On Thursday, there was a meeting of the State Council presidium that focused on the development of the Russian Far East and the Trans-Baikal Territory during which President Vladimir Putin was indignant over the fact that the state program for the region development is still not ready. According to him, the money allocated for this rich in resources and poor in terms of the living standards territory is fading. The meeting again discussed the idea of establishing a state corporation for the Far East development.
The state program for the development of the Far East and the Trans-Baikal Territory has not been adopted still, but the money that is allocated to this rich in resources and poor in terms of living standards region is fading, Putin, quoted by the RBC Daily, complained to the government.
The state program for the economic and social development of the region had to be adopted by the government by July 1, but the document has not been finalised yet. “The funds allocated for the development of the region are fading,” the president stated and set the deadline for the state program – the first quarter of 2013. The region is rich: it has forests, pure water and abundant mineral resources, the RF head of state continued. But people in the zone of the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) “still live in makeshift huts that cannot even be called dwelling.”
The Kremlin in recent years has channelled major money flows to the Far East. “1.1 trillion roubles in investment in 2010 are unprecedented funds,” Minister for the Far East Development Viktor Ishayev stressed commenting on the scale of the allocations. The gross regional product started to grow even faster than the average Russian. However, this is not enough, Putin believes. The government’s task is to make the region a leading one and stop its use exclusively as a source of raw materials.
Mentioning the “dilution of responsibility” and the “work failures,” the RF president even reanimated the idea of the creation of the state corporation for the Far East development. The newspaper recalls that this spring this idea was sacrificed for the sake of the Far East Development Ministry creation.
The president and government were divided in the opinion on the Far East development methods, the Vedomosti newspaper believes. Putin questioned the decision of Medvedev’s subordinates to abandon the idea of creating the Far East corporation; the officials admit the presence of the managerial crisis.
The Ministry for the Far East Development has so far failed to live up to its mission, Putin stated. The financial and material resources are being diluted, and plans often remain only on paper, there is the “dilution of responsibility and work failures,” he rebuked Minister Ishayev.
Deputy speaker of the Federation Council upper house of parliament Vyacheslav Shtyrov joined the criticism. According to him, the Federation Council proposes to adopt a set of laws for the development of the region, including for the establishment of the Far East corporation, as Sergei Shoigu proposed earlier. Putin in response to this asked to give him the generalised document and said that he is “ready to return” to the issue of the regional development corporation creation, although “far from all share such an approach.”
The establishment of the corporation, the Vedomosti daily writes, was actively discussed at the beginning of the year. The Economic Development Ministry prepared a draft law: the new structure was to attract investment, prepare and coordinate project documentation, ensure connection to the networks, help to obtain construction permits, without a tender distribute lands and licenses for the use of subsoil and forests. Shoigu was ready himself to become its head, however, was appointed governor of the Moscow Region, and then - RF Defence Minister. Without such a strong leader as Shoigu the idea of a corporation with wide-ranging powers became irrelevant, a government official explained. Dmitry Medvedev also objected to the creation of another state corporation. So, the ministry responsible for the development of the Far Eastern district appeared instead of it.
The RF government members in different ways reacted to the revival of the idea of the state corporation. Economic Development Minister Andrei Belousov believes that there is a reason in this. And Ishayev called “nonsense” the supposition that his ministry could turn into a state corporation, because “it is groundless.”
The decision has not yet been made by the president, and his aide Yuri Trutnev is cautious: the government will be instructed to work out a new model for the development of the region, and it is unclear so far whether it will envisage the creation of a new structure or changing the state administration system.