Cluster Development Strategy is yet to Start in Russian Regions

16 february 2018 | RBC

According to RBC+, the most successful economies in the world develop on the basis of innovative territorial clusters. Russia started creating such system of clusters 5 years ago and so far it hasn't proved effective everywhere.

Anton Steshenko
Anton Steshenko
Department for Strategic Development, Public Administration and Regional Policy

There are a number of factors that can hold back the development of clusters, according to Analytical Center expert Anton Steshenko. The expert claims that the most significant such factor is lack of trust between the different players in the Russian economy.

"Long-term close cooperation is only possible between partners that trust each other and in Russia, unfortunately, trust is still a commodity that is in short supply and this is holding back the development of clusters," Mr. Steshenko believes. According to the expert, another factor that can hold clusters back is the market volume. "Normally, for clusters to survive and prosper over the long term they need access to big markets and that's one reason why clusters hardly ever develop in remote regions with low consumer demand and underdeveloped infrastructure, including logistics and sales infrastructure," he explains.

"The Russian program for supporting clusters to a large extent takes into account the best practices of other countries. At the same time, in Europe, innovative clusters are far more involved in the development of regional development strategies, the decision-making process regarding the smart specialization of the regions as well as being integrated into the international cooperation chains," Mr. Steshenko points out. The cluster development strategy is only just beginning to come on-line in the Russian regions and it may already need adjustments.

It should also be understood that clusters are living systems that change and evolve over time, Mr. Steshenko stresses. While successful today for a variety of reasons they may lose dynamism and prospects. Fast growing clusters often run into various barriers and restrictions as a result of which the implementation of joint projects may end up taking several years. This means that the governmental support system must be constantly adapted to take into account the specific features of each cluster and the development cycle stage it is at.

Source: RBC+