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Kremlin backs greater power for Far East ministry
February 17, 2014, 10:03 am

Russian President Vladimir Putin, toasts during a New Year dinner in Khabarovsk, Russia's Far East, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, with a neon sign behind declaring "Happy New Year" [AP]

Russian President Vladimir Putin, toasts during a New Year dinner in Khabarovsk, Russia’s Far East, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, with a neon sign behind declaring “Happy New Year” [AP]

Moscow is preparing to give greater teeth to a government department in charge of development in Russia’s Far East within the coming month, a top Russian official has said on Monday.

Russia’s Far East Federal District, a region two-thirds the size of the US is a vast expanse of territory between Siberia and the Pacific Ocean. President Vladimir Putin had in December announced that Russia will prioritize development of the region.

The Moscow administration is already deliberating on creating special economic zones with tax relief in the Far Eastern regions to boost investments from foreign investors.

Internal government opposition to the transfer of authority to the Far East Development Ministry would be overcome, Russian daily Kommersant quoted Putin’s envoy to the Far East, Yury Trutnev as saying on Monday.

“We must concentrate our management resources. We can’t run around Moscow, agreeing every project with the Economic Development Ministry, the Transportation Ministry, the Regions Ministry and all the others,” Trutnev said.

The Far East holds significant mineral and hydrocarbon resources.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev proposed increasing the authority of the Far East Development Ministry, which was created in 2012, earlier this month.

The Kremlin has made the development of the Far East a priority in recent years, and Medvedev said last month that he would take personal control of improving the region’s business climate.

China and other energy hungry Asian markets, bordering its Far East are increasing economic and business ties with the Russian Far East.

Chinese firms already lease or control at least 600,000 hectares of land in the Far East.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund and China Investment Corporation established the $2 billion Russia China Investment Fund (RCIF) when President Putin visited China last June.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a Russia visit in April last year announced the setting up of an investment platform of $1 billion as a new instrument to boost bilateral investment, with a major focus on Russia’s Far East and Eastern Siberia.

 

TBP and Agencies

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