The simplest parameter showing the level of economic development in a region is the per capita gross regional product

18 june 2015 | Kommersant

The Russian economy is highly centralised, the Kommersant claims. Because the federal government only pays attention to their favourite regions the gap between the leaders and stragglers is getting wider every year. Experts suggested that instead of focusing on regions with well-developed raw materials and financial sectors the government should instead focus on planning state programmes and development of domestic technologies.

Alexander Golyashev
Alexander Golyashev
Department for Research Studies

The paper cites the classification used in the studies of the Analytical Center of the Russian Government: Russia's developed regions are the financial centers such as Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Moscow Region as well as regions where major export-oriented raw materials production is concentrated such as the Republic of Komi, Yakutiya, Sakhalin and Tyumen Region. "The most straightforward statistic you can look at to get an idea of how well a region is doing is the per capita gross regional product," the Analytical Center's expert Alexander Golyashev comments on the results, "If we forget about autonomous districts the three regions with the largest per capita gross regional product in 2013 were Tyumen Region (RUR 1,422,000 per person per year) and Sakhalin (RUR 1,368,000 per person per year) followed by Moscow (966,000 roubles per person per year. The regions with the lowest per capita gross regional product at the other end of the spectrum are agrarian regions such as Tyva (RUR 134,000 per person per year), Karachay-Cherkessiya (133,000), Kabardino-Balkariya (132,000), Ingushetiya (101,000) and Chechnya (88,000).’ The high per capita gross regional product regions are also the main sources for federal budget revenue. According to the expert these regions are the leaders because historically they’ve always drawn major financial and other resources like the old and current capitals or they are rich in exportable resources. These regions produce 40% of Russia’s GDP even though they are home to just 20% o of the country’s population. The less developed regions, both those relatively rich in raw materials and those with primarily agrarian economies, are a periphery of the country in both geographical and socio-economic sense. Those regions have few opportunities for development without support from the federal centre. Underdeveloped regions rich in raw materials stagnate because of high logistics costs while agrarian regions suffer as a result of their remote location, underdeveloped processing sectors and dependence on subsidies from the centre.

In the run-up to the Saint Petersburg Economic Forum, the paper took a closer look at the North-Western Federal District. Mr. Golyashev points out that the area is very uneven in terms of economic development. "Here we have got Saint Petersburg, essentially the country’s second capital city and a very well developed region, then there is the Republic of Komi, a strong raw materials supplier. Leningrad, Murmansk as well as Vologda and Novgorod Regions are doing pretty well. On the whole the most important industries for the area are mechanical engineering, fuel and energy, metals production and transport and those are the sectors that you want to be investing in to ensure economic growth in the district," said the expert.