26 May 2016

    Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev presided over a meeting of the Government Commission for Socio-Economic Development of the Far East and Baikal Region. The participants discussed changes in economic policy in relation to the designated regions, says the recent press release by the Ministry for the Development of Russia’s Far East.

    The Russian Prime Minister pointed out that the Far East policy had changed radically of late: “a number of momentous and complex decisions have been made, some of them already put into practice.” Among the development tools, Mr. Medvedev mentioned 12 advanced special economic zones, Free Port Vladivostok, the Far East Development Fund and some others.

    “The new mechanisms have succeeded in accumulating considerable extra financial resources – nearly a trillion roubles in investments. Far from all of them are up and working, but all of them have been officially approved. In addition, two new programmes have been endorsed, aimed at developing the Kuril Islands and Komsomolsk-on-Amur over a 10-year period”, Medvedev underscored.

    Among other important decisions, the Prime Minister mentioned the law on new tax breaks for Far East investors. “What’s important is that this law specifies a clear and easy mechanism for claiming the preferences, unlike the previous one”, he said.

    Also specifically mentioned was the “Far East hectare” project, whereby any volunteer may obtain a land parcel in the Far East free of charge. From 1 June, residents of the nine municipalities chosen as pilot territories in Russia’s Far East may obtain their first plots of land for their needs. Medvedev reminded those present that “those in charge of the relevant projects and decisions are to make sure that the new procedure works as was originally planned – with minimum red tape and maximum benefit for people.”

    Mr. Medvedev believes that the positive changes are already having a positive effect on the lives of Russian citizens. “During the first few months of this year, the population outflow from the Far East has decreased by an order of magnitude and has virtually ceased. This is very important dynamics that have been achieved for the first time in recent years”, he stated.

    The head of the Russian Government pointed out that “these changes will surely take some time before they bring forth real fruit, but all people living and working in the Far East are gradually gaining access to additional opportunities, and this makes them more optimistic.”

    Also reviewed during the meeting was the development of international transport corridors Primorye-1 and Primorye-2 between Primorye and industrially developed regions of China. “We need to learn how to use the potential accumulated in the region and to develop frontier trade, moving some of the transit freight flows to Russian ports. Long-term efforts in this area constitute one example of integration with the Asia-Pacific region, which can be rather beneficial for us,” the Russian Prime Minister concluded.