Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Moscow’s Failure to Develop Infrastructure in Russia’s Far East Means Region Won’t Develop and People will Continue to Leave, Shelest Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 18 – Moscow has continued to pour money into the Far Eastern Federal District, but it has done so by following the same path it has pursued in the past – putting more money in existing factories and shuttling workers to and from distant production sites rather than linking them together, Dmitry Shelest says.

            In words that could apply to many parts of the Russian Federation, the IAREX commentator argues, that continuing this approach will neither promote development or hold the population in place as Moscow wants for national security reasons. Instead, the economy will at best stagnate and at worse decline, and people will continue to leave (

            Those continuities, Shelest suggests, have been partially obscured by the pandemic, which kept people from moving and hurt the economy everywhere. Because that was the case, many did not see that in regions far from the center, the failure to develop infrastructure – including roads, airports, hospitals and schools – is the key problem.

            With the easing of the pandemic, the stagnation that Moscow’s failure to change course is producing will become ever more visible; and the number of people seeking to leave the Russian Far East is likely to grow, although it is the case that many of those who remain there now don’t want to leave. But the trends are clear, and Moscow needs to pay attention to them.

            Instead, it seems to believe that its old model is fine and only needs more money, either from Moscow or from foreign firms, to succeed. That is nonsense, and it will soon be seen as such by the people and officials of the region, Shelest suggests.


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