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Overcome the resistance of the environment

Social justice, helping those in need, a comfortable life in the Far East for everyone, not for some - all these deeds should not be slogans and should not be carried out for show.

Olga Kurilova, Head of the Representative Office of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives in the Far Eastern Federal District - about who and why the National Social Initiative was invented

Overcome the resistance of the environment
Photo: Natalia Mironova
- Olga Sergeevna, the very fact of putting forward "initiatives" in the social sphere, as a rule, indicates a latent trouble or injustice that must be eliminated. Based on your experience of working in the Far East - what are the most sensitive pain points for its residents now? What are you primarily planning to fight to work with?

- If I say that we are trying to reverse the situation "with indifference to people", "with bureaucracy", it will sound, perhaps, pathetic. But, in fact, it is so. In the social sphere, everything consists of “life situations” - and, often, the little things that a person encounters make life very difficult. The purpose of the social initiative is to improve the quality of a person's life and help him in solving a life situation, and it is not easy to issue various certificates. The basic principle of the NSI: a person is the main expert in interaction with government agencies, and on this we have built our work in the pilot regions.

- The main question is how?

- In April, the State Council of the Russian Federation was held, where ASI presented the National Social Initiative, which was developed following the example of the National Entrepreneurial Initiative. The President stressed that eliminating barriers in the social sphere is one of the priority tasks. The general director of ASI Svetlana Chupsheva and the governors, heads of the working groups of the State Council reported on the results of their work.

When developing tools for the national social initiative, we went to pilot regions. And since last summer we have worked closely in each of them. In the Far East, it was the Sakhalin region, in the central part of the country - Nizhny Novgorod, Novgorod, Kaliningrad, Kemerovo and the Republic of Bashkortostan. We proceeded from the needs of a person in a particular situation. At each stage, we moved with him and evaluated the result. For example, it was considered: if a wheelchair is allocated to a person with a disability, everything is fine, "the decision is positive, the service is rendered." But all the time it turned out that this stroller did not pass through the doorway, it was impossible to get into the staircase on it and go down the unequipped stairs and so on. And the person was practically left with nothing, although formally - he received help. Now we are assessing whether we managed to help him in the end, or if additional steps are needed.

Another example is obtaining modern prostheses manufactured by Motorika. ASI supported this project back in 2015, and it only reached the Far East now. You have no idea how many administrative barriers had to be overcome in such a seemingly understandable practical matter. State bodies very often did not even take into account the individual characteristics of a person, his wishes. We bought a prosthesis at the expense of the state - and that's it, say thank you. It took five years for the changes to start.

For example, in 2018 in the Sakhalin Region, with the support of ASI, a resource center for people with disabilities was opened, where people can simultaneously contact the offices of several departments - social protection, the Pension Fund, the bureau of medical and social expertise. To register a disability, get certificates, apply for prostheses. And all this - without unnecessary hassle, which are especially difficult for a person with a disability.

There are many such situations. We are now working with representatives of social services, employment centers, educational institutions, and the healthcare sector. We found understanding in all the Far Eastern regions from the vice-presidents of governments who oversee social issues. We provide methodological assistance, together we look at the best practices that already exist in the country. These are, for example, "smart" clinics, as in Moscow, or employment centers. We are looking at what of this can be applied in the regions of the Far Eastern District.

- After all, the capital is one thing and the territories so far from it are quite another. It is no coincidence that the President mentioned such a concept as the rating of the quality of life in the regions. Do you account for this difference?

- It cannot be ignored. But we must remember the main thing: the regions should strive to narrow this gap. To create conditions when a person receives the services he needs equally quickly and efficiently anywhere in the country. This is the goal we are striving for.

The first step towards this is to analyze what exactly is required to improve the quality of life in a particular region. Find out the problems and needs of people. For example, how quickly an ambulance arrives on call. Are there places in the city or village where you can go (just go, not go) to relax and take a walk with children - parks, swimming pools, skating rinks, green squares. What are the “points of growth on the territory”. Each territory is unique, there are pluses and minuses everywhere, they must be taken into account. And if we are talking about the rating of the quality of life, dynamics is important. How quickly changes for the better take place, whether the authorities are responding to people's initiatives and critical remarks. In this sense, we are always in favor of competition between regions - it is an excellent engine of progress. If you compare the living conditions and doing business, then you see that in one place the ambulance goes to the patient for an average of half an hour, and in another - several hours, and this is considered the norm. Somewhere property rights can be registered in a week, but in a neighboring region it takes three weeks. But people are not obliged to "enter the position" of any department and sympathize with their problems. Its task is to remove all these problems. And if this is possible in one region, others should more actively adopt such experience. ASI has such a platform for the exchange of best management practices “Smarttek”.

 - But objective difficulties, nevertheless, exist. For example, this concerns the demographic situation, the outflow of the population from the Far East, which has not yet been stopped. What measures can work here?

 - As a native of the Far East in the second ... no, even in the third generation I can say: we were born here, we want to live here and we want our children to live here. It would be great for talented young people to come, open a business or start new projects. They can be scientists, entrepreneurs, engineers, students. It is necessary to create attractive conditions for them, and to minimize barriers. For example, now the age of recipients of the Far Eastern mortgage is limited to 35 years. Why not increase it by another ten years? This will attract people who are economically active, mature and responsible.

We talked with many young guys who now live in the Far North - in Chukotka, Kamchatka, in the Magadan region. I ask: are you planning to leave here? They answer: who, if not us, will develop their territory? And if people are ready to live here, they need to be supported. For example, in Sakhalin, in addition to maternity capital, another 150 thousand rubles are paid at the birth of the first child. There are a number of other regional social support measures, including additional payments to some beneficiaries when buying an apartment worth up to a million rubles.

Naturally, assistance should be targeted. And a person, in order to get it, was not forced to knock the thresholds, collect a lot of certificates. By the way, the president, the head of the government, and the heads of the regions have spoken about the transition to such a proactive, selfless order. The matter is gradually moving, but not as quickly as we would like it to be.

And if we are creating territories of advanced development in the Far East, we should at least think about how business in other places does not feel left out. And it was comfortable for entrepreneurs to work in any municipality of a constituent entity of the Far East. In the coming days, for the eighth time at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, the results of the National rating of the state of the investment climate in the constituent entities of the Russian Federation will be announced. The rating is just about creating conditions for entrepreneurship for everyone who does business in the regions of the Far East.

- People leave anyway. Over the past year - over 22 thousand in the whole of the Far Eastern Federal District. The birth rate is practically not growing. Maybe it's not just about payments and benefits? Need something else?

- The last year has not been the most indicative. Too many unfavorable circumstances have been added. Often, decisions had to be made under the pressure of circumstances. As for leaving ... People are always looking for a better place. Even around Moscow there are regions, from which the capital is one and a half to two hours by car. Many people leave there simply because the contrast between life in a metropolis and a “nearby province” is too great. In the Far East, the situation is, of course, not easy. But if you remember how things were ten years ago, the difference is colossal. Since 2013, when laws on advanced development were adopted, recently the National Program for the Development of the Far East, the attitude towards the region as a whole and the attention of top officials of the state has changed dramatically.

- Are you not embarrassed by the possible gap between the "huge number of plans" and rather modest results?

- Nothing changes for the better by itself and immediately. This requires daily work. And in addition to big projects, people need the ability to "hurry slowly," have the right to trial and error. Let me give you an example - the Russian island. When there were only ideas for the development of Russky Island, and then the idea of ​​creating a university, few people generally believed and spoke about the expediency of developing this territory. Now the Far East is the most modern campus in Russia. Recently, an innovative scientific and technological center was created there, and during economic forums people of the first magnitude come to the Russky Island. This is indeed a growth point that can give impetus to the entire Far East, to provide synergy for this huge macro-region. But such global projects should be complemented by more modest ones, focused on the daily life of people.

- For example?

And first of all, it is work with young people, schoolchildren. When we hold some events with the guys, we see that out of every hundred people 70-80 would like to leave the Far East and try their luck somewhere else. You can be upset about this - but it is better to start taking action right now. Show students that there are prospects for them here too. Enterprises are already being created and modernized, new jobs are emerging. And even if a person leaves to study, he may well then return and help the development of his territory. And, perhaps, change her life. There are foundations at universities that work with graduates and involve them in the work of the alma mater. In the same way, you can keep in touch with the natives of entire regions.

Working with parents is also very important. After all, for schoolchildren, the decision is usually made by adults. And they see from their own experience whether there are prospects or not. Decent work, good medicine, the opportunity to get an education, go to theaters, relax in nature, live a rich and interesting life - these are the decisive factors. And in order for people to be ready to stay in the Far East, the state needs to invest not only in infrastructure, in the construction of roads, scientific and medical centers, but also in parallel to work with human capital.

And one more difficult moment. The question of local cadres, the very "human factor" on which everything rests. Very often you start to find out why this or that entrepreneur stopped working and left, and in response you hear the same story. He fought and fought with the head of the local administration - they don't give it, they don't allow it, they drive around in a circle, pressure ... And instead of continuing such ordeals, the businessman closed the business, sold equipment and left for another place where there were no such problems. And now, even despite the unprecedented measures to support the anchor residents of ASEZs or FPVs, such situations are not uncommon. It is very difficult to overcome the stubborn "resistance of the environment".

- And how can you influence this?

- So far we have started with training regional teams. True, we faced a problem: five years after such programs, there were almost no people from the “first recruitment” left in the field. Someone went for a promotion, another left the civil service, the third just moved. It seems to me that in such courses for managers it is nevertheless necessary to provide for something like a "work off", which is practiced in relation to target students.

But in any case, it is necessary to solve the problems systematically, linking all measures into a single complex. Find points of growth in various regions, apply the best practices throughout the country. That is why we have developed such a platform as "Smartteka" for searching and exchanging best practices in various fields, the National Social Initiative, which relies on a number of already tested practices and mechanisms. We hope that this work will yield tangible results in the near future.

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