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"The growth of fertility is the merit of the authorities"

Demographic plans of the federal center in the Far East stumbled on common sense

The plans of the federal authorities to stop the outflow of population from the Far East are of an abstract nature, they are divorced from the real requests of economic entities, poorly docked with social development programs and are unlikely to be realized. To this conclusion came the participants of the council of experts, which was held on the basis of the Moscow State University. Lomonosov, the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok and the Far Eastern Institute of Management of the Russian Academy of Science and Technology in Khabarovsk. The Council was held in a space bridge, with the participation of experts from the Higher School of Economics, representatives of VTsIOM, heads of large enterprises operating in the region. Valentin Timakov, Director General of the Agency for Human Capital Development, refused to participate at the last moment.

"The growth of fertility is the merit of the authorities"
According to the plans of the federal center, by 2025 it is necessary to increase the population of the Far Eastern Federal District by 50 thousand people due to natural increase, and by 250 thousand - due to migration. As long as the outflow continues: so, for 2017 year the population of the district decreased by 12,3 thousand people, for 2016 year - for 16 thousand people. The main factor in population decline is migration, people are leaving. The trend managed to break only in 2017 and only in Kamchatka and in the Sakhalin region, there moved in more than left there. Relative to Kamchatka, the situation so far at the level of statistical error, entered more than left, only for 500 people. It is interesting that the links between investments in the regional economy and migration processes do not seem to exist, or it is weak: according to the estimates of the Ministry of Vostok, in 2017, the amount of announced investments in the district reached 3,7 trillion. rubles, 34 thousand "Far Eastern hectares" were issued, 90 new enterprises appeared. But people continue to leave. For example, the Khabarovsk Territory, which became the leader in the number of issued "hectares," left in 2017 3,7 thousand people more than it came.

Investments and bright actions like "the Far Eastern hectare" have little impact on the quality of life in the region, the report of the professor, head of the laboratory of mathematical methods of political analysis and forecasting of the Moscow State University, Andrei Akhremenko, follows. He describes the dynamics of the quality of life in the Far Eastern Federal District as a "slowly catching up model". In the Far East, everything, as in Russia, is only worse, and the recovery is very slow, and in a number of positions, the backlog of the country as a whole is even growing. Since 2012 in the Far East, there has been a deterioration in housing conditions in general, the problem of emergency housing has not been resolved and worsened. The fact that the population of the region looks good, and employment even exceeds the average Russian indicators, does not solve the problem. It is interesting that money does not turn into "life" and health: having high incomes per capita, the region monstrously lags behind Russia in general on health care, life expectancy and is sadly leading in terms of infant mortality. Money and investments do not see a person, there is not even a question, and how people will live after they receive their own, rather high, salary, how to be treated, how to have fun, money sort of decides everything, but does not really decide anything.

Since the council of experts was videoconferencing, and council members in Vladivostok and Khabarovsk could immediately comment on the statements of their colleagues in the capital, one could observe a classic Russian agenda for the gap between the center's plans and the "truth of life" in the region. A sharp discussion was sparked by the speech of Elena Mikhailova, Research Director of the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center. Mikhailova said that the Russian Investment Forum presented a new tool - the index of human capital development in the Far East, it will allow "regional authorities to make decisions regarding the implementation of social programs. The development of the index took into account federal target programs, those indicators, according to which the work of the regions is assessed, as well as a number of indicators specific for the Far East. In the future, this tool will become the main tool in developing recommendations for regional authorities and supporting tools for the rapid adjustment of regional development programs, including federal programs for the development of the Far Eastern Federal District, "said Mikhailova. 

In this innocent phrase (it would seem who against the "new instrument") colleagues from the Far East caught a lot, even not directly expressed. Take "indicators in accordance with which the work of the regions is assessed": in the midst of an unpleasant discussion around the rating of the investment attractiveness of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, in which the regions of the Far East are allegedly ranked contrary to common sense. The ASI recognizes that the methodology is far from perfect, but it is for such "indicators" and decisions will be made.

Another example: Professor of the Faculty of Global Processes of the Moscow State University Andrei Korotaev told how fertility in the Far East is growing:

- In some respects, the Far East has already exceeded the Russian average. Fertility in the Far East is above the national average. In many respects this is the merit of the Far Eastern authorities, and it did not take it by itself. Of particular interest is the Sakhalin success story. The growth of the birth rate from the level below the average Russian level to 2,16 per woman in 2016 is a serious success, which should be studied all over Russia.

And immediately ran into a rebuke of colleagues from Sakhalin: yes, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk looks like a fully developed city by the standards of the region, but what will we see if we leave for several tens of kilometers? Empty eyes of young people who do not see prospects at home, and do not represent where to go to be realized ("who we need"). We will see people who directly say that "no one cares about us at all."

“There is business”, probably, only for entrepreneurs and employers. While VTsIOM conducts surveys and states that for 78% of respondents from among employers it is “difficult and very difficult” to find employees in the region, Anna Tsivileva, chairman of the board of directors of Kolmar Sales, says that her company builds the entire social infrastructure for employees on its own, creates “cities in cities ": their schools, kindergartens, hospitals. Is it overhead? So even the question is not raised: in the Far East (in particular, in Yakutia, where the company operates) you can earn money, so creating an infrastructure is both beneficial and profitable. 

“The average age of our employees is 39 years. These are young people who come to the Far East with their families: wives and children. We, as employers, are developing a social package. I will say not without pride, he is now the best in the Far East. To attract people from neighboring regions, we pay in full for the relocation of future employees and their families. The average salary at enterprises is 83 thousand rubles. For example, an excavator driver receives 80 thousand rubles, a specialist in open pit mining - 103 thousand rubles, tunnellers and miners - 110 thousand rubles, specialists in underground mining - 140 thousand rubles. Our salaries are 20-30 percent higher than in other regions, ”says Anna Tsivileva.

In addition, the personnel department of "Kolmar" helps with employment of the employee's family members. Housing provision is another significant factor in employee retention and recruitment. “We are building housing stock for enterprise employees. The existing housing stock is not enough. We have already built several family dorms. Now we have the opportunity to resettle about 2 thousand people. We also subsidize rentals, ”she clarifies.

To what extent does the center analyze such best practices? Which agency? What the ministries offer to support such practices (in the case of Tsivilia - they do not offer anything). Or is everything limited to research and ascertaining, and the results of work such as Tsivilev are depersonalized and form the basis of official reports that "the region rises from its knees"? And it turns out that the social situation is improving due to "wise management" and public investment, although this is not so.

The extent of the gap between "truth" and "representation" is well illustrated by the discussion of Elena Mikhailova with the Far Eastern colleagues. Mikhailova lamented that the Far Eastern universities are training specialists for some of their long-established programs that are not relevant to the employer's needs. To which colleagues from Vladivostok and Khabarovsk pointed out: everything has changed very quickly, the universities of the Far East have rebuilt in a few years, they work clearly on the needs of business. It remains to be asked how the center can create programs for the Far East and make recommendations, if they do not feel the dynamics of change there.

The line was drawn by Alexander Segal, Director of the Expertise Center for Social Projects, Strategies and Forecasts of the Moscow State University FF. The growth of fertility, as many children per woman - you can plan (more difficult to fulfill, but why not plan). It will not be difficult to attract migrants. But why? The federal government did not formulate the ultimate goal. The modern economy does not need a large number of workers, even agriculture. Check-in for check-in? It would seem that the state would be sufficient to develop the conditions for the work of entrepreneurs, and to focus primarily on their needs for labor, that is, to build a demographic concept together with business. But business in such stories is heard in the last place.

After the meeting, there was a strange feeling: it seems that the argument "if the Far East is not populated, it will make China" appears in journalism is not very high level, and in serious government documents should not be taken into account. But it seems that such surrealistic constructions dominate the officials. Otherwise, how can we explain the concept of "populated for populating"? Most likely, this is so: officials need formal indicators, after which they could report on the work done. They and operate with them. This can be related to the integrated development of the region. And maybe not have.
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