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Khabarovsk Territory: results - 2014
Khabarovsky Krai: the capital center of the Far East or the middle-middle region?
The past year for the Khabarovsk Territory proved to be difficult. He was full of events, but did not bring any breakthroughs in the social and economic sphere. On the contrary, judging by the preliminary results of the year and the indicators of the economy in the first half of the year or for the first three quarters of 2014, in the region it is possible to speak at best of economic stagnation, if not a recession.
At the same time, it is obvious that during the year a lot of attention was devoted to solving the problem of overcoming the consequences of the catastrophic 2013 flood. This task became essentially political, followed by the federal center, which more than once criticized the authorities of the Khabarovsk Territory. pushed them to make extra effort. In general, her decision was successful, but it seemed distracted, apparently, a lot of energy. In the information field, the Khabarovsk Territory most often sounded precisely in connection with the resolution of housing construction issues and numerous inspection visits by representatives of regional and federal authorities.
What does expenditure say?
The analysis of the financial and budgetary sphere of the Khabarovsk Territory in 2014 indicates certain negative trends. It is important to note that at the end of 2013, the Ministry of Finance of Russia assessed the level of budgetary policy in the region at a high level: Khabarovsk Territory was the only one in the Far East that entered the group with high quality budget management. At the same time, the analysis of financial statistics for 2014 does not allow us to call the region either prosperous or demonstrating a rational approach to spending budget funds. In the Khabarovsk Territory, there is an obvious problem with the sources of filling the budget. So, in January-October 2014, the growth of budget revenues compared to the same period in 2013 amounted to only 1,1%, including 3,7% in terms of own income. The drop in income tax revenues is alarming, which clearly indicates problems at the largest enterprises in the region (as a result, the profit tax in the region's own revenues is an extremely low share of 15%, while the income tax is 42%). In terms of budget revenues, the Khabarovsk Territory yielded to its eternal competitor - the Primorsky Territory. The regional economy of the Khabarovsk Territory today is seen as not strong enough to provide such a large region, which is the geographical and political center of the Far East, with sufficient funds.
At the same time, it cannot be said that the Khabarovsk Territory is "spoiled" by the financial support of the federal center. In 2014, the region began to receive fewer transfers, which is primarily due to a sharp, at times, decrease in the volume of subsidies. This decrease is opportunistic, since in 2013 the Khabarovsk Territory received large funds to overcome the consequences of the flood. The decrease in the volume of subsidies was partially offset by an increase in subsidies. Nevertheless, the region largely has to rely on its own forces, which are not enough (it forms about 77% of the budget from its own revenues). It is unlikely that the Khabarovsk Territory would like to become financially independent. On the contrary, he has a clear and unmet need for federal money that could flow to the region through the FTP.
Speaking about the dynamics of expenditures in the directions, it should also be noted that the Khabarovsk Territory was forced to reduce the budget financing of the road economy. Expenditure on the educational sphere was maintained at about the level of 2013 year; In addition to spending on national issues, growth is noted in the areas of housing, health and social policy.
Thus, the lack of balance in the regional budget is reflected in the growth of expenditures, while maintaining the same level of income. This leads to a significant regional budget deficit, which in January-October was 2014. 7,8%. It should be noted that the debt burden of the budget in the Khabarovsk Territory is still small and not critical. However, in general, the situation in the financial and budgetary sphere can hardly be called optimistic.
The population withdrew from politics
Khabarovsk today looks like a rather prosperous city. A good situation in the housing sector is typical for the region as a whole. Arguments here can make small indicators of the area of dilapidated and emergency housing, as well as the relatively low unprofitability of housing and utilities organizations.
It is natural that the region last year experienced many anxieties caused by its pressing social problems. As we have already noted, a lot of effort was spent on the construction of housing for flood victims, control over these processes, prevention of violations and corruption. Governor Vyacheslav Shport personally paid a lot of attention to this issue, having visited the affected territories many times. The influx of Ukrainian refugees turned into an unexpected problem in 2014, which is why the governor even had to introduce a state of emergency. There were other social and political conflicts as well. They were caused by the speeches of disgruntled representatives of the indigenous peoples of the Amur region (represented by the Nanai), contradictions in the Muslim community, the struggle between warring factions at the municipal level, clashes between parties and their candidates, especially during the election campaign, etc. Therefore, the region often generated a negative information background, especially since the interest in it, as in the central region of the Far East, is always especially great, and the political processes in the Khabarovsk Territory were distinguished by some instability, which, however, was overcome by the end of the year. Personnel rotations in the regional government took place. At the municipal level, conflicts were noted that led to the displacement of a number of heads of settlements, as well as to the defeat of the United Russia candidate in the elections for mayor of Bikin. But, of course, the main trends were set by the elections to the regional duma, the representative authorities of Khabarovsk and Komsomolsk-on-Amur, as well as the mayor of the second city in the region. During the campaign, there were outbreaks of rather sharp confrontation between the authorities and opposition parties, among which the most notable were the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and the Liberal Democratic Party. The opposition criticized the authorities, including for inflated expenses on bureaucratic salaries, purchases of expensive cars, bankruptcy of Kraydorpredpriyatie, and so on.
As a result, although the authorities in the Khabarovsk Territory can hardly be called very popular, their obvious resource superiority and the weakness of the opposition led to the consolidation of the dominant positions of the ruling elite. For Vyacheslav Shport, this result was also important for the reason that the previous elections were held under his predecessor Viktor Ishaev, and the new head of the region needed to bring more personally loyal people to power, which was done. Meanwhile, experienced and influential mayor Alexander Sokolov, who represents a separate center of power in the region, confirmed the strength of his positions in the regional capital. In Komsomolsk-on-Amur, on the contrary, Vladimir Mikhalev, who ruled the city for a long time, was forced, as a result of intra-elite agreements, to yield his post to Andrei Klimov, the former deputy director of the Sukhoi aviation company, which thereby became the leading not only economic, but also political a player in the city with which the prospects of the entire region are connected.
Fight for attention
Probably, the specificity of the Khabarovsk Territory lies precisely in the fact that there is great interest in it, and at the same time the requirements are increased. This was demonstrated by his relationship with the federal authorities. The region was not at all deprived of the attention of the federal center, which demonstrated its readiness to implement a number of important projects. Although it should be noted that Khabarovsk has new reasons for jealousy in relation to the Primorsky Territory, which was given much more attention from the federal center. This was also shown by the policy of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East, which redistributed resources between its three centers - Moscow, Khabarovsk and Vladivostok. If at the time when the former Khabarovsk governor Viktor Ishaev was the minister, the capital status of Khabarovsk was not questioned, then after the change in the leadership of the ministry, the situation changed. Now in Khabarovsk there will be the smallest regional office of the Ministry for the Development of the East, while the larger one will be located in Vladivostok. When talking about the location of offices of large companies, Vladivostok was also mentioned more often than Khabarovsk. Apart from politics, of course, Vladivostok's more advantageous geographical position in the APR and the sharp rise in the status of the Primorsky capital against the background of the preparation and holding of the APEC-2012 Summit played a role. At the same time, the rate of the Far Eastern plenipotentiary was and remains in Khabarovsk, and no one is taking away the formal capital status from the region. Plenipotentiary Representative and Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev voiced initiatives that were beneficial for the region to locate a diamond exchange and a cutting center in Khabarovsk.
In addition, for reasons of a rather geopolitical nature, the federal authorities, through the mouth of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, announced the decision to create an analogue of the TOP - an international tourist and recreational territory - on the island of Bolshoi Ussuriysky. This decision is obviously linked to Russia's attempts to establish strategic cooperation with China. The former disputed territory along the Amur River is now seen as a potential platform for cooperation and attracting tourists through a special visa regime, tax and customs benefits.
The priority of the Khabarovsk Territory was also evidenced by the government decision to support Chegdomyn village, included in the list of the most problematic monocities in Russia. After the creation of the Mono-City Development Fund, it was immediately decided that Chegdomyn would receive the money one of the first. Although, in this case, the lobbying of this decision from the interested coal corporation SUEK could play its role. Among the existing, but problematic enterprises of the Khabarovsk Territory, the shipbuilding factories also found themselves in the center of special attention of the federal authorities. During the year, promises were made (for example, from Dmitry Rogozin) to provide them with orders from the state.
On the other hand, these factors do not indicate that the authorities of the Khabarovsk Territory are in special favor with the Kremlin and the White House. On the contrary, they were often criticized, in particular, Yuri Trutnev did it. The reason for the criticism was the lack of effectiveness of the authorities of the Khabarovsk Territory in eliminating the consequences of the flood, and this issue has acquired particular national importance. As a result, Vyacheslav Shport was forced to sacrifice the Minister of Construction A. Popov and carry out a number of changes in his team. But, in the end, everything ended on a completely positive note. Another political signal was the appearance of claims against the regional authorities from the ONF. At first, it was about control over the process of building housing for flooded residents, but then a politically more intense campaign began about the regional government's media spending - in connection with the launch of another project in the form of the newspaper "Khabarovsk Krai Today".
In this regard, it is important to note one more aspect. The assessment of the effectiveness of the regional executive power for 2013, published by the federal government in the fall of 2014, turned out to be rather low in relation to the Khabarovsk Territory. The region was placed in 68th place with a decrease in its rating. Particularly upsetting and, alas, expected was the region's extremely low place - the 80s - in terms of the dynamics of economic development, which, apparently, is simply absent (the dynamics of social development was assessed most positively, where the region took 14th place).
Trends determine state-owned companies
Today, the prospects of the Khabarovsk Territory, like many other regions of the Far East, depend on the activity of state corporations. There are no clear decisions on their projects and financing yet, although there are many plans. The processes that took place in 2014 were in favor, first of all, of the United Aircraft Corporation, which (and its Sukhoi sub-holding) includes an aircraft plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. In the interests of aircraft construction, the first and main ASEZ will probably be created in the Khabarovsk Territory, focused on providing production with components. Another beneficiary of this TOP is the United Shipbuilding Corporation represented by the Amur Shipyard (but this plant is still in too dire condition to quickly become prosperous). Thus, there are good prospects for the development of the state machine-building cluster in the second largest city of the Khabarovsk Territory. It is worth recalling that Governor Vyacheslav Shport himself is a native of the aircraft factory, and the representative of the factory, Andrey Klimov, was elected mayor of the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur last year.
As for the transit role of the Khabarovsk Territory, so far large new investments in infrastructure are only expected. Here, in particular, one should count on Russian Railways with its next plan to modernize the BAM and Transsib, which received government support as a result of the lobbying struggle. For the Khabarovsk Territory, this may open up new opportunities for expanding exports through ports in the Vanino and Sovetskaya Gavan area.
The interests of RusHydro, the head office of which may be moved to the Far East, will also have a noticeable impact on the development of the Khabarovsk Territory. In Khabarovsk, we recall, is one of the offices of RAO ES of the East, which is controlled by RusHydro and is the main player in the macro-regional electricity market. In addition to the TPP in Sovetskaya Gavan, the construction of which the company has already started, power engineers are lobbying for a number of large-scale construction projects in the Khabarovsk Territory (reconstruction of the Khabarovsk TPP-1 and Komsomolskaya TPP-3, construction of the Khabarovsk TPP-4). Apparently, it was no accident that Nikolai Brusnikin, a prominent representative and lobbyist of the structures of RAO UES of Russia during the times of Anatoly Chubais (until recently, Nikolai Brusnikin worked at RAO ES Vostoka), took over as first deputy head of the regional government.
Khabarovsk Territory: results - 2014. Summary
Thus, last year showed that the Khabarovsk Territory still lacks resources for development, corresponding to the level of the capital region of the entire Far East of Russia. Although the political sphere of the region during the year was finally brought in a manner quite satisfactory to the governor, the positions of regional authorities at the federal level are not strong enough to ensure effective lobbying for regional interests. In the socio-economic sphere, we rather have to talk about stagnation (with the risks of recession and deterioration). The region is in need of new investment projects, but for the time being it should rather count on the revival and modernization of its old production and infrastructure facilities.