6.1. Concept of socio-economic development strategy of RF regions

(Represented by the Ministry of Regional Development to RF Government in 2006)

6.1.1 Problems of socio-economic development of RF regions

Current socio-economic situation in Russia caused most grave consequences for settlements, which were developed for accomplishment of previous geopolitical tasks (military-industrial centers, closed administrative areas, one-function settlements, utterly dependent from the technology of their enterprises etc). By experts judgments the annual RF losses, produced by inefficient spatial arrangement constitute some 2,25-3,0% from GDP. Engineering and social infrastructures often were developed in areas, where at this time they are not needed (e.g. 11-12% of electrogenerating power is not used for years, meantime in areas, which utterly need electric power there is a shortage of respective objects).
More than often infrastructures are outdated to the limit and their maintenance takes too much resources. E.g. experts note that 75% of the contemporary country housing stock is formed by precast concrete structures with highest power inputs in the world. Estimated thermal power deficiency in 190 cities is 20%.
Extractive industries tighten planned production capacity, absorb spare capital and best personnel. Most large projects on infrastructure developments last decade were carried out to provide transit economy. New large transport communications tie extractive areas with ports and boundary nodes to serve export. Deficiency of highly organized urban areas has become an obstacle for concentration in Russia of most important resources: qualified and mobile stuff, innovation techniques, brands, cultural values.
To the end of 1990s maximal breach of GRP per capita between Russian regions was 18,9: more, than the difference between "Golden billion" and poorest countries. To the beginning of 2000s the situation even worsened. By 2004 10-12 subjects of Federation create more than half of country GDP.
About a quarter of regions have but one-sector economy and these regions are very vulnerable to the economic shifts. Investments in Russia are predominantly concentrated on extractive industry, on large corporations, on big markets, but not on territorial klasters of production, competitive at the world scale.

Russian settlement system as the outcome of primary industrialization is not able to provide the reproduction of human resources within most regions. In 74 regions death rate exceeds birth rate. Since 1991 by 2001 the population of cities decreased by 3,4%. The village practically is not capable for self-reproduction. Under current birth-rate, death rate and without increase of immigration by 2050 the annual population losses may reach 1,8% and portion of pensionable aged population may enlarge from 20,5% (by census of 2002) to 34 - 35%. Reduction of RF population and general immigration trends, especially depopulation of areas bordering country boundaries in Siberia and Far East, create impartial prerequisites for the replacement of aboriginal population by emigrants from bordering countries and constitute conditions for geopolitical instability. Reduced number of children and teenagers may generate the crisis of manpower resources, difficulties for reproduction and development of material and intellectual country potential. By some factors (undeveloped housing market and transport, imperfect recording institutions) the territorial mobility of population, very important for economic progress, is restrained. Obsolete education institution is unable to supply the production by properly qualified stuff.
Within RF territory are formed "enclaves of unemployment and economic stagnation" which boundaries coincide with boundaries of some ethnic and religion groups. Such a regional features under certain conditions may produce conflicts and the threat for social and political stability. The current budget levelling policy does not encourage economic development: leading regions loose the motives for development, backward regions keep dependant positions. The valid General Scheme of RF Territorial Development, embracing federal priorities regarding certain regions, capable to solve national tasks (GDP redoubling, poverty reduction, country integrity preservation) is absent. Different aspects of territorial planning activity are distributed among different departments. Reformation of infrastructures (as transport, communication, power engineering, housing maintenance) are not coordinated and synchronized at territorial level.

6.1.2 Principles of federal policy directed to regional development

Among key principles of federal policy there are proposed as follows:
Principle of polarized (or focused) development instead of the current budget levelling policy. New principle anticipates focusing of financial, managerial, human and other resources in some "reference regions" ("development poles" or "development engines") and expansion of innovative activity to other regions. So e.g. region of Paris dominates in France, Lombardi in Italy, agglomerations of Madrid and Barcelona in Spain, Tokyo, Kinky and Tokay in Japan etc.
There must be established new tools for the support of strategic projects of regional development: within frames of approved strategic priorities for regions Federation is to issue grants of support regional initiatives.
There must be within RF designated zones, different by goals and actions regulating socio-economic development:

  • row materials zones;
  • safety zones (some adjacent to state boundaries, fraught with conflicts or crisis);
  • zones of technological transfer;
  • zones of innovative development;
  • zones capable to become "world cities";
  • old industrial regions;
  • areas, formed but by primary industrialization.

Subsidiary principle: decentralization of power as much as local and regional tiers are capable to manage situations.

Region may be considered as "development engine" if it meets to following requirements:

  • regional passenger and cargo traffic flows are steadily growing;
  • region has research and educational center of federal or world-wide importance;
  • in region (or city agglomeration) is formed strategic initiative important for the country;
  • region is marked by its high research, technical, intellectual, skilled workers and socio-economic potential;
  • regional input to GDP is significant;
  • in region is achieved or may be achieved strategic partnership of authorities, civil society and business;
  • within 10-12 years region may take the position as the developer for adjacent areas.

Totality of regions-development engines will form new framework of the spatial organization of Russia. This new structure may be incorporated by not only subjects of Federation, but by cities, agglomerations of cities, tied up by commonality of economy, social being, by common transportation networks. "Reference regions" shall be designated by the General Scheme of RF Territorial Development, where must be established regional functions and respective national tasks.

Reference regions may be supported at the expense:

  • Development of infrastructures, first of all transportation ones; endowment of some transport nodes and corridors by federal status (federal importance); attachment of inward transport communications to international corridors; development of transport communications capable to encourage population mobility (speed railroads, freeways, air-transport hubs).
  • Allocation in reference regions of territorial branches of federal authorities; endowment of reference regions by specific economic status.
  • Support of economic pilot projects and cultural initiatives of federal importance; allocation of socio-cultural establishments of federal importance (national universities as centers of university districts, large cultural complexes, objects of infrastructure serving innovative economic etc.); forming the system of professional education considering interests of regional groups; forming of institutes capable to accept and to adopt migrants.


The production policy of modern society has more regional, than sectoral vector. High territorial competitiveness is based on strong positions of some klasters, which are represented by groups of geographically concentrated enterprises, mutually tied sectors, capable to support each other. Klasters might be specified by competitive environment within them and by klasters' competitive position at the world market.

6.1.3 Improvement of state and municipal management in regions

Prior tasks for the federal strategy of regional development include administrative reform at federal tier; implementation of new budget tools (financing of actions directed to certain established results) and private-state partnership. To improve the quality of management at subfederal levels must be anticipated actions as follows:

  • Performance and adoption of federal program of assistance to socio-economic reforms at regional and local tiers; encouragement of incentives to implement strategic planning tools.
  • Creation of the federal system capable to monitor regional socio-economic indicators.
  • Assistance to interregional coordination of decisions on economic policy.
  • Revelation and dissemination of the best regional and municipal practices on socio-economic reformations.

For the successful implementation of the development strategy the performance of the General Scheme of RF Territorial Development is indispensable. The Scheme key task is to produce zoning of RF territory including:

  • designation of territorial types for the establishment of differentiated respective economic, social and regional policies;
  • definition of functions and socio-economic development perspectives of the key strategic country regions;
  • establishment of essential transformation of the RF settlement system;
  • description of most important migration streams and respective regulation tools;
  • designation of tools to be used with the aim to synchronize essential strategies of infrastructures development.

On the base of General Scheme shall be formed location plans for objects at different levels (as objects of federal energy systems, defense and safety, transport, information service, space technology etc.), location and development of specific land use requirements zones (as nature protection and other set by legislation). General Scheme is to be performed in close association with the performance of other territorial planning documents, stipulated by RF Urban Development Code for different tiers. General Scheme must be accomplished by 2009. Its principles must be established by the law on RF spatial development. Besides is needed a law on transboundary cooperation and joining the Russia to respective European Protocols.
There is necessity to extend the activity of existing Interdepartmental coordinating commission working under the Ministry of regional development. This commission must:

  • to estimate Strategy and to insert necessary amendments;
  • to estimate implementation of federal programs and to issue proposals on amendments;
  • to prepare drafts of amendments to white papers, regulating socio-economic development of RF regions;
  • to examine territorial aspects of the economic and social reforms going with the aim to prevent negative outcomes for regions.


6.1.4 Strategy implementation phases

At the first "project and research" stage (2005-2006) shall be performed investigations on constraints for socio-economic development of regions and organized concordance process regarding regional development priorities. As the result of the stage shall be the General Scheme directions.
At the second stage (2007-2010) shall be adopted the system of the state regulative measures, including white papers, aimed to guarantee General Scheme implementation.
At the third "system transformation" stage (2011-2020) must be accomplished the implementation of programs and of the General Scheme of RF Territorial Development.