stealing the funds of the company Dalspetsstroy (the structure of the federal Spetsstroi) in the scandalous construction of the Vostochny cosmodrome (at that time V.Chudov headed the Moscow firms "Prominvest" and "Promintech", and then, from 2009, worked as the vice-premier of the Khabarovsk regional Government). The case against V. Chudov is unlikely to have a positive impact on the reputation of the regional authorities as a whole, where he held senior positions for a long time.

In this situation, it is not surprising that the political opposition began to revive in the region. Its leader is the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, which openly supports the resignation of the governor, and also holds protest actions caused by unpopular measures of the regional authorities in the field of social policy. The Liberal Democratic Party, which is a fairly independent force in the Khabarovsk Territory, also reminded itself, opposing in particular the cancellation of direct elections of heads of municipal districts (the party has repeatedly tried to actively participate in municipal elections in the region).

The governor made claims and ONF, in particular, on the problems of providing housing to some underflooders, which in theory should have been solved long ago. Frontline people called the Khabarovsk Territory among the leaders in the number of violations in the construction of social housing, criticized the work of the regional enterprise "Khabarovskpravtodor." The position of the ONF indirectly showed that V.Shport does not have strong support in the presidential administration that oversees the work of the front.

Thus, the past year in the Khabarovsk Territory demonstrated a noticeable deterioration not only of the financial and economic, but also of the socio-political situation. All the positive trends related to investment projects and plans for the accelerated development of Komsomolsk-on-Amur are turned into the future.

At this stage, it is necessary to solve a whole range of tasks - to increase the effectiveness of regional authorities, to fill with real content federal support, to intensify work with investors, to optimize budget policy and to identify growth points that can strengthen and diversify the regional economy.
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