"Strategies for the development of macro-regions must be developed and treated as investment management documents focused on projects that help achieve the regional development goals and national development goals outlined in the presidential decree. To that end, such strategies must take into account the opinion of the regions," stated Mikhail Pryadilnikov, Deputy Head of the Analytical Center, as he opened a round table on approaches to developing a new generation of development strategies for macro-regions.
He noted that development strategies for macro-regions were being developed on orders from the government of the Russian Federation and constituted an integral part of the spatial (i.e. geographic) development strategy of Russia adopted this February.
Strategies are to be developed for 12 macro-regions, according to Aleksey Elin, Acting Head of the Department for the Planning of Territorial Development of the Ministry for Economic Development. He says that experts divided the country into macro-regions after assessing which territories in the country had the most economic links while sharing migration processes. "The main criteria are territorial and geographic characteristics, similarity of socio-economic conditions, we also took into account the differences between federal districts," Mr Elin explained.
On the whole, the strategies are expected to spur socio-economic development in the regions, bring about faster economic growth, foster inter-regional cooperation, promote planning and implementation of major investment projects, the experts noted.
"The goal of the strategies is to create conditions for cooperation between the regions while solving problems that span several regions," added Pavel Chistyakov, Vice President of the Center for Infrastructure Economics. In his opinion this will promote progress in the territories that have not been included in national projects. "These include construction of bridges in regional centers, implementation of projects in the real sector of the economy for which there are specific business initiatives, like construction of a water aqueduct in Stavropol Krai that is needed to implement a major investment projects. In Sverdlovsk region they want to build a major transportation and logistics center that will be serving the neighboring regions. Some infrastructure is needed for it that the region can't finance. We're talking about the projects that the regions need to cooperate with each other to implement," Mr Chistyakov explained.
During the round table representatives of the regional government talked about what they wanted to see in the documents under development. Thus the Arkhangelsk region representatives noted that the document could solve the problem of expensive energy in the country's north, improve transport accessibility and establish more economic links between the northern territories. The government of the Novgorod region believes that the document needs to define inter-regional support measures for the Silver Necklace of Russia project which seeks to promote cultural and historical hubs in the country's north west. Meanwhile, the Saint Petersburg representative suggested that a mechanism of concessions between the regions and the federal center be developed as part of the strategy to solve inter-regional problems such as construction of major infrastructure facilities.