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"Yakutia sets an excellent example of the Arctic policy"
Experts are confident that the republic can become a leader in terms of socio-economic development in the Russian Arctic
The authorities of Yakutia approved a strategy for the socio-economic development of the Arctic zone. The new document covers the period until 2035. Achievement of the target indicators will ensure the breakthrough development of the social and industrial spheres in the Arctic zone of the republic. Experts interviewed by EastRussia are confident that the implementation of this strategy can bring Yakutia into the ranks of the leaders among the Arctic regions in terms of socio-economic development and make it a driver for the development of the Russian Arctic.
The Yakutsk Arctic is a huge territory, the area of which is 1 608,8 thousand square meters. km or more than half of the entire republic. In the north, its natural boundaries are formed by the Laptev and East Siberian seas; the total length of the sea coastline exceeds 4,5 thousand km. In the west it borders on the Krasnoyarsk Territory, in the east - on the Chukotka Autonomous Region, in the south - on six municipal regions of the republic: Mirninsky, Nyurbinsky, Vilyuisky, Kobyaysky, Tomponsky and Oymyakonsky.
The Arctic zone of Yakutia includes 13 out of 35 regions of the republic. Eight regions were included in the Arctic zone last year by decree of the country's President Vladimir Putin. This is the result of many years of purposeful work by the leadership of the republic.
The head of Yakutia, Aisen Nikolaev, highly appreciates the importance of such a decision, since inclusion in the Arctic zone of Russia, which is recognized as a priority geostrategic territory of the country, presupposes a special approach and support from the state to the development of these regions.
THE QUALITY OF LIFE
Improving the quality of life is the main challenge facing the authorities of the republic, says Alexander Vorotnikov, associate professor at the Institute of Social Sciences of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, coordinator of the Expert Council of the PORA Expert Center (Project Office for the Development of the Arctic).
"The main direction of the state policy of the republic is to improve the quality of life of the population with the achievement of values of indicators of social development of the Arctic zone of Yakutia not lower than the average values in the Russian Federation by 2024," he said.
Under the leadership of the head of the region, Aysen Nikolaev, a lot has already been done to support the northerners. In 2019, Nikolaev exempted residents of the Arctic territories from paying transport tax for an indefinite period, and the debt on this tax was written off. Similar decisions were made at the district level on land tax and property tax of individuals. The region has approved the state program for the development of the Arctic zone for 2020-2024, Arctic sections are highlighted in 16 state programs of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). About 35 billion rubles are provided for its implementation.
For the first time in the republic this year, the implementation of the "Young Reindeer Herder" program began, which involves the allocation of one million rubles to reindeer breeders of the Arctic regions under the age of 35, who have worked in the industry for at least four years, to improve their living conditions. They will be able to use this money for the construction of their own housing or for the purchase of housing on the secondary market.
An important task in the development of the Arctic uluses of Yakutia is to increase the incomes of the population of the Arctic regions, who are mainly engaged in traditional types of farming. Therefore, federal support is very important for the implementation of this project. A new project for retention of personnel in the Arctic regions is the “Teacher of the Arctic” program. It allows for targeted training of teachers for work in the Arctic regions. After working five years in the north, young teachers receive certificates for housing.
The republic has initiated a comprehensive project "Children of the Arctic". It includes such areas as: recreation and health improvement of children living in special climatic conditions, the development of Arctic education, including nomadic schools, distance education. The Children of the Arctic project is being prepared for adoption as part of a new state program for the socio-economic development of the Arctic territories of the Russian Federation. The republic's initiative to develop the Children of the Arctic subprogram at the federal level was supported by the rest of the Arctic regions of Russia.
As part of the activities of the subprogram, it is planned to finance the departure of children from the Arctic regions for summer recreation, the participation of gifted children in All-Russian and interregional Olympiads and creative competitions, the publication of educational literature on the native languages of indigenous peoples.
Another challenge, the solution of which is defined in the new strategic document, is overcoming the transport problem. There is no year-round land transport system connecting the Arctic zone with neighboring territories and settlements within the zone. All passenger transportation, both in long-distance and intra-regional traffic, is carried out only by air, while seasonal modes of transport are also used for freight transportation - winter roads and inland waterways. According to the authorities of Yakutia, the share of transport costs in the cost of the final product is several times higher than the average Russian level, reaching 40-70%, and the cost of imported products can exceed 80%.
According to Aleksey Fadeev, Doctor of Economics, Leading Researcher at the Institute of Economic Problems of the KSC RAS named after Luzin, Professor of the Higher School of Management and Business at Peter the Great St. to promote its transformation into a competitive territory with a developed service sector and service economy.
According to the expert, the implementation of large energy and industrial projects in the Arctic has a positive impact on the development of the port of Tiksi, one of the key ports on the Northern Sea Route. Located on the coast of the Laptev Sea, the port of Tiksi is one of the strategic transport and logistics centers for life support on the coast of the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea, as well as in the estuaries of the Lena, Yana, Indigirka, Kolyma and other rivers.
"A feature of the geographical position of the seaport of Tiksi is its role as a connecting hub between the Eastern and Western Arctic at the crossroads of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) - a single transport route in the Arctic that unites regional transport subsystems of the North of the European part of Russia, Siberia and the Far East," Fadeev.
With all the technical difficulties of shipping in the Arctic, geographically, the NSR is the shortest route connecting Europe with the Far East and western North America. The potential cargo for this highway is not only transit.
The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) is and in the long term will remain one of the main regions providing an increase in oil and gas production in Russia.
"At the moment, a large number of hydrocarbon deposits have been explored in the republic, significant volumes of promising and predicted resources, and there are also tangible prospects for future discoveries," the expert said.
The beginning of the development of the republic's oil and gas resources, as well as promising projects on the shelf with an increase in the volume of transportation of goods and hydrocarbons will inevitably lead to the fact that the port of Tiksi may become one of the industrial bases for future projects for the extraction of oil and gas resources in the Arctic.
Of course, the tasks of modernizing the infrastructure of the port of Tiksi, carrying out dredging works, updating the crane and loading and unloading facilities on its territory are closely linked with the task of developing the NSR.
Marine transport services can turn into the largest export item of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation after oil and gas raw materials.
“With a competent strategy of participation in Arctic projects, the republic, positioning itself as an important transport and logistics hub, will be able to receive a major source of income. In addition, it will be largely insured against risks associated with the prospect of deteriorating price conditions on the world hydrocarbon markets. It is important to remember that the comprehensive implementation of the transport and transit potential of the region has powerful multiplicative and complex-forming effects, ”Fadeev emphasized.
It is obvious that solving this issue requires state support, effective inter-sectoral cooperation and all-round consolidation of political and economic resources.
“And Yakutia is able to make its significant contribution to the implementation of this strategic task for Russia,” the expert concluded.
EXAMPLE FOR OTHERS
According to experts, Yakutia has unique experience in the protection and protection of permafrost. In Russia, about 60% of the territory is located in this zone. Experts are concerned with the issues of curbing the degradation of permafrost.
“And Yakutia is already following this path. Two years ago, a regional law "On the protection of permafrost" was adopted here. The experience of Yakutia is being studied at the federal level. Without a doubt, it will be taken into account when preparing a plan for adaptation to climate change, which is being prepared by the Ministry for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic. In order to coordinate activities on the problems of permafrost degradation, a coordinating working group on the permafrost zone of the Russian Arctic and Subarctic has been created on the basis of the PORA, ”Vorotnikov noted.
Since the beginning of the development of the federal bill "On state support for entrepreneurial activity in the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation" Yakutia got involved in the work on the bill. The Republic of Sakha is one of the most active regions of Russia in terms of preparing proposals and amendments to the draft law, which is not surprising: half of its territory is attributed to the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation, practice has been accumulated, measures of special state support for the socio-economic development of the Arctic regions (uluses) have been created, line ministry.
The main part of the proposals of the Yakut side was taken into account in the final version of the bill. Provisions are especially important in terms of protecting the interests of the indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North. The rules on the possibility of compulsory seizure of land plots and on the creation of a collegial governing body of the Russian Arctic were also excluded, in order to support small and medium-sized businesses, the volume of investments for acquiring the status of a resident of the Arctic zone was reduced to one million rubles, the proposal to create a Public Council to control activities was supported. resident companies, a rule was introduced on the signing of agreements on the socio-economic development of industrial development territories with local authorities.
In general, Yakutia sets an excellent example for other regions of the Arctic zone of the country, implementing its Arctic policy, says Alexander Vorotnikov.
“Yakutia was one of the first to systematically start implementing the decree of the President of the Russian Federation of March 5, 2020 No. 164" On the Fundamentals of State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Arctic for the Period up to 2035 ". And already a month later, in order to implement the strategic priorities of the Russian Federation in the Arctic, to solve key problematic issues of the Arctic zone of the republic, the head of Yakutia, Aisen Nikolaev, approved the main directions of the republic's state policy in the Arctic zone of the region for the period until 2024. All the main directions of development of the Arctic zone of Yakutia are reflected in the decree, ”the expert concluded.