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Quasi-colonial approach

Quasi-colonial approach

Vladislav Inozemtsev

Doctor of Economics, Professor, Director of the Center for Post-Industrial Society Studies

Vladislav Inozemtsev, Doctor of Economics, Professor, Director of the Center for the Study of the Post-Industrial Society, member of the Scientific Council of the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs:

- I am rather skeptical about scenarios of all kinds of "breakthroughs" somewhere, especially in the eastern direction. Yes, now a lot is being said about it. The eastern vector is a government idea, and the fact that one should “look towards the Asian markets” is the official point of view. But if the words are spoken from a high rostrum, this does not mean that one should take them as an axiom or the ultimate truth. Many questions remain. For example, what are Asian markets? For us, this is not only China, but to a much greater extent - our allies in the Eurasian Economic Community and the Customs Union in Central Asia. Why we are so inspired by cooperation with China, to be honest, I do not understand at all. From the economic point of view, the Celestial Empire is our absolute enemy, we have radically opposite interests, but let's talk about this a little later. I will only note that even if you draw a "vector to the east" from Moscow across the globe, it will pass through Japan, Canada, the northern territories of the United States and point more likely to Vancouver, but not to Beijing.

A serious problem I see is that as long as we use the natural resources of remote regions of our country, just as the British "scooped up" the resources of their colonies - India and Rhodesia, as Spain treated the riches of Latin America, and France - of West Africa and Indochina. With Siberia and the Far East, we act in the usual way: in the past centuries, we destroyed a valuable beast, mined gold and metals, now - we pump oil and gas, taking little care of the consequences. A huge region "works" not for themselves, but for the benefit of the country, the richest territories are just "donors", whose health, development and well-being are almost not considered. But the preservation of such "quasi-colonial" approaches is the right way to deepen the contradictions between different parts of Russia and lead eventually to the disintegration of the country.

Our country has today a "raw" economy, the export of resources from the regions of Siberia and the Far East is the foundation of its welfare. In all truly successful countries, the lion's share of national wealth is created in large industrial, financial and technological centers, rather than in raw material-rich but sparsely populated states or districts. However, we have a special way of building a public administration system that is clearly outdated and needs replacing - a system in which resource regions feed the whole country, and sometimes they stand with their outstretched hand when it comes to their own vital interests. Therefore, the first thing that should be abandoned is that from the vicious practice of carrying out in the vastnesses of the eastern lands, basically large state projects, without worrying about the technological progress going "in depth". In this sense, any alliances with those foreign partners are dangerous, which are only ready to take our resources from us, without caring (and why would they?) About increasing efficiency, about "technologicalization" of the Russian economy.

At a minimum, the global plans of the state policy towards Siberia (under which I understand the whole part of Russia that is located between the eastern slope of the Ural Mountains and the Pacific Ocean) also cause perplexity. For today, they too are a pure quasi-colonial approach. It means only "mastering" of resource-rich but sparsely populated territories, and not at all a redistribution of powers or the abandonment of unprofitable, pompous, initially unviable strategies and mega-programs in favor of developing the initiatives of the regions themselves. This is contrary to the practice of other countries (the same Canada, America, etc.), where the rate is placed on compact and effective regional projects independently implemented by the business community with the support and control of the state.

In my opinion, the main enemy of any development is the so-called "project thinking". It is impossible to ensure the progress of the region if one constantly poses unattainable goals or designate landmarks purely by bureaucratic logic. This, by the way, is described in detail in the book "The Siberian Blessing", which we, together with the Doctor of Economics, State Duma deputy Valery Zubov, have recently written and published in the run-up to the Eleventh Krasnoyarsk Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum.

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