Infrastructure development in Russia survey – viewpoint

Partnering with the private sector and neighboring countries to develop Russia’s Far East

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Alexander Galushka, Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East

The development of the Russian Far East is a national priority, and above all, this task requires infrastructure solutions. The region, which for geographical and historical reasons is underpopulated and underdeveloped, can and should match the level of fast-growing economies in the Asia-Pacific region. 

The network of advanced development zones being created today should help bring the development of the Russian Far East up to international standards. In conditions of intense competition in the Asia-Pacific region, all means available must be used to improve the Far East’s investment appeal. 

We need not only special economic conditions, but also advanced standards and regulations, customs procedures, town-planning solutions and, naturally, the appropriate infrastructure. We have an ambitious goal: to bring the world’s best administrative procedures to bear on concrete tasks. 

Major projects planned at the federal level unquestionably make an essential contribution to the development of the Russian Far East. Modernization of the Baikal-Amur and Trans-Siberian railways, construction of a new bridge across the Amur in the Jewish Autonomous District — all this shows how important it is to coordinate federal programs with regional development plans. 

The state and development institutions (including the Far East and Baikal Region Development Fund) will be directly involved in financing national projects and projects of advanced development zone residents. The state’s involvement, however, doesn’t solve the problem of minimizing costs. 

International experience shows that optimal, competitive projects are successful only if they can interest private capital. State financing is only to get investments started. 

The main emphasis should be on private investments. This approach not only controls costs, but helps to ensure that projects are efficiently implemented. 

The best solutions for infrastructure projects involve the use of foreign experience. That’s why we’re working actively with our neighbors — for example, companies in Japan, China and South Korea. We’re interested not just in taking part, but in coordinating projects with the infrastructure development of partner countries for the creation of efficient logistical and transport corridors. We’re also interested in having investors stay in the region long term and share their advanced technological solutions with us. 

The development of infrastructure should also solve the traditional Russian problem of labor mobility. To bring specialists into the region, new jobs need to be created as well as adequate housing and infrastructure to make life comfortable. 

The goals have been set, and they are achievable. We now have a lot of hard, pragmatic work to do.