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Charms of Blowing Up: Far East Plus 2
EastRussia considered that giving the FEFD accession Transbaikalia
Photos: infographics EastRussia
3 November 2018 President Vladimir Putin made an unprecedented decision in the history of modern Russia: the borders of the Far Eastern Federal District, which remained unchanged since the establishment of federal districts in 2000, were extended to two more entities - the Trans-Baikal Territory and the Republic of Buryatia. Two regions have traditionally been considered Transbaikalia, that is, part of Siberia, and so far have been merged with the Far East only by a common history and participation in one state development program. EastRussia figured out what the Far East acquired and what it lost.
The first thing that occurred to officials at various levels when commenting on the news of their accession to the Far Eastern Federal District of the Trans-Baikal Territory and Buryatia is the area and population. In this sense, the Far East really got a solid acquisition.
The “old” FEFD had an area of 6,17 million sq. Km (36% of the territory of Russia) and 6,165 million people on January 1 2018. “New” DFO due to 783,2 thousand sq. Km of the Trans-Baikal Territory and Buryatia grew to 6,95 million sq. Km (40,6% of the area of Russia). But the most pleasant thing is the administratively created increase in the population of the Far Eastern District. It has become more than two million people. And now, with the population of 8,22 million people, the Far East has become the place of residence for 5,6% of Russians (and there was - 4,2%).
With the artificially increased population is associated with "growth" of another indicator. In recent years, the population density in the Far East was approximately 1 people per 1 sq. Km. On 1 January, the 2018-th value of the indicator was fixed on 0,999 people. per sq. km. With the addition of two regions of Transbaikalia, the population density of the DFO on January 1 increased by as much as 18% - to 1,182 people. per sq. km.
Meanwhile, it is impossible to say that Transbaikalia, having joined the Far East, will “solve” its main problem - population outflow. Most likely, everything will be exactly the opposite.
According to Rosstat, in the first half of the year, the FEF due to migration has lost 7,4 thousand people in total, and the excess inflow over outflow was observed only in three regions of the district: Yakutia (more people left than 405 left), Chukotka (plus 275 people). ) and Kamchatka (plus 736 people). None of the two subjects of Transbaikalia acquired by the Far East cannot boast of migratory influx: following the results of the first half of the Transbaikal Region, thousands of people left for 2,5 more than arrived, and Buryatia - for 1,2 thousand people. Thus, the Transbaikalia, if it had been included in the composition of the FEFD since the beginning of this year, would have brought into the demographic “piggy bank” of the Far East only an even more significant outflow of the population.
The overall socio-economic consequences of joining the statistics of the two regions of Transbaikalia to the Far Eastern indicators so far seem to be a clear deterioration. DFO in the old boundaries generated about 4,36% of the all-Russian gross regional product (according to the 2016 results of the year, later estimates have not yet been published). With new subjects, the total GRP will increase from 3,75 trillion rubles. up to 4,22 trillion rubles - but this is still only 4,9% of the national index.
But from the point of view of investments in fixed capital, the Far East with two Trans-Baikal regions will receive only a negative trend. According to Rosstat, in the subjects of DFO in the first half of the year, investments in fixed assets grew almost everywhere — only Sakhalin (76,6%) and Kamchatka (92,1%) showed a minus everywhere. In the Trans-Baikal Territory with Buryatia, there is an unequivocal fall in investment, with all other regions of the Siberian Federal District rooted in the first half of the year: 83,6% from last year’s level was invested in the Trans-Baikal Territory, and 68,9% in Buryatia. In terms of the volume of semi-annual investments (26 billion rubles and 11,4 billion rubles, respectively), two Siberian regions attached to the DFO — like the Magadan Region (also 26,3 billion rubles) and the sum of Kamchatka and Chukotka (9,5 billion rubles and 3,9 billion rubles).
At the same time, it is already obvious that the joined Transbaikalia will worsen the general social picture of the Far East. In terms of nominal average wages, for example, the Trans-Baikal Territory and Buryatia are approximately in the indicators of the poorest Far Eastern region - Jewish autonomy: in the Trans-Baikal Territory, in the first half of the year, workers paid an average of 38 thousand rubles, in Buryatia - 35,6 thousand rubles, in the Jewish Autonomous Region - 37,6 thousand rubles. In other subjects of the FEFD, average nominal wages are not lower than 40 thousand rubles.
Social problems of Transbaikalia will now also have to be addressed as part of the FEFD. The 169,2 thousand unemployed registered in the second quarter of this year in the Far Eastern Federal District, where overall official unemployment is added, will add 43,3 thousand unemployed people in Buryatia and 55,1 thousand unemployed people from the Trans-Baikal Territory - plus almost 100 thousand unemployed people, or 60% of them total number in all the "old" DFO.
Of course, among the main arguments in favor of joining the depressive Transbaikalia to the Far East was called the plight of the first - as the authorities believe, it will help to correct measures to support economic development, now exclusively available to the second: the regimes of advanced development (TOR), "free port" , free "Far Eastern hectare".
However, the budget reality so far is such that the amounts pledged in the budgets of all levels for "developmental measures", so far have to be "smudged" over a larger number of subjects of the Russian Federation. How much it will please the regions of the “old” Far East, it will become clear very soon.