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Beyond common approaches

Separate problems of the Far East raised at a separate meeting

The visiting session of the Federation Council committee on federal structure, regional politics, local self-government and Northern affairs, held last week in Khabarovsk, turned out to be hot for emotions and discussions. The EastRussia correspondent observed the participants and came to the conclusion that today, even the newly approved state program for the development of the macroregion is not a panacea.

Beyond common approaches
Photo: Valery Spidlen,

How can priority be "postponed"?

The first version of the state program "Socio-economic development of the Far East and the Baikal region" was released in 1996 year. Since then, she has undergone several changes. And two editions - in 2014 and in 2016 years - already fell on a period of heightened attention to the Far East, which was opened with the famous message of President Vladimir Putin, who declared the development of the Far East as a national priority for the entire 21st century.

Since then, a lot of positive events have taken place, about which, in particular, Artur Niyazmetov, Deputy Minister for Development of the Far East, reported at a meeting of the Federation Council committee. So, according to him, thanks to the creation of priority development territories and state support for investment projects, one ruble of public investment attracts an average of 12 rubles of private investment. As a result, this will make it possible to additionally attract about 2 trillion 660 billion rubles of private investment to the development of the Far East. 13 priority development territories have been created, 94 agreements with residents have been signed in the free port of Vladivostok, 13 investment projects have received support, 1572 applications have been submitted for obtaining a "Far Eastern hectare" [At the time of publication of the material - already 5842 applications - ER ER], The Fund for the Development of the Far East and the Baikal Region has selected 12 projects for financing, the Eastern Economic Forum has already been held twice, and so on. All this, Arthur Niyazmetov points out, will lead to the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs, to a significant multiplier effect and the future growth of budget revenues at all levels.

At the same time, the meeting participants agreed that, despite all the efforts being made, one of the main impediments to the development of the Far East today is ... insufficient funding. Dmitry Azarov, chairman of the Federation Council Committee on the Federal Structure, Regional Policy, Local Self-Government and the Affairs of the North, said that "the deferred priority, in my opinion, is not a priority." 

It was meant, since the President of the country designated the Far East as such, so, under its development, money should also exist.

The program was accepted, but there is no money again

However, money is just the problem. And, by the way, it began before the crisis. According to Dmitry Azarov, immediately after the adoption of the state program for 2014, funding was cut by 16,8 percent, in 2015 - by about 40 percent.

By the way, in the updated version of the state program in the section "resource support" there are figures: 20 billion 113 million 781,7 thousand rubles for 2014 year and 25 billion 205 million 298 thousand rubles for 2015 year. At 2016 this amount is much larger - 46 billion 652 million 279,4 thousand rubles. And exactly the same amount should be allocated annually up to 2025 year. It's on paper.

In reality, the situation is somewhat different. Yes, according to Sergei Zavyalov, head of the reserve funds department of the Department of Interbudgetary Relations of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, 2016 looks quite good for itself: "Taking into account the updated list, our budget allocations under the program are 48 thousand rubles." But in subsequent years, the picture is not so rosy. 668 billion rubles are planned for 600, 2017 billion rubles for 33,36, and 2018 billion 12,315 million rubles for 2019.

And this despite the fact that it is spelled out in black and white in the state program - annually 46 billion 652 million 279,4 thousand rubles.

But the head of the department of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation does not see anything catastrophic in this. According to Sergei Zavyalov, "The Finance Ministry will return to consideration of the 2018-2019 years when considering the next budget cycle for those positions where we have a disparity in the passport of the state program, so that it would be understood that everything will not remain as flat as it is now."

But the real problem is the performers.

The Ministry for the Development of the Far East believes that it is unacceptable to cut funding. “We have a state program for this and need to live more than one year. We will not be able to work with our instruments within one year, so that you just understand. How can you conclude an agreement with an investor that he will invest 10 billion rubles and promise him that next year we will return to the issue of co-financing the facilities that provide infrastructure? ”, Deputy Minister for Development of the Far East Artur Niyazmetov addressed the representative of the Ministry of Finance ... And he gave an example of the Kuriles federal target program: in 2016, Rostelecom was supposed to start laying a submarine cable. But the company did not start doing anything, because it did not see funds for this in the budget for 2018.

Zavyalov commented on the Kurils that, they say, this was not taken into account in the position of the working group of the budget commission, where, in addition to raising funds from the Sakhalin Oblast budget, it was said about attracting extra-budgetary sources, because this is one of the important elements for the development of the Kurils. Niyazmetov flared up: “Solve the question. Have you been to the Kuril Islands? Well, if you visit, you will understand that fantasies that some private investor wants to build a hospital or a road for another private investor, they have nothing to do with ... ". This is how mutual understanding reigns between the executive authorities.

And if there is money, it is difficult to master

But not only the lack of money is the problem. The problem is that even if there is money, it is hard to master it. At the last meeting, those present seemed to be competing in who would name what figure of the financial performance of the program. It was announced that as of July 1, 2016, expenditures under the state program amounted to only 8,1 percent, although for the same period last year it was 17,3 percent. That as of August 1, 2016, only 15,1 percent were fulfilled. And if we talk about the 2014th and 2015th years, then the balances of unused funds for them amounted to 2,4 billion rubles for two years.

But the fact remains - indeed, the execution of the state program leaves much to be desired.

And, as a matter of fact, the performers themselves are almost shouting that something needs to be done about it. So, the governor of the Khabarovsk Territory Vyacheslav Shport asked the representative of the Ministry of Finance a specific question: “What prevents any ministry from starting to finance a region under the program from January 1, any program? Why aren't they giving out money on January 1? " And he explained that the money goes to the Territory's Road Fund in April, in July (it happened even in October), then tenders are held, and then freezing temperatures, the ground freezes and that's it. So much for your roads. So much for the development of federal money under the state program.

Sectoral struggles with territorial

With respect to the Far East, a problem emerged that can be described figuratively: "the struggle between territorial and sectoral". The fact is that everything in our country is built on a sectoral principle, including legislation. And then a separate macroregion - the Far East - and even the entire territorial ministry in the bargain. Naturally, he finds the braid on the stone.

Here are just a couple of excerpts.

Deputy Minister of the Far East Arthur Niyazmetov: "Explanations of the Ministry of Finance [About underfunding - approx. ER]  Are reduced to the need to refuse to implement new activities. This general approach is used in the formation of the budget. But we believe that this general approach in our case is unacceptable, since we actually formed a state program from scratch, and everything that is provided for in it is new. "

Head of the Committee of the Federation Council Dmitry Azarov: “In your speeches [Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation - ER approx] Often sounded: according to common approaches ... Listen, we have a task that here stands in the Far East, it does not fit into common approaches. In our country, the very existence of the ministry does not fit into common approaches. "

Particular resistance from all ministries causes the need to include a special "Far Eastern section" on the use of increasing coefficients in the distribution of interbudgetary transfers and taking into account the minimum co-financing share of 5 percent in all government programs. There are only five such “correct” programs today. For all the rest (and we have 27 state programs in total - ed.) There is a "slack" and when it is resolved - the question.

Questions strategic and mundane

But that's not all. At present, there is no Spatial Development Strategy in Russia that would take into account the development of regions. Regions, in turn, have developed their own strategies, but cannot accept them, because there is no common, federal one. And with the federal law “On Strategic Planning in the Russian Federation” everything is not clear either. As the head of the committee of the Federation Council, Dmitry Azarov, said, addressing the representative of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, “despite the fact that the Ministry of Economic Development promised us that the deadlines [Introduction of the law - approx. ER] will not be transferred, right at the meeting of the Council of the Federation, literally three months later, changes were made to the law with the initiative to postpone the deadline. ” And since there is no common strategy, what kind of effective development of the regions can we talk about?

Representatives of the regions at this meeting posed, in general, mundane questions - on solving the housing problems of the citizens of the Far East, on staffing the development of the macroregion, on the construction of social infrastructure and the development of aviation.

But, as Deputy Minister of the Far East Arthur Niyazmetov said: "Answers to most of the issues require legislative consolidation. In this regard, we consider it extremely important that an early adoption of the draft federal law, on which the group is currently working in the Federation Council under the leadership of respected Vyacheslav Anatolievich [Shtyrova - approx. ER]. What was meant was a working group to draft a federal law “On special conditions for the accelerated development of the Far East and the Baikal Region”, which three years ago developed a comprehensive law on the development of the macroregion under the guidance of Senator Shtyrov.

There was a time about this law "forgotten." The reasons for this were many: monetary, and "industry", and others. But as life shows, one cannot do without such a law. Let it be big, costly and versatile, but it will remove a lot of problems that have accumulated in the Far East. You can “pull out” individual “pieces” from it, such as TORs, “Far Eastern hectares”, laws on free ports, averaging electricity tariffs, but in the end the picture still does not work out.

"We come to the conclusion that we need to return to the issue and take all the same comprehensive law on the development of the Far East, because many issues have remained behind the scenes. Especially those issues that relate to the social sphere and the consolidation of cadres in the Far East, "said Vyacheslav Shtyrov, a member of the Federation Council, Plenipotentiary Representative of the Federation Council in government agencies for the development of the Far East, Eastern Siberia and the Arctic. He stressed that work on the law was resumed and at the end of the autumn session of the Federation Council the draft will be submitted for consideration by the Government of the Russian Federation. 

"Next, we will have a common task - in a good sense, to lobby the adoption of this law together," he concluded.

By the way, at the very beginning of his speech the representative of the Ministry for the Development of the Far East noted that the approach to the development of the Far East is being transformed. Here, the new program was approved. But, as life shows, and this meeting in particular, first of all should transform not the approach, but ourselves and those who make decisions with respect to the Far East. Surprisingly, Russian citizens have to prove the difference between life in the central part of Russia and the Far East. And to prove to fully educated people. 

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