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Future Strategy

Minister for Open Government Affairs Mikhail Abyzov answered questions from EastRussia

The Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum began on February 18. The Minister of the Russian Federation for the Open Government Mikhail Abyzov told the ER correspondent about what topics will be discussed at the event sites, about the issues on which the hottest discussion is possible, as well as about the budget and support of the industries in 2016.

Future Strategy
- Mikhail Anatolyevich, Strategy 2030 has been announced as one of the main topics of the Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum. How is work on such a large-scale document organized? Is previous experience in strategy development taken into account?

- Work on Strategy 2030 began in July last year. Following one of the meetings with the members of the Expert Council under the Government, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev instructed to develop proposals on the structure and main directions of the document. Research teams from leading Russian expert centers joined the process. But in addition to the participation of the expert community, it is also necessary to deeply involve the political and bureaucratic elites. It is important to avoid the mistakes that accompanied the development of strategic documents of past years. After all, the adoption and implementation of "Strategy 2020" was prevented by the fact that the management elites did not participate in its development. By and large, Russia has no experience in implementing socio-economic development strategies at all. Partly successful can be called the program of socio-economic development of the Russian Federation for the period 2000-2010, the so-called "Strategy-2010", which was developed under the leadership of German Gref. But its provisions were not implemented in full. Therefore, the task before the developers of the new strategic document is quite difficult.

- Do you already have theses of the concept of this document, can you voice them?

The Expert Council under the Government proposed to the Prime Minister to formulate a new Strategy, consisting of three modules. The first is visionary. Its task is to form the image and target state of the main state, economic and social institutions in the horizon of 2030. This also includes the tasks of forming an effective structure of the economy and an attractive and competitive environment for the development of human capital. Plus the tasks of ensuring a high level of public security, both personal security and public security and the security of the state as a whole.

The second module of the strategy - operational - is a detailed action plan for solving tactical tasks, broken down by year - 2018 2014 и 2024-2030, including a work plan for the government and other state institutions to implement the targets of the strategy. For the government, this would create the basis for the formation of the ONDP ("Main directions of government activity") with a clear orientation towards long-term goals.

The third module of the strategy should include a kind of dashboard of target indicators and performance indicators that would correspond to the main attitudes and goal-setting for the period up to 2030. These are vectors of development in the main industries. Such a dashboard makes it possible to timely monitor and verify the decisions made and the results achieved for compliance with the selected vector.

- How important is the third module?

- In the context of a rapidly changing international economic environment, the volatility of commodity and foreign exchange markets, the government has to make decisions not only of a tactical and strategic nature, but also a fairly large number of operational anti-crisis decisions. And it is important that when making these decisions we do not radically deviate from the general vectors of development. And any deviations would be assessed in terms of long-term consequences. Therefore, such a dashboard is an important compass not only when implementing tactical and medium-term tasks, but also when making operational everyday decisions.

- As you said at the press conference that preceded the Krasnoyarsk Forum, in the expert community, among ministries and departments, there were quite serious differences in the points of view on various aspects of this Strategy. What are these differences?

- First, let me remind you that the strategy is developed in accordance with the law on strategic planning, and in turn is the basis for subsequent sectoral strategies. And here the first question to be answered is whether it is possible to create a long-term development strategy for the country for a period of 15 years, focusing only on solving the tasks of the executive branch? The expert community argues that no, so it should not be about forming a strategy for the government, but about forming a strategy for the state, including all its institutions.

But this will require a completely different scale of work. We need to understand the level of development of civil society during this period, the architecture of political institutions, the state of the judicial and law enforcement systems, and ensure their compatibility and harmonious development both in terms of the format of common goals and objectives, ideology, if you like, and in terms of resource provision at the expense of the state.

- What other discussion points are there?

- In a difficult economic situation, of course, there are resource forks. For example, is it worth relying solely on the resources of the budget system when forming the Strategy, or should we talk about the global resources of the state, including attracting private capital?

When discussing these issues, we often have a rather narrow idea: there is a federal budget, and on its basis it is necessary to reform state institutions and develop industry. But then we will always be in a situation where the strategy will be built exclusively at the expense of the state. And it should be built, first of all, due to the rich potential of human capital, and secondly, due to the use of private initiative and private capital. Then it will be a truly holistic development strategy that will take into account the interests of the state, business and each person.

- To what extent will it be possible, within the framework of the 2016 forum, to return to the tasks that were discussed at the forum in 2015? In particular, a strategy for turning east? And if a similar topic is raised in the discussion, then, in your opinion, will any results of work in this direction be heard?

- I do not think that Russia has adopted a strategy of turning to the east. This is a good topic for discussion within the forum, but in fact, the development of Russia will never be one-sided. We have a large country, and we will develop in the west and east, and in the north and south. But taking into account the growth in demand and economic development in the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, for us the eastern vector of development will be one of the priorities.

For Russia, this is a window of opportunity to take its rightful place in this growing market. For this, we will also develop state infrastructure, which will allow us to supply our products, goods and raw materials to these markets. We will develop trade infrastructure by creating profitable trade partnerships, bilateral and multilateral relationships. In this part, of course, the role and place of our Eastern partnership in the Russian Development Strategy until 2030 will be one of the priorities.

- To what extent is the 2016 budget investment and development oriented? Can Russian companies use Eastern markets as credit markets? How much of their resources can we require?

- I can say that the 2016 budget is tough, but responsible. In a number of areas, we had to significantly optimize costs, but at the same time, strategic investment projects were retained in this budget. We will continue to implement the tasks related to the development of priority development territories, we will not abandon the project for the reconstruction of the BAM and Transsib. We will continue to invest in the development of the energy complex; in this part, budgetary priorities for investments related to the development of Eastern economic relations will also be preserved. This will be a good signal for investors and our eastern partners.

As for lending, our companies are already actively borrowing funds in Asian markets. Another issue is attracting East Asian capital and direct investment in our state projects. I cannot say that global changes have taken place here over the past year, but the volume of borrowings in these markets has increased, and we have seriously intensified the work of our state and private companies in this direction.

- Regarding development and support - which industries will be supported by the state in the first place in 2016?

- As before, the priority industry for government support will remain the machine-building complex, which in turn ensures the development of the high-tech sector as such. We will also continue to support agriculture in terms of the development of import substitution and production with a greater opportunity for export - both grain and its processed products. Here it is necessary to go into the production of goods with high added value and other areas of agro-industrial exports.

And of course the automotive industry, this year we will implement a large-scale program to support the domestic auto industry.

- Will you have to abandon any serious projects?

- For a number of projects, we will have to make a decision to extend the deadlines for their implementation, but it is not expected to completely abandon projects.

- The topic of one of the round tables of the forum was “Russia and Asia: the potential of cooperation in non-resource sectors”. In your opinion, in which industries is it possible and in which ones is it already underway?

- First, it is worth mentioning agriculture. For us, this is a global sales market. We have good potential, large territory, good climatic conditions.

The second is the sphere of Internet commerce and Internet services. In this direction, Asian markets are developing at a fantastic pace, I hope that our cooperation here will be beneficial for both us and our partners.

Third, the development of a large infrastructure hub based on the port of Vladivostok, and not only for the transit of Asian goods, but also with the possibility of their processing there.

There are also a number of energy projects in the field of trade in hydrocarbon raw materials and their processing, in the field of electricity, these areas will also develop.

- Will the forum discuss anti-crisis measures that the government will implement this year?

- This is not quite a forum topic, but, of course, it will be partially. The development of the 2030 Strategy cannot be divorced from the current economic agenda, including in describing the trajectory of sustainable economic growth.

- A round table on the topic of media is also announced in the forum program. In your opinion, what is the role of the media today? How does the Open Government system interact with the media community, what would you like to change or add to this interaction?

- The main task for the Open Government in interaction with the media is the high-quality interaction of journalists with our ministries and departments, because an open government is the work of ministries and departments in an open and understandable mode for society. Ultimately, the quality and completeness of presenting information to citizens about the goals, objectives and results of activities of both individual ministries and departments and the government as a whole depends on the level of cooperation between government agencies and the media community.

On the other hand, the media is a powerful source of feedback, on the basis of which smart executives must draw conclusions for themselves and make timely decisions.

What is missing? I would like everyone to be professionals in their field - doctors, teachers, and journalists. This is a common wish. In modern journalists, I often lack depth and detailed knowledge of issues.

- What do you personally expect from the Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum?

- First of all, I would like the experts, business, together with the government to find answers to the discussion questions. There is not much time left to develop the strategy, so now it is necessary to approve the architecture of the Strategy-2030 and its main components. And move on to discussing issues of sectoral planning. Forum this year promises to be representative in terms of the level of participants. I hope that the planned round tables will help solve this problem.

On the other hand, the Krasnoyarsk Forum has taken its place in international economic events, attracting many of our international partners. It is important that our economic and business contacts continue at the forum site, agreements are discussed and concluded, cooperation with international investors is developing. Also at the Krasnoyarsk Forum, the governor's corps is actively represented, and for members of the government this is a good opportunity in an informal setting, taking into account the difficult situation in the economy, to discuss the main critical points with the leaders of the regions, to synchronize watches and outline a plan of joint actions.
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