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The sun rises in the east. The population - runs west

A few belated words of Leonid Blyakher about the Far East in Moscow

The sun rises in the east. The population - runs west
Photo: Dmitry Shcherbakov

Leonid Blyakher

Professor, Head of the Department of Philosophy and Culturology of the Pacific State University, Doctor of Philosophy
Days of the Far East in the capital summed up a kind of result of the brilliant PR campaign of the region, perhaps the first successful campaign in the post-Soviet period. Powerful persons who postulated that they work "profitably and effectively" in the Far East came out. The experts of the Valdai Club expressed their opinion. The happy owners of the "Far Eastern hectare" said their weighty word. It was said about TORs (territories of advanced development), fish, wood, gold and many other things. In a word, if everything is not very good, then just fine. My friends, who live somewhat west of our dynamically developing region, are absolutely sure that "you (the Far East - EastRussia) are there, go for your money".
It seems that there is only one group that is not yet sure that all is well in the Far East - the inhabitants of the region. Paradoxically, they keep leaving despite all the investment in innovation. I would like to talk about the reasons for their opportunistic behavior. Of course, there are problems that did not arise yesterday (we have already talked about them on the portal). But there is something new, something that excites the journalistic community of the region, pushes new and new waves of people who have come in large numbers. Our conversation is about these problems.

The first problem is associated with the formation of a new ministry (Ministry for the Development of the Far East). Having arisen ad hoc (on occasion), the ministry found itself in a rather difficult situation. At every step, it collided with the interests of other, much more established structures - the Ministry of Regional Development, the Ministry of Economic Development, Russian Railways, etc. It was necessary to find something “of our own”, which had not yet been “privatized” by other structures. And, we must pay tribute to the creativity of the employees of the ministry, such "own" was found. I think that the start of the PR campaign was preceded by a thorough study of the press, including the regional one. What has the Russian Far East been deprived of since the "sunset" of the BAM construction? A positive image. 

For the general Russian perception, the Far East is such, forgotten by God, a place where everything burns, floods, collapses and, moreover, has long been captured by the Chinese. What else worries the Far East? Actually, the same as most of the inhabitants of Russia: the incredibly increased regulation of everything and everyone in business. Low level of social and cultural infrastructure, ongoing population outflow. This is where the content of the work of the new ministry, together with the deputy prime minister and plenipotentiary, emerges.

A positive image is that you will receive a "ceremonial" Vladivostok with a branch of the Mariinsky, a university of DFU, which is not inferior to the best five-star hotels in Korea, dolphinarium, bridges and a reconstructed embankment. Yes. while, after the collapse of the giant construction with work in the city is not very. But this is not very visible to high guests, and, in general, temporarily. They have already signed a protocol of intentions with a certain number of foreign firms. Moreover, they have already determined how much they could have invested. And they accounted for these calculations, as investments in the economy of the region. It is clear that between the "intentions" and "investment" distance is a huge size. Often not surmountable. But within the framework of creating a "positive image of the region" it is not very important.

Moreover, the exhibition "Free Port of Vladivostok" itself and the TASEDs (TASEDs) embody another innermost dream: the dream of a free business. Yes, the slowness of the bureaucracy, the inconsistency of norms and instructions, the delays that turn into billions of dollars in losses for business have become a proverb. We will fight them with the help of FPV, TOP, TASED. Let's hit the bureaucracy on the bureaucracy. So far, it's not working very well. Entrepreneurs do not believe that bureaucracy can defeat bureaucracy. So far, they are investing in romantic projects or specially trained firms financed in one way or another from the budget. They do not allow the project to stall. But for external "PR" it is not very important. It is important that it is there. The situation is about the same with the "Far Eastern hectare". Promotion of the program vividly resembles the promotion of the sale of plots on the Moon. The number of inconsistencies in inventories and bureaucratic obstacles that turn into problems for happy hectare carriers is multiplying. But, as a PR, the program works very effectively.

It would seem that changing the image of the region is really an extremely necessary thing. Such a change is quite professional and quite effective. What are the Far Easterners unhappy with? Would it be better if only bad things were said about the region? This is where you need to figure it out.

Firstly, those "horror stories" about the Far East (from the incredible cold to the yellow threat) were once formed by the Far Eastern themselves. Combined with a very specific goal - so that many "outside" people would not come here. For, as the experience of the Far East shows, it is worthwhile to say at least somewhere that in the region it is good, how instantly it will be done "badly". They cut preferences, reduce subsidies, etc. So, once, N.S. Khrushchev, admiring the seaside weather, hastened to cancel the benefits for the inhabitants of the region. So today, talk about how to live well in our effective region is perceived, mainly in the context of what else will be selected. Moreover, there is a recent experience of Sakhalin.

Secondly, there was already the experience of the 30-ies of the twentieth century, when benefits (apartments, salaries, etc.) were, but only for newcomers to the region. Those who lived here initially, did not receive all this. They need something. They already live here. The fear that this is how the benefits will be distributed in the new, "dynamically developing" Far East is. Yes, and the grounds for it are visible. 

Thirdly, the "external" PR is not supported by the internal one. We, the Far Easterners, know from the media that the region is developing rapidly, that the flow of investments is growing. However, so far this does not particularly affect either the number of jobs or the level of wages. We know from the media that we are living better and better, and our tariffs are falling like a swift jack. But, receiving the next bills for the communal apartment, we just can't see it. It is not possible to consider the rise in living standards even when we go to stores. We know (read, heard) that the region is successfully fighting the dominance of the bureaucracy. But, for some unknown reason, we see only an increasing number of officials, inspectors, controllers.

As a result, external PR begins to be perceived as a mockery, a form of mockery of a resident of the Russian Far East. Formed a specific image of the "authorities", which "all lies." It is difficult to find a period when the level of trust between the authorities and the inhabitants of the region would be so low. And this is with the unconditional successful promotion of the region to the outside.

Is there a way to resolve this contradiction? Certainly. If the region was “promoted” with the same purposefulness inside, looking for and finding adequate forms for this, perhaps the problem would be much less acute. Not everything, but a lot, is based on simple trust. And you need to work on its creation. 

While the population votes with their feet, and every new initiative of the authorities passes under the refrain from the famous song of the group "Mumiy Troll": we leave, we leave, we leave ...
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