Anatoliy Evgenievich Savchenko is Candidate of Science (History), Research Fellow at Institute of History, Archeology and Ethnography of the Peoples of the Far East, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Vladivostok).
The article analyzes one of the crucial periods in the history of the Russian Far East. In 1990s the importance of the previous military-strategic priorities in the regional policy declined, and the state faced the necessity to find a new strategy of development of the region which was supposed to be based on the principles of economic efficiency. The article considers the main factors of the formation of the regional policy in the Far East and identifies the main subjects of its creation and implementation .
The central government viewed the Far East mainly as a "geopolitical burden" and a strategically important area, but the state lacked resources to develop the region. At the same time, Russian scientific elite which was represented mainly by the Russian Academy of Sciences created the image of the Far East as a potential "locomotive" of development of Russia, sufficient enough to get international financial sources. The regional authorities, in its turn, made a proposal in the form of the huge amount of initiatives aimed to create special economic zones and strategies of development. The article shows that the active Far Eastern policy, the necessity of which was promoted by the regional authorities, contradicted the policy of the national macro-economic stabilization which was more important for the Center. While proposing the initiatives, the regional governments required Moscow to provide centralized financing, fiscal and customs privileges. The regional policy was the result of political struggle, but not of cooperation between the Center and the regions. The author concludes that the main cause of failings in the Far Eastern policy of Moscow during the 1990s was the general weakness of the Russian state which lacked the material resources and was not able to control the implementation of decisions.
Key words: Far East, Center, region, regional policy, regional development, free economic zone.
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