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The national program for the Far East has collected arguments against

The new document, developed for the Far Eastern Federal District, came under fire from experts, although most do not deny the usefulness of its activities

Far Eastern economists, with varying degrees of skepticism, have adopted the "National program for the socio-economic development of the Far East for the period until 2024 and for the future until 2035". The EastRussia editors requested comments on a wide pool of experts in the Far Eastern Federal District, however, the responses collected showed a fairly small palette of opinions. Some believe that the document does not take into account realities and is outdated, while others do not see the practical meaning and benefits of the program at all.

The national program for the Far East has collected arguments against
Photo: pixabay.com

At the end of September, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin approved the 127-page program by his order. The goal of the program is to ensure the rates of economic growth and indicators of the economic development of the Far East that exceed the national average. According to the government, the implementation of this goal is possible due to "a significant increase in private investment in new production with high added value, modernization of manufacturing enterprises, transport and construction complex of the macroregion." At the same time, state investments should be directed to the "backbone, cross-border, providing and social infrastructure due to a significant increase in non-resource exports and increasing labor productivity."

The program is planned to be implemented in three stages: 2020-24, 2025-30, 2031-35. For each of them, it is planned to approve an action plan. In total, at least 2035 thousand new jobs should be created in the economy of the Far East by 450, in all remote settlements - aviation accessibility (40 airports will be reconstructed) and an Internet connection. In each of the 11 regions of the Far Eastern Federal District, the creation of new tourist clusters is envisaged. The program focuses on the construction of new schools, kindergartens, hospitals and cultural facilities.

“The national program for the development of the Far East has been developed with the direct participation of the Far East,” the press service of the Russian Ministry for the Development of the Far East quotes the words of Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yuri Trutnev. - 16 proposals were received from them, the best ones were included in the national program. In total, about 518 thousand people took part in its creation. National projects were revised and adjusted in the direction of attention to the Far East, it was determined what activities each ministry would conduct. A large-scale document has been created. His goal is to make life in the Far East better ”.

 

EXPERT DISTANCE

“The program did not pass expert discussion. Far Eastern economists were not asked how we see the development of the region. To begin with, I would like to have an impartial, honest analysis of previous programs. You need to understand where the money went; how foreign investments come to us; not only production but also social projects are being implemented; the number of not only the temporary, but also the permanent population is growing, ”said Alexander Latkin, Doctor of Economics, Professor of VSUES, EastRussia.

The economist was one of the developers of the first program for the development of the productive forces of the Far East, was one of the authors of the program for the integrated development of the city of Vladivostok ("Big Vladivostok"), was engaged in the analysis of the effectiveness of the PSEDA and the regime of the Free Port of Vladivostok.

According to Latkin, the reason that the previous development programs of the Far Eastern Federal District failed is clear, but the current one is no better. First, there is no objective analysis of the initial prerequisites, conditions and problems of the establishment of the economy of the Far East. Secondly, there is no coordinated ideology for developing a program that takes into account cardinal changes in the material, social, moral and psychological state and demographic potential of the region with a stable orientation towards achieving the values ​​of neighboring countries. There is no transparency in assessing the worse situation of the inhabitants of the Far East in comparison with neighboring states.

“We read the program, we didn’t find anything good in it,” says Yuri Avdeev, a leading researcher at the Pacific Institute of Geography of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ph.D. - All previous ones were not fulfilled. In 1987, the program was written based on the results of the visit of the General Secretary of the CPSU Mikhail Gorbachev to the Far East. It was developed with the participation of a huge number of scientists, industry institutes, on a solid scientific basis. That program ended with the restructuring and distribution of sovereignties. Subsequent programs did not have a clearly defined long-term goal and everything that follows from it. "

Since 1987, the current program is already the tenth in a row, and the first was designed until 2020. But none of the programs achieved their goals, the expert noted.

Pavel Minakir, scientific director of the Institute for Economic Research of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, notes that if we talk about the previous program for the development of the Far East (for 2014-2025), as well as about the current one, then they are weak in terms of the quality of ideas and elaboration.

“To achieve a result, you need to collect resources from everywhere in a fist, centrally manage them, direct them to tasks that contribute to the achievement of the goal. Funds for the program are not allocated according to the principle "as usual, or a little more" - indeed, they are mobilized from everywhere, where possible and impossible, something in the budgets is being cut. These actions are like preparations for breaking through the enemy's front in a war. To achieve victory, the goal must be very clear, and there are few tasks to be solved at the same time. To some extent, the 1987 program, calculated up to 2000, corresponded to these characteristics. But when the money was gone, they stopped carrying it out. The 1996 program was, in fact, the same as in 1987, only in the wording, taking into account new circumstances. The next one appeared in 2002, ”explains the expert.

Pavel Minakir notes that these are not programs, but, in fact, legal documents.

“The correct words and slogans are spelled out in them, a little money is allocated. Moreover, the funds are not spent on achieving the goal, but on specific investment projects, which are not clear how they are connected with the goal. Investment projects in themselves (railway electrification, bridge construction, etc.) can be very important and necessary, but they are implemented regardless of the program. As a rule, these programs were accepted for five years, which is not enough for serious work, ”the expert said.

Director of the Far Eastern Regional Educational and Methodological Center Anvir Fatkulin said that he had the impression that the program was not aimed at developing the Far East, it was fragmentary. Major projects are spelled out, as well as various small touches, such as the construction of schools, there are several activities that contribute to the development of education.

The lack of involvement in the preparation of the National Program is a thesis that sounded repeatedly in the responses of EastRussia experts. The set of events was collected taking into account a wide survey of the population and presents a very wide panorama of actions, from point decisions in municipalities to large interregional projects. And, in fact, the experts did not have any questions about the composition of the events. Contradictory questions are raised rather by the status of the document itself: on the one hand, the higher it is, the more executable the activities recorded in it are. On the other hand, the status of the national program requires a strategic "superstructure" of the document and the unity of opinion leaders in assessments, approaches and forecasts.

“There is no unity of understanding of strategic approaches in the expert environment, opinions are very polar, there are a lot of arguments, a compromise position that would suit everyone is hardly possible,” notes one of the experts. - In fact, by contacting the residents directly with a request for specific events, the program developers "stepped over" the expert panel, avoided complex discussions and offered to go straight to concrete actions. The position is advantageous for action, but it is not protected from fair reproaches that fell on developers from the scientific and expert community, which is accustomed to a different paradigm of decision-making. "

 

BELIEVE OR NOT BELIEVE?

“The national program-2020 was made by real professionals, however, for a specific task,” says Viktor Larin, director of the Institute of History, Archeology and Ethnography of the Peoples of the Far East, Far East Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences. - The document was written in the interests of large corporations, big business, which is not interested in the development of the Far East, but in the colonial use of its resources. Pay attention to what hypostasis the Far East people are in, nothing more than a "labor resource". "

Eight years have passed since the APEC Summit, Yuri Avdeev points out. If you list what has been done in the Far East, then there really is a lot: bridges, universities, roads, theaters. Nevertheless, people (“labor resource”) are leaving. During the Soviet period, the population of the Far East grew steadily, but since 1990 it has been steadily declining. The point is economic specialization, the scientist believes. In the course of industrial development, people willingly traveled to the region. When the course was adopted to export raw materials abroad, the population simply became "superfluous". Perhaps the first issue of the national program for the development of the Far East should be the transition to new industrialization.

“Almost 97% of settlements, as indicated in the program, are small, with up to 20 thousand inhabitants. According to the authors of the program, it is enough to build a social infrastructure there for people to live better. Everything is much more complicated, - Avdeev notes. - In small settlements it is impossible to achieve such a level of division of labor and productivity, which would, in principle, make it possible to compete in the foreign market. The total population that is, indeed, is enough only for the raw materials industry. And it depends on the market conditions, the added value is low. In order to achieve a high level of productivity, the population of the Far Eastern Federal District must be increased two to three times. The issues of demography, spatial organization, the problem of what products we use to enter the external market and are going to "integrate into APEC" are not being resolved. Such questions are not in the program, only "we will build this and that". First, at what expense? You need to earn money, and then build on it. I don’t believe that the entire infrastructure will be built for us by the federal authorities ”.

Earlier, the head of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East, Alexander Kozlov, noted that the main principle applied in the national program is accessibility. According to him, for this, criteria have been introduced for each locality, taken from the regulatory framework of the ministries.

“For example, in healthcare. In a settlement where no more than one thousand people live, there must be a FAP. And in a village of up to two thousand - there is already a FAP, and a department of general medical practice, and the availability of no more than two weeks to specialized care, for example, to an oncologist. And according to this principle, all categories of settlements are formed by industry. In total, there are 1 settlements in the Far East. Of these, less than 834 people live in 1. That is, by providing the population, according to the criteria, with everything necessary, we will achieve the solution of the objectives of the decree (Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No. 427 "On measures for the socio-economic development of the Far East, - approx. EastRussia), - explained the minister.

“If people live in a village and the state can build a road to the village and create comfort for the people, why justify this with incredible socio-economic research, Russia's mission in the APR, geopolitics, strategy, and so on. People live, the state can, so there must be a road. And we must believe that it will be. Otherwise, if you don’t believe, then who needs it? ”, - said one of the experts interviewed by EastRussia.

 

NO SUPER TASKS, NO SUPER RESOURCES

Pavel Minakir notes that one should not seriously discuss the program, since it is a product of bureaucratic office work. Even the ministers themselves are not interested in what is written there.

“Some officials impose sanctions, some create programs. This has nothing to do with real life, says academician Minakir. - There can be no wonderful recipes in the program. Although any such document spells out what will actually be done, this should be included in the plans, a purely utilitarian task (a programmatic approach to budgeting funds). Does the program have high goals? Each real program is unique and the chances of implementing each program are like in business. But there are no miracles. If the economy of the region today is at point A, then by 2024 it will at best move to point B, but point I will not reach in any way. And in the current program, resources are allocated as usual, no breakthrough ideas are visible, no one sets super-tasks. "

As the scientist outlines, the indicated perspective of 2030-35 is just good form in the field of public administration. 2024 is the term of the current president. All over the world, programs are adopted for electoral cycles.

“I would like to note that there is a great number of sectoral, functional, regional programs and projects in Russia,” continues Pavel Minakir. - National projects also have their own programs. They write about the same thing, the object and scale differ. Why do the names change, although the essence is the same? It is considered bad manners to generate the same programs from year to year. So you can't cope with the program if you repeat it? Who will give you money? Therefore, we repeat, but still under different names. In 1987 there was "state long-term", then - "presidential", then - "federal target", then "state", now "national". This is all new quality. "     

The expert notes that officials are guided by the president, but with their own interests.

“Since the president is talking about the advanced development of the Far Eastern Federal District, it is necessary to lay down something simple and understandable, for the officials themselves - for example, the growth rate of the GRP. If the average for Russia is 3%, let it be 6% in the Far East. To get a growth rate of 6%, investments are needed not in 7% of the all-Russian volume, but 20%. But where to send them? In the construction of a railway from Vladivostok to the North Pole? You can build it once, but then? ”, - says Minakir.

 

FIRST PROGRAM - MAXIMUM FREEDOM

Academician Minakir sees the way out in the revival of the economic initiative of local residents.

“What matters is real thought, based on real facts. Why do we need these programs? Isn't the Far Eastern Federal District now developing, and will die out tomorrow? The economy shows some rate of growth, ports are clogged, coal is exported. In general, it is a grueling task to figure out what is meant by the "socio-economic development of the Far East." In Russia, they write programs: Sasha goes there, Vanya goes from there, and Petya carries a heavy burden. When they come together, happiness will come. They will die before they reach the designated point, ”explains the expert.

Growth, scientifically speaking, arises from the endogenous factors of the socio-economic system, which sets tasks for itself and benefits from it.

“The bureaucrats will write reports anyway. If they do not, then due to objective circumstances: "pandemic", "sanctions were imposed on us." Believe me, there will always be a reason. And they will compose another program, ”the academician said. - In the United States there was no government program for the development of the Pacific coast. But prospectors washed gold in California, someone built ports, factories to serve gold miners. People earned money, the state simply did not bother them, guarded by the army and police. "

The expert also gives a "native" example. In 1922, the Far East emerged from the Civil War in complete ruin. The Bolsheviks had the first program then. No ideas, no money either, to manage a gigantic territory where conditions are so different, from Chukotka to Primorye - there are no resources. They gave carte blanche to the locals - "do what you want." Use all the income you receive for economic development, poverty alleviation, health care, education, whatever. We will approve the budgets for you, but we cannot give you money, so look for yourself.

“The Far East searched for, developed trade, private business, took out loans, gave resources on a concession basis. By 1927, in five years, they surpassed the pre-war level of 1913. Without any calls from high-ranking officials. People understood - we should live here ”.

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