Staunton, November 5 – The largest transfer of territory from one political unit to another under Vladimir Putin, the shift two years ago of Buryatia and the Transbaikal from the Siberian Federal District to the Far Eastern one, has not had the promised positive consequences the Kremlin promised, regional officials and experts say.
When this shift was orchestrated by Moscow, Putin and his regime said that it would give Buryatia and the Transbaikal access to the greater resources of the Far Eastern FD and that this would allow them both to develop their economies and slow or even reverse the outflow of population (club-rf.ru/detail/4671).
But a survey of senior officials other than the heads of the two subjects who remain enthusiasts and of regional experts finds that the transfer has not worked out as promised. The economies of both subjects have not grown as projected, and the outflow of population has not slowed as Moscow said would happen.
Instead, the economies have slipped and outmigration has in fact accelerated. Those who support the shift say that the regional governments haven’t exploited the possibilities and that two years is not a sufficient time to determine the outcome of this Moscow-initiated territorial transfer and blame regional officials from failing to take advantage of the new possibilities.
Those who opposed the transfer and feel it has left Buryatia and the Transbaikal in a still more marginal position disagree, blaming the notion that such a transfer by itself can change underlying trends and suggesting that the problems that continue are the result of central or FD policies rather than those of these two regions.