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Vladivostok and Khabarovsk: one fate, but two different cities
Leonid Blyakher continues to compare the two Far Eastern capitals
Professor, Head of the Department of Philosophy and Culturology of the Pacific State University, Doctor of Philosophy
So, in the region (and if only in the region) two realities arise. One reality is high and, as a rule, distant bosses, to whom the local bosses, who depend on them, play along. In this reality, plans are being made that are about to cause the flourishing of the region, and with it the whole country. Here astronomical sums are laid and spent. At the same time, every time the next high bosses are surprised at the incredibly low efficiency of these investments. To increase efficiency, crowds of controllers are sent to the region, controllers over controllers. They will plunder. They (we) are the same. They only know how to steal. And distant "experts" hired by the distant bosses are planning. But these plans stubbornly refuse to be realized. And if they are implemented, then somehow they are not at all as planned. Let's say they decided to develop "deep wood processing". It’s necessary. Who would argue. Just did not think that the forest grows in one place, and the factories are in the place where the forest has not been there for ten years. And there are almost no roads from forest plots to the place of their processing. Forgot to add energy tariffs here. And they were sincerely surprised that no one wanted to buy the products of this deepest processing.
Such examples can be cited by dozens. The essence is one. It was smooth on paper, but forgot about ravines. Not from evil. Just from ignorance of the distant (and high) authorities and the acute desire of the authorities of the local far-off authorities to please. There is a stronger desire than a desire to make people's lives somehow better. This reality, being born in reports and plans, exists there. It does not reach people. Because for them, "nothing changes."
And people, meanwhile, were forced to settle in a different reality, which is becoming less and less calculated for the random and absurd fact of their existence on this earth. They survived, with nostalgia remembering the period when no one cared about them, but no one forbade them, did not control every breath. Somehow, through force, through slingshots, through a lot of prohibitions, they developed the very local business that fed people, made their life more comfortable. The business that survived or tried to survive without huge budget spending. He survived on his own initiative and resourcefulness. It was difficult to survive. It was so difficult that more and more often the Far Eastern counts of Monte Cristo were retrained as house managers, businessmen became officials, state employees. Instead of "feeding" the region, they become budget dependents.
While the budget was obese, the situation as a whole suited everyone. In the end, cutting the budget money, getting a good salary, where it is calmer, than every day risking ruin and losses in the sea of free enterprise. The only trouble is that the budget injections, which were supposed, according to the idea of the distant bosses, at least officially stated, to give impetus to the development of local business and local initiative, simply destroyed it. They replaced the business, leaving only its budget imitation.
But as we get closer to today, the budget flow itself, which has generously spilled on the region since 2008, began to acquire a somewhat virtual shade. That is, billions seem to have been allocated. But they are allocated to something that is not particularly visible in the region. Let's say, to the cosmodrome, where the valiant builders of great Russia from the former Soviet republics work under the guidance of visiting engineers. For what the region urgently needs, money is somehow not very quickly and not fully allocated. The amounts that are supposed to be allocated for the development of the region are growing, then decreasing, then growing again. Only fewer and fewer are waiting for them in the region. They, like numbers on a display, live their own lives. Salaries, projects and other benefits that have irrigated the Far Eastern land with a generous rain are being rolled up. What remains is the shock of high expectations, of the uncertainty of the future. After all, budget money is like a drug: it is easy to get used to it, but without it, “withdrawal” begins. Increasingly, in conversations with entrepreneurs, I hear “business has become a stake”, “people go to the cash”, “private money is flowing away”. Journalists write more poetically: "The region froze in anxious anticipation." People are leaving, despite all the victorious reports of the leadership.
But the best, the strongest, the most skillful remain. There are endless areas of fertile land and pastures, millions and millions of hectares of forest, water resources, fish and seafood, gold and platinum, iron and mercury. All this is our Far East. There will be a breakdown, budget money will run out. But after all, tens of thousands of inspectors, inspectors, inspectors and other necessary people in the household have run out with them, who have so gaily transformed our life from difficult to unbearable. They go behind the budget and disappear with it.
And without them not at once, but the realization will come that the only way to develop the region is not to cram the money into another megaproject, but simply step by step to equip your house. There will come a realization that it is possible to make the region rich and prosperous, but only if the Far East is engaged in this. Slowly. Raspachut lands that are empty. Collect the usual, higher than the average for Russia, the harvest of grain and soy. There, where plowing does not give returns, in the Far East fabulous, fragrant cucumbers and tomatoes, friable potatoes and sharp Far Eastern onion grow. According to the simplest calculations, the region itself, without importation is able to feed up to 18 million people. We are less. So, there is something to export.
Succulent grasses in the meadows have traditionally been the basis for far-eastern animal husbandry. And on the basis of our own agricultural raw materials, shops and plants for its processing will naturally arise. They just do not need to interfere. Forests will turn into unique building and interior materials, fish and fish processing products will again become the basis of life for hundreds of thousands, or even millions of people in the region. And the mining complex and its development will only add gloss to a prosperous region. Roads will not be built because of the budget and plan, but because people need to drive on them. For themselves and will build. Not in time, but for centuries. Where the funds are not enough, the neighbors will add. So the trains will run along the Trans-Siberian Railway, to which the entire transport system of Northeast Asia naturally stretches. Steamers will sail along the Northern Sea Route, which will become more convenient with each pass. After all, they will not be "steered" by temporary workers appointed from capitals, but by people who are focused on ensuring that they and their children live here.
And then the Far Eastern capitals will find their final and key meaning. Moreover, the meaning is different, just as the capitals themselves are different. After all, the goods that the generous Far Eastern land will give must be sold. Something will be consumed in the region itself. Believe it or not, we also eat bread. But a lot will be exported. And it is more convenient to trade where there are good transport routes and storage facilities, hotels and conference rooms. Recently, passing through the endless corridors and halls of the new university campus on Russky Island, I could not help feeling that this fabulous, truly wonderful building is not very convenient for the university. This is roughly how to transfer St. Petersburg University to Kronstadt. But it would be fantastically convenient for an international trading exchange, where contracts for the supply of timber and fish, ore and diamonds, grain and metals would be sold. Where the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and other representatives of two dozen nations will invest in the economy of the Far East, in our well-being. Vladivostok is an ideal place for organizing the entry of the region into international trade, in order not to enter into it as modest supplicants, but to attract it to itself, to make it play by our rules.
Traditionally, Khabarovsk has a different role. He is a political capital. It is the city through which the Far East joins the rest of Russia. True, there is still a place to trade here. Trade with China. After all, the bridge to the big Ussuriysk can become that branch that will draw North China into the space of the Transsib, connect and strengthen the border economy on both sides of the Amur. And the rich and strong Far Eastern region will make the development of the whole country a locomotive. And then, for all the difference between Khabarovsk and Vladivostok, Petropavlovsk and Blagoveshchensk, they all have a lot in common. All of them will be the centers of a rich, prosperous and confident in their tomorrow of the region.
This is not a fairy tale. This is reality. You just need to cut off from it that superfluous that interferes. Senseless bans and even more senseless overregulation, unprofessional management and lack of knowledge of the region. You just have to work for this future. And, one fine, not at all distant moment, like an image in a photograph, it will suddenly appear, become visible and tangible, become our future.