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POSTOR, ZATOR or motor?
- Vyacheslav Anatolyevich, 11 years ago you headed not only the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), but also the working group of the State Council, which for the first time in post-reform Russia tried to work out a holistic strategy for the development of the northern territories of the Russian Federation for several decades ahead. Disputes were desperate. Which of the old ideas justified themselves, and what had to be forgotten?
- In 2004, the issue was fundamentally: the development of the entire Arctic region, its role and significance for Russia. At that time, people were only just talking about "long-term strategies for the development of vast territories - Siberia, the Far East, and the circumpolar regions." In general, as they say, "Sever", which make up most of our geographic map. To some extent, our then-current report was a "breakdown" - but quite successful. Based on the ideas that sounded then at the meetings of the working group and the State Council itself, a number of decisions were adopted that made it possible to mitigate the severity of the most serious problems.
For example, over the years, it has been possible to amend a number of laws on indigenous and small peoples of the North, the provisions of which concerned economic activities, traditional crafts, territories with a special order of nature use. A special tax regime was introduced for a number of industries in the North, and this made it possible to intensify the development of oil and gas bearing areas in Eastern Siberia and the Far North.
At that time, the issue of special economic zones was also actively discussed. Now they have returned to this idea, planning to create TORs in the Far East, a territory of advanced development. Do you think they will give an effect?
- In the Soviet Union and in many other countries, such practice has long been used and is being applied. To solve some important socio-economic, scientific, technical or defense tasks in separate territories, they created "special conditions" for the activities of enterprises, people's lives and work.
In the recent history of Russia, the organization of special economic zones began after the adoption of a special federal law on them in the middle of the last decade. Now they already have some experience of their work. We will directly say that, despite the cheerful reports of the governmental and non-governmental structures responsible for this direction, there are no tangible results. A number of special economic zones of different types have been created in the country, but only a few of them actually work. And they can not be pointed to as significant examples of success. This is in general in the country, and in the Far East - a complete failure. There is not a single special economic zone here, either unsuccessful or successful! (I am making the brackets for Magadanskaya - this is a zone created on the basis of an individual law that does not fall under the standards of the federal law on special economic zones). Why?
The answer will start with a question of fundamental importance. In the Russian Federation, as, indeed, in any other country, there is a pronounced unevenness in the socio-economic development of its macro-regions. It would seem that, under these circumstances, tools that stimulate development should first of all be worked out and implemented for territories that are lagging behind for one reason or another. However, as with everything else, in the case of special economic zones this was far from the case. The Far East - the most depressed macro-region of the country, was forced, along with everyone, to participate in standard competitions for the right to organize these zones. About 40 once the Far Eastern subjects of the Federation participated in them and each time lost. And it is clear why: a priori, they cannot be competitors, being in more favorable economic-geographical and natural-climatic conditions to regions. As a result, the stronger regions of the Federation become even stronger, acquiring new development institutions, and special economic zones are transformed from their leveling mechanism into their opposite, aggravating territorial disparities in the state. All this is a direct consequence of the lack of strategic approaches to the spatial development of the country at the level of the Government of Russia, optimization of the territorial and sectoral distribution of productive forces, regulation of demographic and migration processes. The system of long-term planning, based on the laws of world economic cycles, the content of the main trends in the development of science, technology and technology, macroeconomic balances and indicators should be recreated in the country. Including in the spatial dimension, which is now especially important in the difficult geopolitical situation.
Of course, in addition to the general, there were also specific reasons for the Far East why special economic zones were not created here: restrictions in the types of activity and territories of zones, the complexity of the management system, and some others.
- Yes, the laws about them almost coincide textually. And what is the attractiveness of the TORs for the Far East in comparison with the standard Russian special economic zones? Will the projectile fall into the same funnel?
- I'm sure not. Judge for yourself. In the new law, the territories for advanced development are created not on a competitive basis, but on an initiative project basis. The project is developed according to certain standards and procedures jointly by the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia, the constituent entity of the Federation, interested municipalities and investors, and approved by the federal Government. This opens up new opportunities for local initiatives, the use of geographic, natural, resource, climatic features and "highlights" of the territories, traditions and skills of the inhabitants of the Far East.
It is also important that the management of the newly established TOR will be implemented not by distant Moscow structures, as is done now in the case of special economic zones, but jointly by federal, regional and municipal authorities.
Removed and the restrictions on the size of the territories of the zones, which are now determined by the project. This is especially important for the regions of the Far North, where interconnected production can be at a considerable distance from each other.
Housing and social welfare objects may be located in the TORs, which is prohibited in special economic zones. It is clear how much this is needed for the Far East, with its extremely low population density. After all, it becomes possible to attract not only residents of the municipality, where the TOP is located, but also other settlements of the subject of the Federation.
In general, there are new and good opportunities. Now it's up to the initiative and energy of the Far East.
- During the development and discussion of the federal law on territories of advanced development, you actively supported its adoption. At the same time, a number of deputies of the State Duma, senators and experts expressed their doubts about some of its provisions. Do you remain confident that this law will work well for the benefit of the Far East?
- In my opinion, in the course of practical work on creating TORs, special attention should be paid to two issues.
The second issue is the need to strictly control the movement of labor in the territories of advanced development. It is impossible to admit that the objects of housing and social and cultural facilities created in the TORs were used mainly to attract workers from abroad. If foreign residents of the territories are practically exempt from taxes, enjoy simplified customs procedures and still use their own labor resources, then what is the meaning of creating TORs for us? Supplying raw materials there? But we already know how to trade with them. For the record in the statistics, what did something happen in Russia? But in fact it is a fiction. That is why the law provides for the most active role of local authorities in regulating the use of labor in the territories of advanced development, bearing in mind the absolute priority of their own labor resources.
Thus, the necessary mechanisms to counter potential risks when creating TORs are laid down in the law. How this will really work - practice will show. We must move forward.