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Kamchatka Krai: results - 2015, trends - 2016 - EastRussia | News Kamchatka Krai

Irkutsk
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Kamchatka Krai: results - 2015, trends - 2016

East Russia continues the cycle of analytical publications devoted to the results of the past year and the analysis of the situation in the current year in the socio-economic and political spheres of life in the regions of the Far East and Eastern Siberia

Kamchatka region is still difficult to call a successful and prosperous region. Nevertheless, the events of recent months give grounds to talk about the gradual, albeit slow, implementation of various point projects, which together create a more coherent perspective for the region.


Kamchatka Krai: results - 2015, trends - 2016

Rostislav Turovsky

Doctor of Political Sciences, Professor of HSE, Scientific Editor East Russia
Special project TORA and Free Port
At the same time, Kamchatka, due to the peculiarities of its geographic location, remains a region very vulnerable in socio-economic terms. Being in huge dependence on the center and federal aid, she, at the same time, successfully uses this provision, seeking favorable solutions and receiving large funds.

TOP "Kamchatka" as a prototype of the Kamchatka perspective

One of the successes of the region was the government's approval of the Kamchatka TOP, as well as the adoption of decisions on the financial support of two projects in the food industry and two gold mining projects. TOP "Kamchatka" is interesting because it is a complex project, collecting under a single "umbrella" a lot of different "subprojects" related to different industries. In fact, this is not just a TOP, but a prototype of the Kamchatka perspective. There are seven sites in the TOP structure, it includes such blocks as tourist-recreational, port-industrial, aviation-transport and agro-industrial. Thus, we can talk about attempts to develop the tourism industry, and to strengthen the infrastructure node, which includes, first of all, the port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Particular attention is also paid to providing the transport-isolated region with its own food products.

In the same logic, two small investment projects were proposed and approved, having, however, a purely local significance. One of them assumes the creation of a pig breeding complex in the region, it is occupied by CJSC Agrotek Holding. It is planned that the complex will begin its work with 2019. The second project supported by the center is a new brewery, which plans to build the already existing Kamchatka Brewery LLC.

For Kamchatka, given its budgetary constraints, it is important for the region to receive large federal funds for its projects, and also inflate the influx of private investments that bypass the region. From this point of view, the TOP "Kamchatka" promises the greatest prospects. It involves attracting 28,1 billion rubles of private investment, as well as 5,7 billion rubles of federal funds. In 2016, for example, the center should allocate funds for the objects of the electric grid infrastructure of the Paratunka site. For its part, the regional and municipal budgets have committed themselves to invest in the TOP 2,7 billion rubles. Given the importance of TOP for the region, one can expect that these funds will be allocated.

However, agro-industrial projects that are among the priority projects do not add much to the TOR project, and under other circumstances could become a part of it. Budget investments in them are extremely small - only 157 million rubles for a pig-breeding complex and 72 million rubles for a brewery. Private investment in the first case will amount to 1,85 billion rubles, in the second - 1,1 billion rubles.

Zolotye GOKI Krai and federal support of the existing infrastructure

Much more promising in this regard are projects for gold mining in the north of the region, which received federal support. In fact, a fundamentally new segment of taxpayers - large mining enterprises - is growing in the region. Thus, Ametistovy GOK was launched in September 2015 by Interminerals. The volume of investments in the project amounted to 16 billion rubles, the annual amount of tax deductions - 700 million rubles. The volume of production is 4 tons of gold per year. The company received a preferential loan for the construction of a road from the Fund for the Development of the Far East.

GOK Ozernovskiy of the company SIGMA - construction is started. The volume of investments in the project is 12 billion rubles. Tax revenues for the period of development of the field will exceed 13 billion rubles. GOK Ozernovskiy receives state infrastructure support in the amount of 1,2 billion rubles.

At the same time, the events of last year once again reminded of the ambiguous state of the infrastructure existing in the region, although major federal officials showed their concern for it, which is an undoubted advantage. For example, the head of the presidential administration, Sergey Ivanov, is keeping under control the protracted reconstruction of the airport, which is being dealt with by the structure of the federal Spetsstroy, which has already frustrated the previously agreed deadlines. During his stay in Kamchatka, Sergei Ivanov criticized the process of airport reconstruction, which somewhat stimulated this process. It is now expected that work will be completed in May of this year.

The reconstruction and berths of the port in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, which are also in charge of the federal structure - FSUE "Rosmorport", are in need of reconstruction. In this case, Yury Trutnev drew attention to the problem. The importance of the reconstruction of port facilities is great in connection with ambitious plans for the development of tourism and also for the transformation of Petropavlovsk into a real working junction of the Northern Sea Route. For this, it is necessary that the port be able to receive cruise ships and icebreakers, but this will require a lot of work and money.

So far, no megaprojects on Kamchatka are talking about. But, perhaps, this has its pluses, because there are neither high expectations, nor criticism of unrealizable projections. The region's relations with the center look very calm and constructive, and there is a real opportunity to launch a whole group of small and medium-sized projects, which are primarily needed by the region itself.



The most subsidized region of the Far East

Last year, meanwhile, demonstrated a noticeable growth in investment - by 26,5% (for January-November 2015). This can already be considered a good sign, although the volume of investment is far inferior to other regions of the Far East (also Kamchatka is characterized by extremely low volume of foreign direct investment). It was noted in 2015 and a small growth of industry - by 2%. However, the Kamchatka economy is still unstable. For example, agriculture, although the authorities of the region are betting on the growth of self-sufficiency, does not yet yield good results. In this industry there was a decline in 5,4%. It is also striking to reduce the volume of construction work - by 7,6%.

As a result, a significant level of social tension remains in the region, which from time to time makes itself felt in outbursts of social discontent and protest actions. Among the reasons for discontent are high prices and tariffs. At the beginning of 2016, the inhabitants of Kamchatka even petitioned the president about the housing and utilities tariffs. Last year did not contribute to raising the standard of living in Kamchatka. On the contrary, real money incomes fell by 5,1%. The turnover of retail trade decreased by 2,8%. Prices for goods and services in December last year rose by 12,6% compared to prices in December 2014. At the same time, food prices rose over the same period by 14,8%. Therefore, the region continues to suffer from infrastructure constraints and expensive electricity and heat. All this can not but affect the mood of citizens.

It helps Kamchatka in this objectively difficult situation, first of all, the federal center, and here it should be noted that support is powerful and effective. Kamchatka became, as you know, one of the largest recipients of federal financial assistance, entering the top ten. For today it is the most subsidized region of the Far East, financially the most dependent on the center (the share of transfers in the budget is just over 60%). Last year, it received almost 40 billion rubles of federal transfers, yielding only Yakutia in this indicator. Few where in Russia there are cases when only one and the most important type of federal aid - subsidies for equalizing the budgetary provision is more than half of budget revenues (52,4% over the past year). But with a weak own tax base, there are no other options here.

At the same time, sustained federal support gives regional authorities the opportunity to form a fully balanced budget. Last year, the center did not cut off transfers to Kamchatka, as it happened in many other regions, and this can already be considered a victory. The volume of transfers slightly increased by 0,2%. Preserved and the previous level of subsidies to equalize the budget provision (growth of 1%). Subsidies the region received even more than before (at 6%), which is a good sign, as the center as a whole began to cut subsidies going to the regions.

With the maintenance of the former level of federal support, the region has very well increased its own revenues, thereby slightly increasing financial independence. Tax and non-tax revenues of the region increased by 11,55%. There is an increase in income from business: income tax - by 11,8%, taxes on total income - by 16%, corporate property tax - by 15,2%, tax on mining - by 51,7%. Despite the mixed income situation, the income tax showed a significant increase - by 10,1% (Kamchatka became the second region in the Far Eastern Federal District by the rate of increase in income from income tax after Sakhalin). This allows us to talk about the strengthening of its own taxpayers in the region, the need for which is extremely high. However, so far, as in other economically weak regions, the income tax (59%) is clearly dominating in the region's own income, while the share of income tax is only 9,5% (7,7% is taxing the total income and 7,5% tax on Property of organizations).



Thus, the financial position of Kamchatka even slightly improved and began to look more optimistic. This allowed to avoid one of the most acute problems of the Far East - a high debt burden. On the issue of debts, Kamchatka has become just an exemplary region. As a result, the state debt of the region decreased by more than 15%, and this was the best rate of decline in the national debt throughout the country. True, the municipal debt has slightly increased - by 3,8%. Kamchatka did not need to take large budgetary loans from the center and, on the contrary, repaid them. As a result, the volume of debts on budgetary credits fell by 42,2% (the second indicator of positive dynamics in the country and the best in the Far Eastern Federal District). The ratio of state and municipal debt to the region's own revenues was moderate 27%.

In the absence of a strong opposition, the problem of any elections is only a low voter turnout

In these conditions, Kamchatka was able to increase its expenses slightly - by 3,1%, which was especially important in connection with the holding of early gubernatorial elections (the budget deficit was very small, -1,8%). Probably, the electoral season and signs of discontent in society influenced the fact that the regional authorities made a clear bet on social spending. In particular, more funds were allocated to health care for 9,85% than in 2014, education - by 8,65% (best dynamics in the Far East), social policy - by 8,9%. True, as in many regions, there were also reduced spending on culture (for 1%), physical education and sports (at 19,3%). The mood of a few rural people could be affected by the growth of spending on agriculture and fishing - by 4,8%. In total, directly social items accounted for just over half of all expenditures.

On the other hand, the increase in social expenditures required compensation at the expense of any “victims”. The expenditures of the regional budget for housing and communal services, which in the Kamchatka conditions, by the way, strongly depend on budgetary injections (by 4,45%), were reduced. Few "suffered" and the roads (reduction by 5,4%). Probably, this was affected by scandals about violations in Kamchatavtodor OJSC. In addition, the authorities saved themselves: the cost of national issues fell by 6,5% (although Kamchatka, along with some other regions of the FEFD, remains among Russian leaders in terms of the share of budget expenditures on these issues). However, there were no “catastrophic” reductions in the region, since the financial and budgetary situation remained calm and predictable. It is noteworthy that while reducing the cost of housing and communal services, Kamchatka still turned out to be the leader in the Far East in implementing the program for the overhaul of apartment buildings.

However, many long-standing financial problems remain unsettled in the region and periodically have a negative impact on its agenda. One of them is the level of energy tariffs, on which budget financing continues. Periodically, the question of prices for fuel and lubricants, and last year the authorities again had to pay attention to it. So, the governor Vladimir Ilyukhin himself appealed to the regional prosecutor's office with a request to check the validity of gasoline prices. The audit revealed violations committed by the Independent Oil and Gas Company (NOC), the owner of the Khabarovsk refinery. With regard to gasoline prices, the case was set by the regional department of the Federal Antimonopoly Service. However, it is not necessary to talk about any cardinal solution of the problem and the reduction of prices. Is that the authorities are trying to contain them, putting pressure on suppliers.



"Fish interest"

A separate issue in the regional agenda is the promotion of the interests of the fishing industry, one of the specialties of the region, with which many leading business players are connected. It is not by chance that the regional authorities and directly Vladimir Ilyukhin occupy the most active position on the "fish" issues at the federal level, trying to influence the lawmaking process. In particular, Vladimir Ilyukhin is in favor of changing the positions of federal legislation, which, with 2010, has recognized coastal fishing as a nationwide one. To protect local players, he proposes priority assigning quotas to coastal regions, and therefore appealed to the head of the Russian government, Dmitry Medvedev. Kamchatka also advocates a ban on drift-net fishing, which caused a huge damage to this region at the time (when they were engaged in the 20 century by the Japanese). In this, she found support from Yuri Trutnev, and as a result, a bill was submitted to the State Duma. However, like all other problems of Kamchatka, these too do not find quick solutions.

Incidentally, the incident in the fishing industry was, incidentally, and a sharp conflict at the Kamchatka State Technological University, which is under the authority of Rosrybolovstvo. The pedagogical staff of the university has elected a new rector - Julia Morozova. In turn, Rosrybolovstvo did not agree with the decision of the university and offered another rector. The staff came out strongly against and started picketing at Rosrybolovstvo. With the help of regional authorities, it was possible to find a compromise figure - the adviser to the governor Sergei Levkov. This conflict has, of course, a temporary nature, but once again testifies to social tension.



At the same time, the gubernatorial elections were held in Kamchatka without any particular problems. Elections were early, and Vladimir Ilyukhin received the Kremlin’s approval for their conduct. The level of competition decreased due to the fact that the well-known critic of regional authorities, the representative of Fair Russia Mikhail Puchkovsky refused to participate in the elections. He preferred not to turn to United Russia for help in overcoming the municipal filter, while the support of his party members was not enough for this. After that, in the absence of a strong party opposition, only a low turnout could become a problem of elections. As a result, the Kamchatka elections on the Russian background have become a vivid example of the combination of very high governor support (75,5%) with extremely low population activity (31,9%). The protest electorate was divided between the unpopular local leaders of the Communist Party (Mikhail Smagin, almost 10%) and the Liberal Democratic Party (Valery Kalashnikov, 8,1%). Following the results of the elections, Boris Nevzorov, a member of the Council of Federation from the executive power, a well-known and large figure of the local elite, also remained in office.

In parallel with the elections, the regional authorities conducted personnel changes in key municipalities. The issue of the new city manager of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, when Elena Panchenko was forced to leave her post after scandals around the poor quality of snow cleaning in the city, was solved for a long time. The post was vacant for almost half a year. It was only in the second half of the year that the decision was made to transfer to the regional capital to the post of city manager D. Zaitsev, who directed the administration of the neighboring Elizovo district. In the Elizovo district, the new head of the administration was former deputy Dmitry Zaitsev Roman Vasilevsky. Also, the head of the administration of the urban settlement of Elizovo, where the changes also had a smooth character, was replaced (the position was taken by the former deputy head Dmitry Shipitsyn). Eventually, in new municipal administrations, new heads of administrations began to work, the results of which are still too early to judge.



Promotion of "point" projects - as a positive shift

Thus, last year did not give an answer to the question of Kamchatka's ability to move from a survival regime (abundantly sponsored by the federal center) to the regime of sustainable development. A positive shift was the promotion of a number of "point" projects by the region, the bulk of which is united in the Kamchatka Top Rank, as well as receiving state support from two of the largest gold mining projects in the region. However, the former acuteness of social problems in Kamchatka persists, and in this connection the attention of both the center and regional authorities should probably be drawn to the search for those growth points that are capable of producing qualitatively different results and allow Kamchatka to occupy a certain promising niche in the Russian economy and, Possibly in the APR.