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Far Eastern Happiness Recipe

Kuznetsov was looking for regional happiness at the Eastern Economic Forum

Participants of the EEF session "The Economy of Happiness: Public Initiatives for Regional Development" emphasized that not only economic and technological innovations, but also public initiatives and activities of non-profit organizations are becoming an important factor in the success of territories. Social changes dictated by society are the resource on which it is important to rely.

Far Eastern Happiness Recipe

Anton Dolgov, Executive Director of the Presidential Grants Fund, moderated the meeting for the search for recipes for Far Eastern happiness. The speakers were General Director of the Presidential Fund for Cultural Initiatives Roman Karmanov, Deputy Head of Rostourism Elena Lysenkova, Minister of Economy of Yakutia Maya Danilova, General Director of Argumenty i Fakty JSC Ruslan Novikov, General Director of Lenfilm Film Studio Fedor Shcherbakov, Minister of Culture of the Trans-Baikal Territory Irina Levkovich.

The discussion was also attended by Antonina Priezzheva, Head of the Human Resources Directorate of Gazprom-Media Holding, Irina Lindberg, Head of the Green Economy Development Department of the Amur Branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature; Primorsky center of Ukrainian culture Anatoly Kril "Gorlitsa" Tatiana Tkachenko, head of the "Energy of Participation" fund Veronika Sipacheva and president of the "Give Sunshine" charity fund Saniyam Koval.

The conversation about the economy of happiness has transformed into a “sore” topic for the Far Eastern Federal District - how to keep the population of the Far East in their native land, how to make people here feel confident, calm and comfortable, as well as have the opportunity for self-realization and simply be happy.

Roman Karmanov, director of the Presidential Fund for Cultural Initiatives, is sure that culture, as an integral concept of the quality of life, can develop a territory, make it attractive for residents and visitors. He cited Vladivostok as an example, where a cultural cluster is developing: a branch of the Tretyakov Gallery, the Mariinsky Theater has been opened, museum workers from the Far East are trained here - accordingly, the quality of the work of specialists increases, and people are motivated to live and work here. The active development of cinema in Yakutia has also become a successful example - local residents receive grants and talk about their native land in films. 

“The Fund provides an opportunity to receive funds to make their dreams come true, to realize the need for self-expression. Fortunately, any creative person who has an idea can submit an application, convince experts and get very serious money, ”noted Karmanov.

However, it is very difficult to talk about positive trends when basic infrastructural conditions are not met, especially for people with disabilities. And the Far East is not the easiest territory in terms of landscape and climate. It is necessary to create a comfortable and accessible environment for movement for all people, without exception.

Deputy Head of Rostourism Elena Lysenkova once again confirmed the thesis about the incredible attractiveness of the Far East for tourists. But even if the tourist flow is doubled, say, in Primorye, the existing infrastructure will not allow providing comfortable conditions for all visitors. She also noted that in some places, especially in remote villages, local residents mistrust tourists, fearing that they "will break everything here, leave, and we have to live here." However, gradually people realize that the reception of tourists brings money - and the mood is slowly but changing.

Tourism is an integral part of life. Objects in the tourism sector often become the first place of work for young people - and this also contributes to the retention of the Far East in the field - young people do not leave, because they see that tourism is developing, demand is forming, which means they have a future here.

“But attracting young people to the Far East is difficult. Rosturizm plans to introduce the Work & Travel program for these purposes - students from Russian regions are offered to work and travel in the Far Eastern Federal District. And then, perhaps, fall in love and stay here. Far Easterners are special people. It is worthy of a separate stamp in the passport, ”Elena Lysenkova is sure.

The Minister of Economy of Yakutia, Maya Danilova, said that over the past two years, the population of the republic has increased by 15 thousand people - more than in the previous 15 years. Moreover, one third of the region's population is made up of young people.

“We have a mining, raw material region and a large number of jobs are created in the field of mining. And young people cannot be driven into the mine especially. We relied on the non-resource sector - on the development of creative industries - we opened the first IT park in the Far East, there are already 14 branches of it in the regions. Creativity has shot into the cinema - this is interesting both for the Yakutians themselves and for the Russian audience. This year we have allocated 100 million rubles in grants to support NGOs. But this is not the main thing. Earlier, salaries and high-quality medical services were most important to people, now it is different - it is important to be in demand, involved in the decision-making process, ”said Maya Danilova.

The minister added that since 2000 the practice of “passing power to the people” has appeared in the republic - local officials come annually with reports to all corners of Yakutia, tell residents about the work done and learn about the problems of the population firsthand.

The Minister of Culture of Transbaikalia, Irina Levkovich, gave an example of her region, when it was possible to grow a local tourism project from a public initiative - the creative village "Tuzhi", which also "pulled up" the development of the infrastructure of a small territory. The world famous sculptor and artist Dashi Namdakov became the ambassador of the project. The Tuzhi Land Park was opened in his native village at the initiative of local residents.

The head of Lenfilm, Fedor Shcherbakov, assures that cinema is one of the world's most powerful tools for promoting territories. But, as often happens, in the Far East, everything rests on problematic specifics - a long flight from central Russia, lack of rebates - reimbursement of part of the costs to the filmmaker for filming on his territory. On the other hand, of course, excellent locations for filming. In his opinion, the regions are obliged to invest in cinematographies.  

The media theme was continued by Antonina Priezzheva, Head of the Human Resources Management Directorate of Gazprom-Media Holding, saying that the holding's resources allow us to weave a social agenda into entertainment content. She cited as an example the project "Returned" on TV3 - a story about people who were saved. There, in addition to stories with a happy ending, they talk about what to do if a person is missing, they explain that there is always hope.

In addition, she said that the holding helps to develop socially significant initiatives, moreover, to those small NGOs and foundations that have a desire to help people, but which no one notices and does not help.

Ruslan Novikov, General Director of Argumenty i Fakty JSC, recalled that without promotion in the media, no one will even know about good and correct initiatives. You need to promote your ideas, your activities to the masses.

“Everyone knows about Silicon Valley. And the Far East has no image work. Nevertheless, interest in regional content is growing by 15-20% annually, ”he assures.

The participants in the discussion supported the idea that NGOs and public organizations need to talk about themselves, and not modestly stand on the sidelines. The synergy of the state, business, NGOs and society will bear fruit for the development of regional identity and will help nourish the blacksmiths of happiness in the Far East.
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