What are the challenges facing the regions on the eve of presidential elections

MOSCOW, December 29. /TASS/. The next six years after the presidential election on March 18, 2018, for the Russian regions will be held under the flag of the updates of Executive authorities, reforms in the economy and continuation of the development of the social sphere. As noted to experts interviewed by TASS, the vector of attention of the authorities in the coming years will be the development of infrastructure, demographics, and availability of medical care.

What other challenges facing the regions on the eve of a new presidential cycle at TASS.

Social services

According to experts, the maintenance of the social feeling of citizens is the basis of the stability of the state and the regions in the next few years have to solve the problem to keep it at an optimal level. As told TASS the head “Political expert group” Konstantin Kalachev, among the priorities – demographics, infrastructure, transport accessibility and improvement of care.

“Now the great attention is paid to the solution of demographic problems, problems of children. Facilities for children – nurseries, schools, children’s clinics – everything that is connected with children is a priority,” said Kalachev. The Director of “Institute of political studies” Sergei Markov believes that the decisions taken to support families is correct, and can help to solve the problem of “sliding into a demographic pit”.

The task of improving the accessibility of medical care also is a priority, experts say. “Financing health care will increase. Russia’s population is aging. In some regions a third of the population – pensioners, so health is very important,” said Kalachev. Markov added that the authorities are already aware – reducing the number of medical institutions in the regions has led to a reduction in the availability of medical care, and this problem must be addressed.

The accessibility and quality of roads in the regions, according to analysts, also remains a traditional task for the coming years. “For the Far East not only road issues are important, but the problem of displacement. There all in one voice complain about the high cost of domestic flights and exorbitant cost of flights to Moscow. Therefore, for residents of the far Eastern Federal district the issue of prices for air tickets is extremely important”, – said the head of “Political expert group”.

Trend update

In 2017, Russia’s new leadership in 19 regions, and this was the most massive update of the governors over the past many years. Experts believe that the trend to upgrade the power is positive and will continue.

“I think conceptually, the trend to update the power and coming young technocrats asked Vladimir Putin not randomly and systematically implemented. This was stated by the people, and it was obvious,” – said TASS Director General of the Agency for political and economic communications Dmitry Orlov.

He added that in the future, the support of “technocrats” can grow with increasing demands for efficiency management.

“Improving management efficiency is a very important resource. We always look at the damage to the state caused by corruption stories, but if we look at the damage from mismanagement, biased decisions, it figures quite another order”, – told TASS the Chairman of the Board of the development Fund civil society Konstantin Kostin, explaining that the managers of a new type of today must not only solve the problem of survival, but also to ensure the development of the subjects.

As told TASS Director General of the Agency for strategic initiatives (ASI) Svetlana Cumshewa, the newly-elected governors today show excellent results by implementing the best management practices and realizing where they may be in terms of growth and development priorities.

“We see on the example of Perm Krai, Novgorod, Ivanovo regions, as colleagues identify promising projects that will provide economic growth, how to quickly implement the best practices that are owned by ASI, participate in Federal programs, various projects and events. I hope that next year will show good growth rates in these regions,” she said.

Another strategic decision, according to experts, was the introduction of a system for evaluation of effectiveness of Executive authorities in the regions for 24 indicators, which in the next presidential cycle will encourage the management teams of actors to work more efficiently and concentrate on the main problems.

“I think this measure is intended to systematize the evaluation, which is already in the work of the governors. I expect a rather integral role of this tool, but it will be a real tool,” – said Orlov.

The reform of the economy

An important decision for the development of regional economies in the coming years, according to analysts, is to run from 1 January 2018, the program of debt restructuring subjects. It will allow the authorities in the next two years to release a total of 428 billion. The right to extend the restructuring to 12 years will receive only those regions that show in 2018-2019, income growth above the rate of inflation.

“Two decisions were made: first, to replace completely the debts in commercial banks on the funds of the Central Bank and Ministry of Finance through the Treasury, that is, the creditor was the state. And the second is restructuring. That is, the money must be repaid tomorrow, and stretch for 5-7 years, thus freeing up funds for day to day activities, to solve the current problems,” – said Kostin.

Necessary, according to him, is supplied to the regions increase in private income above the rate of inflation. “Compliance criteria, provides the improvement of the economic situation in the region. That is, the right to instalments given to those who increase the investments in fixed capital, does not allow further debts, provides a stable growth of the gross regional product,” the expert added.

Thus, as explained by eagles, not all regions are ready to restructure because of the conditions of growth of own incomes. “Who is ready to work who is willing to provide development – this program is good. Those accustomed to the resources that are possible without any performance criteria to dispose of, that they have a different approach. But here it is clear that this program was to segment the subjects: to separate those who can build profitable policies from those who can not” – said the Agency interlocutor.

Important for the development of regional economies in the near future should be to improve the investment climate and finding unique practices of development in the regions, said Cumshewa.

“Five or six years ago, when we developed the regional standard investment climate, donors best practices was Kaluga, Tatarstan, Ulyanovsk oblast. Today it is standard not to catch up with best practices and find a competitive advantage, where the region may be the best. Tula, Moscow, Voronezh, Belgorod, Tyumen region, Khanty – Mansi Autonomous Okrug and many more regions which today can be proud of some niche where they do the result is the best of all” – said the head of the ASI.

Spatial development of regions

An important step to increase economic potential of the subjects could be the adoption of the strategy of spatial development of Russia, political analysts believe.

As told earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak in interview to TV channel “Russia 24”, the strategy of spatial development of Russian Federation until 2025 will determine the competitive advantages of each region. According to him, this will effectively build investment program as the subjects themselves, and working in their territory of natural monopolies.

Thus, according to the experts, as a tool for development is discussed and the concept of agglomerations.

“Discusses several concepts. One of them is the creation of agglomerations around large cities, which have become the drivers of development of the adjacent regions. This approach has its pros and cons, but it seems to me that if we’re talking in the whole country, he fully does not apply”, – said Kostin.

Associate Professor, faculty of social Sciences of the national research UNIVERSITY “Higher school of Economics” Alexey Titkov believes that the idea of agglomeration makes sense, but regional authorities can use them as a tool of political influence that “may become a source of managerial and political conflicts”. It is possible to optimize provision of social infrastructure can cause discontent of the population, though, and would be economically beneficial.

Among the advantages of this concept Titkov noted the establishment of large regional centers, which will partially solve the problem of overpopulation in Moscow and St.-Petersburg, and also will concentrate in the centres of the agglomerations of the human resources and managerial capabilities to implement projects.

Kostin added that approaches to the development of regions can be combined depending on a particular territory, or that Federal district. “But, nevertheless, some sort of institutional approach needs to occur. Because the alignment of income to anything good will not. We will undermine the financial resource base of the regions which are today successful,” he concluded.