In connection with the preparation of the Spatial Development Strategy of the Russian Federation, the Analytical Center held a session entitled "Developing approaches to the shaping of macroregions". In his opening remarks, Deputy Head of the Analytical Center, Mikhail Pryadilnikov, noted that the spatial development project is now being developed under the law "On Strategic Planning", and the issue of shaping macroregions with regard to their specialization is thus paramount.
The experts discussed criteria and risks of shaping macroregions as well as other issues, including those of methodological nature. According to Elena Chygyevskaya, Head of the Strategic and Territorial Planning Department of the Ministry for Economic Development, the draft Strategy should be ready by October. Chygyevskaya noted that forming macroregions would make it possible to combine general infrastructural development with specific targeted state support.
However, the experts do not yet see eye to eye as to which criteria should be basic for demarcating macroregions.
Irina Grishina, Head of the Theory and Methodology Department of the CSPF RFTA believes that macroregions are formed for public policy purposes and their function is to align development plans. Each macroregion may have a territorial development program adopted to ensure correlation with state programs designed for the development of particular territories. The expert believes that the number of macroregions should vary from 8 to 16, with their territories being preferably smaller than current Federal Districts. The Federal Districts thus perform administrative and management functions, while maсroregions serve for analytical ones.
"The number of macroregions must be justified with relevant economic research, - stated Deputy Head of the Macroeconomic Policies and Cluster Analysis Department of Vnesheconombank, Ivan Ognev. "Management potential of the country's leadership coupled with the expert opinion will allow completing this research and establishing a new administrative structure which will spur up Russia's development."
The experts endorsed this view, underlining that the already existing integrity had not changed for decades for obvious reasons and should be treated with due diligence.
After hearing the reports, the experts engaged into a lively discussion.