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The Far East is the eternal priority of the Russian leadership
Lenin also uttered the famous phrase: "Vladivostok is far away, but this city is something nashensky." And almost at the end of Soviet power, in 1986, Mikhail Gorbachev visited Vladivostok and delivered a famous speech there, which, incidentally, was devoted mainly to foreign policy issues. During the Soviet period, the Far East was developing gradually, but the remoteness of the territory and the priority needs of the army and navy prevented its transformation into a region with a rapidly developing real sector, ready for integration into the Asia-Pacific region in the event of the opening of borders. Any political influence and lobbying potential The Far East in the USSR did not acquire, remaining a distant periphery and not attracting special resources from the central authorities. Focal, point development, tied to individual projects and military facilities, turned out to be the only working model that quite suits the central authority. At the same time, the Soviet authorities did not get their hands on a number of raw material projects that were inherited by the current Russian government.
At the same time, the contradiction between the demonstrative attention to the Far East, the drawing of the Far East as a political map and real measures for its social and economic development, backed up by the state's possibilities for such development, was determined. With the use of the Far East as a PR-site everything is simple and understandable. The rhetoric of the highest federal officials, which speak of the huge, strategic significance of the Far East, about the "turn" of the authorities towards its development became traditional. It is a bit strange to read the quotations of officials who have repeatedly proclaimed this "turn" for several decades. Convenient was the political rhetoric about the need to defend the Southern Kuriles, to fight the Chinese "expansion." The nationalistic and isolationist sentiments that grew in the Far East amid growing external challenges and have not been overcome by genuine integration in the APR have always been successfully exploited by Russian politicians. Suffice it to recall the success in the Far East, and especially in Sakhalin, the LDPR in the Duma election 1993, followed by the formation of the most stable electorate of this party in the eastern regions of the country.
On the part of the authorities, it has become a certain tradition to react to the socio-economic and demographic problems of the Far East by launching certain federal programs designed to change the situation. It all began in 1994, just as the presidential power got stronger, and now we "celebrate" 20 years of federal efforts in the Far East. As if in response to geopolitical challenges from Japan and on suspicions of the opposition in its willingness to make concessions to it, the Russian leadership is adopting a federal targeted program for socio-economic development of the Kuril Islands at 1994-2005. In November, 1994 B. Yeltsin instructed the government to develop a program for long-term development of the Far East. Shortly before the presidential election of 1996 B. Yeltsin approved the first FTP of the socio-economic development of the entire Far East, and for a very long period 1996-2005. And until 2010 year. Being in Khabarovsk at that time, the president stated: "We will not be established as a great country if the Russian Far East is launched." Point solutions were adopted in the style of a "manual management" policy, such as the allocation of Chukotka from the federal budget to 1994-95. So-called. "Gold credit" in the amount of 11 tons of gold (which later fell into an unpaid debt to the regional budget). At times, the center actively intervened in the internal political situation in the Far East. In this regard, the presidential administration's attempt to resolve the conflict between the governor of the Primorsky Territory E.Nazdratenko and the mayor of Vladivostok V.Cherepkov is recalled, which caused a split in the presidential administration (and ended with Boris Yeltsin's decision to dismiss V.Cherepkov).
However, in conditions of acute resource shortage, the federal center was not able to finance in the 1990-ies. All declared programs. How the results were evaluated in zero years, the first program of the Far East development, adopted in 1996, was funded only by 9%. This, however, was the fate of most federal programs. It is not surprising that in the context of declarative attention of the federal government that was not backed by resources, the Far East lived its own life, people left or found new jobs, learned and, I must say, learned to survive, create their own business, etc.
The coming to power of V.Putin, happily coinciding with the sharp increase in the state's financial capabilities, made it possible to attempt to start building a model of management of the Far East that was already more thoughtful and provided with federal resources. A kind of tradition was the annual tour of the head of state in the eastern regions. The symbolic gesture of President D. Medvedev in 2010 was the first visit of the head of state to the Jewish Autonomous Region in post-Soviet history. V.Putin made a contribution to the symbolic policy by meeting in Khabarovsk a new 2014 year, not to mention, of course, about such a key event as the holding of an APEC summit in Vladivostok in 2012.
Perhaps we can say that the Far East is a personal project of V.Putin, who supervised him constantly and as president, and holding the post of prime minister. Regular visits, statements, PR campaigns, point solutions in the style of "manual management" - all this became an integral part of the management model, which was used in the Far East. Of course, the main organizing role in this process was played by the APEC summit in 2012 in Vladivostok, and approximately three years before it, Putin's attention, at that time of the head of government, to the Far East was particularly large. In the regime of "manual control" V.Putin had to deal with a lot of problems, such as liquidation of the consequences of the flood last year, attempts to save the plant "Amurmetal", etc.
An important factor of attention of the federal authorities to the Far East was the protest moods that grew there, which led to the strengthening of the opposition vote, as evidenced by the election cycle 1999-2000. Up to the middle of 1990-ies. The Far East was distinguished by a high level of support for liberal reforms and placed high hopes on political change (with the exception of the conservative Amur Region and the Jewish Autonomous Region with their high rural population). In the public moods of the Far East, there were two distinct trends: liberal, aimed at opening the region to the outside world, and nationalistic, on the contrary, connected with isolationist sentiments caused by fear of an external threat. By the end of 1990-ies. Supporters of all ideologies were disappointed. As a result, Putin's support in the Far East in the election of 2000 turned out to be one of the lowest in the country.
One of the new administrative forms was the Far Eastern Federal District, established in 2000. At the same time it quickly became clear that economic projects can not be concluded within its borders, which hamper the implementation of more ambitious and integrated programs. Therefore, the regions of Eastern Siberia, including the Trans-Baikal Territory (which otherwise would have remained Siberian backyard), then the whole Baikal region, capturing also the Buryatia and the Irkutsk Region, became part of the FTP and strategic documents. This, however, contributes to the erosion of attention to the Far East proper as a kind of region directly facing the Pacific Ocean. The administration of the federal district was initially perceived as fully centralized, Moscow was sending plenipotentiaries: General K.Pulikovsky was followed by former mayor of Kazan K.Ishakov, he was replaced by "a man with connections" O. Safonov. This trend was contrasted by the appointment of the ambassador of the Khabarovsk governor V.Ishayev to the plenipotentiary, but in 2013 the outsider for the region - Y.Trutnev - replaced him again.
Increased funding and the emergence of new projects in the bureaucratic state led to attempts to create a variety of management forms. Thus, in December 2006, a decision was taken to establish a state commission for socio-economic development of the Far East, the Republic of Buryatia, the Trans-Baikal Territory and the Irkutsk Region. In 2013, it was abolished, creating in its place a new government commission. In the government issues of the Far East for a long time in charge of the First Deputy Prime Minister I. Shuvalov. In 2012, it was decided to conduct a management experiment with the creation of a special ministry for the development of the Far East (Minskostokrazvitiya), whose head was simultaneously the plenipotentiary representative of the president in the Far Eastern Federal District (a similar experiment was earlier placed on another "special" territory - the North Caucasus , Where the posts of vice-premier and plenipotentiary are combined). In 2013, this experiment was continued along with personnel reshuffles: in the Far East, the posts of the deputy prime minister and plenipotentiary (as well as in the North Caucasus) are combined, and the Ministry of Regional Development is headed by a separate minister. The creation of Minskostokrazvitiya occurred in the conditions of an acute hardware conflict with the Ministry of Regional Development, which lost as a result an important tidbit.
The complex bureaucratic pyramid is not the only supporting structure of the Far Eastern development. A question regularly arises about the creation by the state of economic structures that would accumulate funds and direct them to investments. This institute did not really earn. Thus, as early as in 2011, the Fund for the Development of the Far East and the Baikal Region was established. But at the same time, on the part of government officials, proposals are being made to establish a state-owned company (moreover, in the form of an autonomous non-profit organization), the Development Fund for the Far East, OAO Development of the Far East, etc., which indicates the amorphous nature of the design interests.
The main fundamental difference of the modern management model is the sharply increased role of the federal center and related business. The regional "autonomies" of the Far East model 1990-ies. There were weak internal resources, which were enough to create a local business and ensure self-employment of the population. There were many untapped resources, there were no sources for large investments. It is curious that the arrival of "external" people, the "Varangians" associated with the way out of stagnation, was noted in the Far East and in the 1990-ies. The first example was the Sakhalin governorship of the Moscow professor-economist V. Fedorov in 1991-93, which was marked by projections and disagreements with local elites, who eventually gained the upper hand. A more serious experiment later became the Governor of R. Abramovich in Chukotka in 2000-2008, which, however, also failed to provide any economic breakthrough and soon became an example of social therapy.
I must say that with the transition to the appointment of governors, the center did not abuse the Far East with the practice of appointing "Varangians". In most regions, local elites have retained power, with the exception of the Amur Region (except that the governor O. Kozhemyako is still a Far East) and, more recently, the Primorsky Territory. At the same time, the main factor in the integration of the Far East into the vertical was not the rotation of the elite, but the clear dominance of the center in the allocation of resources and decision-making about the launch of certain projects.
Similarly, the position of local business, which was not able to ensure the development of the regions, began to occupy large private FIGs. They strengthened in the raw materials sector, mining coal, iron ore, precious metals (Surgutneftegaz, Mechel, Evraz, Petropavlovsk, Polymetal, Polyus Gold, etc.). Some FIGs, such as the Alliance group, have taken positions in various sectors of the economy - whether it is oil refining, aviation transport, mining of precious metals, etc. The coal miners and metallurgists "dismantled" the key port assets so that they work for their interests. In the Far East, companies have gradually emerged, whose owners are usually referred to the close circle of the country's leaders. The same APEC summit resulted in large-scale contractors of the federal level in Primorye.
Thus, the current model involves external economic management of the Far East. At its core is a complex bureaucratic structure in the government and presidential administration. Adjacent to it are state-dominated state corporations and a number of private financial-industrial groups. There was an actual reduction of the powers of the regional authorities, who can only hope for the success of federal projects and “be friends” with FIG. Filling regional budgets has also proved to be a secondary task, since all new projects are based on the provision of tax incentives. But if we talk about privileges, it is significant that in the Far East little use is made of the regime of special economic zones, which make it possible to develop the territory (although during the adoption of the law on special economic zones, the then economic development minister G. Gref talked about the priority of creating the SEZ in Siberia and in the Far East). There were many proposals for the creation of the SEZ on the territory of entire subjects of the federation (by analogy with the Kaliningrad region), there were local projects. As a result, not a single SEZ in the Far East can be called effective. But business breaks through privileges for specific fields, and not for the sake of the development of territories, and this is exactly what is happening successfully.
In these conditions, there is a high probability of conservation of the raw material model of the development of the Far East, which, moreover, does not guarantee growth in the long term. All key projects are related to the extraction, processing and transportation of raw materials. This in itself is not so bad. The effect for the Far East as a whole is unclear. In addition, for the "future" Far East raw materials markets are not guaranteed, and the ATR and China in particular should not be naively considered "constantly growing." There is absolutely no demand for liquefied natural gas, and Rosneft and Gazprom compete among themselves, offering projects that are not provided with either raw materials or a sales market. A major shortcoming of Russian products will be its high cost, due to which it will lose to Australian, Indonesian and other analogs.
Plus, of course, the rejection of the model 1990-ies, when Russia was counting on production sharing agreements, which would not bring her almost no benefits. Now, all the same, direct foreign investments are coming to the regions. The Sakhalin experience of regional growth, too, undoubtedly attracts. But he showed another: even, it would seem, very profitable commodity projects in the fuel and energy sector are implemented extremely slowly, it takes about 10-15 years. Now in Russia everywhere extend the deadlines for the implementation of new projects, and the same fate is clearly waiting for Far Eastern projects, the launch of which may not last for one decade, but in many cases will not happen at all. Indicative and actual failure of the mega-project of development of South Yakutia, which assumed at least some kind of complex development of the territory, but just because of this was unrealistic.
The desire to cope with domestic and foreign policy challenges, as well as the emergence of new resources in the state contributed to 2000-2002. the beginning of a long series of managerial and financial-economic experiments. From that time to the present, the problem begins to be different. Resources and the desire to engage the Far East from the federal center is. But there are too many managerial and near-state commercial structures fighting among themselves for influence and financial flows, and this diversity, on the one hand, allows to satisfy the interests of various groups of influence in the current regime, but, on the other hand, makes decision-making difficult. The Far East is favored by the federal center and has received a new management regime, but so far remains the raw material periphery of the country and the sum of not-so-numerous local projects. His withdrawal from the unstable state in the future depends on reducing the level of managerial contradictions and diversifying the Far Eastern economy.
Rostislav Turovsky was born in 1970 in Moscow. In 1992, he graduated from the Faculty of Geography of Moscow State University. Mv Lomonosov. Doctor of Political Sciences. He studied in the graduate school of the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Faculty of Philosophy of Moscow State University. Mv Lomonosov. He worked as a senior assistant at the Gorbachev Foundation, as a consultant and advisor at the Reform Foundation, as a senior, then as a leading researcher at the Russian Institute of Cultural and Natural Heritage. D.S. Professor of the Faculty of Political Science, Moscow State University. Mv Lomonosov. He was the vice-president of the Russian Association of Political Science. Currently he is working as Vice President of the Center for Political Technologies, Professor and Head of the Laboratory for Regional Political Studies at the National Research University - Higher School of Economics. Author of numerous scientific papers on political regionalism.