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POSTOR, ZATOR or motor?

POSTOR, ZATOR or motor?
Special project TORA and Free Port

Member of the Federation Council, Plenipotentiary Representative of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation in state bodies on the development of the Far East, Eastern Siberia and the Arctic Vyacheslav Shtyrov - how to make the Far East and the Arctic a real territory of advanced development and why the old experience should not be “well forgotten” "So that later it is difficult to remember.

- 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.

Now we must concentrate not on local, but global issues in the context of reforming the entire economy of the country. In this regard, a number of fundamental documents were adopted: the foundations of the state Arctic policy and the strategy for the development of the Arctic zone of the country were approved by the Presidents of Russia, the land borders of the Arctic were determined, and there is a state program for its development and development. Of course, it can be said that this program is mainly devoted to managerial issues, does not take into account the whole scale and subtleties of problems, and sins incomplete. And we do not have the resources to do everything we have planned. But this all the same business acquired. It was important to understand where we are going and what we are striving for. And the start was given exactly in 2004 year, when it was determined whether we need the Arctic or not, as we see its future in the overall economic and social structure of the country, whether it is worth investing in it huge forces and resources ...

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.

Let us recall, for example, the Soviet "closed" cities. And they were created not only in remote or somewhat strategically important regions, but also in the very center of the country. For example, Volgodonsk in the Rostov region, where Atommash was built. In foreign practice, the special economic zones of the eastern and southern coasts of China are world-famous. You will say that these are examples from a planned or transitional economy. But no, in certain forms of territory with special regimes of economic activity exist in many countries, even such "supermarket" as Japan or the United States of America. Their successful work proves once again that market mechanisms must be complemented with specially designed development tools. Created on their basis, the individual points of growth, when properly formulated, become centers of innovation, stimulate the emergence around themselves of belts, regions, regions of accelerated development.

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.

In order to remove all these questions on the initiative of the Ministry of the East Development of Russia, a new law was developed - on advanced development territories. Indeed, in itself, the tool of special economic zones is a very attractive tool. If you wish, - TOR is our Far Eastern variety of special economic zones.

- 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.

It is of great importance and the lifting of restrictions on activities within TORs. I will give a practical example. Based on the law on special economic zones in Yakutia, it was planned to create a diamond jewelry cluster. But according to the all-Russian branch classifier, diamond cutting was attributed to the primary processing of raw materials, and this type of activity was banned by the SEZ. It took several years to change the regulatory framework, and a promising special economic zone was never created. Now such restrictions are removed.

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.

First, the list of permitted types of activity in the territories of priority development includes mining of mineral resources. If we take into account that extremely liberal permissive and soft tax regimes will operate inside the TOR, then the situation may well arise when the state will receive nothing but environmental problems for its non-renewable resources. That is why the mining of minerals in the territories of priority development should be conducted only in exceptional cases. For example, when the fields of extremely critical raw materials, for example, rare-earth elements, are located in areas that are extremely unfavorable for transport accessibility and climate. It is up to the Russian government to control that this rule is implemented, which, according to the law, approves the projects of the TOR.

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.

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