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Khabarovsk Territory: results - 2014

Khabarovsky Krai: the capital center of the Far East or the middle-middle region?

Khabarovsk Territory: results - 2014 continues the cycle of publications "The Far East - Results of 2014". During January, the portal publishes expert materials on tangible achievements and shortcomings in the development of the regions of the Far Eastern Federal District. The first publication was devoted to the Sakhalin Region, the second to the Khabarovsk Territory, a supporting entity of the Russian Far East.

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.

In particular, in the Khabarovsk Territory, there was no growth either in industry or in agriculture. Yes, new plans have appeared, mainly related to the revitalization of the defense industry and mechanical engineering in general: these plans concerned the resuscitation of the shipbuilding industry and the strengthening of the aviation industry through the creation of an aviation cluster. But in other basic industries and at key enterprises - in oil refining, mining of precious metals, in transportation - their natural growth limits have so far been reached. For example, 2014 did not clarify the prospects for the development of the port cluster in the Vanino and Sovetskaya Gavan area, which claims to become a growth point in the region.

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.

Against this background, it is hardly possible to recognize the rational expenditure policy of the regional authorities. Basically, it has a usual character, typical for most regions of Russia, one way or another making ends meet. About 28% is spent on education from the consolidated budget, about 18% on social policy, about 12% on health care, and about 10-11% on housing and communal services. But what is striking is the fact that the Khabarovsk Territory spends a lot of money on general government spending, i.e. for the maintenance of the state and municipal apparatus. In terms of the share of such expenses in the budget (more than 9%) and in terms of their volume, it took second place in the Far East. Moreover, in the Khabarovsk Territory, the level of salaries of officials from the regional executive authorities is more than twice the average salaries in the region: no other constituent entity of the Federation in the Far East sets such records now. The dynamics are also important: in 2014, the cost of state spending increased by 15%. There is also a relatively high level of media spending. Their share in the budget is 0,4%; in the Far East, these expenses are second only to those in Yakutsk.

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.

At the same time, there are weaknesses in the social sphere. For example, the Khabarovsk Territory is characterized by the lowest level of provision of kindergartens in the Far East, and federal and regional authorities are now paying close attention to this issue in Russia. In the health sector, the region lags behind in providing hospital beds, although the availability of doctors is at a good level.

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.

At the same time, the actual electoral results turned out to be very favorable for the current authorities and the Khabarovsk Territory in general, and its regional capital in particular. "United Russia" increased support in the regional elections to 57,1%, its representatives took 30 out of 36 seats in the regional Duma, as well as 33 out of 35 seats in the Khabarovsk Duma and 18 out of 25 seats in the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Duma. Supported by United Russia and the governor, the candidates confidently won the elections for the mayor of Komsomolsk-on-Amur (if there is an active competitor from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation) and the head of the Nanai region. Opposition parties, on the other hand, failed to demonstrate the mobilization abilities and personal popularity of their activists. The elections were a failure for "Fair Russia", which lost its representation in the regional duma. Support for the Communist Party declined, but the size of its faction in the Regional Duma remained at the same level (three deputies). The LDPR demonstrated the stability of its positions (almost the same percentage as in the previous elections, and an increase in the faction from two to three deputies). A typical trend was a further decline in civic engagement, which was expressed in a turnout that barely exceeded 20%. It is obvious that not a single political player in the region enjoys genuine mass support, and the population has withdrawn from politics.

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.

Despite some losses in the competition with Primorye, the Khabarovsk Territory, nevertheless, received a fairly large portion of federal attention. This was evidenced, for example, by the selection of the first sites for future territories of advanced development. Three promising sites were named in the Khabarovsk Territory - in Komsomolsk-on-Amur (aircraft and shipbuilding), the port cluster of Vanino and Sovetskaya Gavan, as well as the Rakitnoye site near Khabarovsk. It is noteworthy that their placement clearly corresponded to the presence of three main growth poles in the Khabarovsk Territory. Ultimately, as, probably, one would expect, a project related to the interests of state corporations - the aviation cluster in Komsomolsk-on-Amur - began to take the first positions among the highest priorities.

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

Low dynamics of economic development, noted in the region, is largely due to negative trends in the investment sphere. According to preliminary data, in 2014 in the Khabarovsk Territory there was a decrease in the volume of investments in fixed assets. The Khabarovsk Territory cannot be called lagging behind, including in terms of foreign direct investment, but, again, the needs and opportunities of this region are much greater. During the year, the regional authorities actively promoted the external relations of the region, having made many visits. But so far in the investment sphere in the Khabarovsk Territory there are no breakthrough new projects. Usually funds are spent on the modernization and reconstruction of existing facilities, such as two oil refineries - in Khabarovsk and Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Khabarovsk airport, shipyards, etc. There is a major investment project in the energy sector - the construction of a combined heat and power plant in Sovetskaya Gavan by JSC RusHydro, which was included in the list of four new large generation facilities in the Far East. However, this project, too, is primarily aimed at replacing the retiring capacities of the local Mayskaya GRES. Last year, there were no major shifts in the transport sector in the Khabarovsk Territory. In particular, the “problematic” coal and metallurgical company Mechel has frozen the project for the construction of a coal terminal in the Muchka Bay.

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.

Thus, political support for the "Komsomol" project is provided not only due to the positions of the KLA and USC in the federal government, but also at all levels of government. But much will depend on the foreign policy situation, which affects both the export of Russian military aircraft and the production of the Sukhoi SuperJet 100 civilian aircraft assembled from imported components. Also, Komsomolsk-on-Amur may benefit if Rosneft still manages to “knock out” funds from the National Welfare Fund to modernize its refinery.

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.

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