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Russia’s Arctic development program to boost social, economic sphere in region

March 07, 2014, 0:35 UTC+3 ST. PETERSBURG
1 pages in this article

ST. PETERSBURG, March 07,  /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s state policy on the Arctic area development faces the main obstacle in terms of its implementation in the absence of a provisions specifying the revenues. Along with it, high spending on various aspects of activity is envisaged in the programme for Arctic area development up to 2020, the Russian presidential envoy for the North-Western Federal District, Vladimir Bulavin, told Itar-Tass on Thursday.

“If there was money for implementation, there would be a programme,” he said at a roundtable discussion devoted to the implementation of Russia’s state policy in the Arctic that was attained by experts and representatives from the country’s northern regions.

A number of basic documents have been approved, including the ones related to state policy in the Arctic area up to 2020 and a strategy of development and security, the envoy said adding that they “failed to solve major problems which are to identify the Arctic region as an independent constituent entity, and to pin down its borders by a federal law and to adopt the state program.”

The Arctic area as seen in the state program is constituted of seven Russian regions, including those which are part of the North-Western Federal District - the Murmansk region and the Nenets Autonomous District as well as part of the Arkhangelsk region. An official of the Russian Economic Development Ministry, Andrey Vasilyev, said that an initiative to incorporate Vorkuta locality /the Komi Republic/ was under consideration with a view to increasing the level of the region’s social and economic development.

Vasilyev said the program had been estimated at 562 trillion roubles (1 U.S. dollar = 36.12 roubles) but at present the budget did not envisage any financing for the years 2014 and 2015.

The participants in a roundtable came forward with suggestions to amend the federal law on the Arctic area and single out the Extreme North District from it. The experts believe a law on the borders and facilities of the Arctic area is badly needed, while investment and economic activity should be better stimulated, and the policy towards human resources in accordance with prospects for existing projects /increase of the population or introduction of the rotation system/ should also be properly considered as it will impact the social sphere in this region. Scientific research and the setting up of a tourism and recreation cluster should be pondered.

Besides, a permanent monitoring of the ecological situation in the Arctic is expected to be established and preventive measures for safe impact on the environment are to be elaborated.

All the proposals will be submitted to Russia’s Security Council that is due to tackle the Arctic development at its session in late March.

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