The prime minister headed east

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Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin flew to Vladivostok on Monday, the first point of a four-day trip to the regions of the Far East and Siberia. The visit came at the time of the forum “Development of small towns”, which was joined by a delegation from the center. The Moscow guests were also introduced to investment activities in Primorye and, in particular, to the growth this year in the special administrative district on Russky Island, a special preferential regime created to receive capital returning to the Russian Federation.

Mikhail Mishustin’s trip to the Far East, traditional for the second half of the summer, began with a visit to Vladivostok, on Tuesday the prime minister will head to Ulan-Ude, and then to the regions of Siberia. The government delegation arrived on Russky Island after visiting the Far Eastern Federal University, which usually hosts guests of the Eastern Economic Forum. On Monday, the forum “Development of Small Towns” was held here.

But before joining his work, Mikhail Mishustin got acquainted with the investment plans of Primorye. As Aleksey Chekunkov, head of the Ministry for the Development of the Far East, reported, Primorsky Krai accounts for 71% of the total number of projects implemented in the Far East, and almost 40% in terms of investment. A total of 2.8 trillion rubles is planned. investments, so far they have been carried out for 590 billion rubles.

Aleksey Chekunkov called the development of a special administrative region (SAR) on Russky Island an important factor in the region’s investment activity. Let us recall that it was created with an eye on the return of capital to the Russian Federation and provides for a set of benefits (the second special administrative district is in the Kaliningrad region).

Since the beginning of 2023, the number of residents of the eastern SAR has tripled compared to 2022 – plus 43 to the 17 who have already moved, their total assets are approaching 5 trillion rubles.

The regime was expanded in 2022, in particular, due to the possibility of relocation of Russian companies, last week the State Duma also approved the possibility of registration in the SAR by way of incorporation – that is, the creation of a new company by a foreign founder, when the change of jurisdiction is very difficult or impossible.

Among the problems outlined to the prime minister is the lack of labor force. Sergey Kropotov, general director of Sukhodol Sea Port LLC, said that his company even began working with the Federal Penitentiary Service to recruit workers. Mikhail Mishustin named more active use of digital platforms to attract employees as a possible solution to the problem of personnel.

The ensuing immersion in the agenda of the forum of small towns, the prime minister began with a tour of the exhibition of improvement projects, presented very widely: in addition to playgrounds, there were robotic janitors and even a sculpture of a tiger from the Federal Penitentiary Service. More than 40 million people live in small towns, Mikhail Mishustin noted, and one of the key requests is the improvement of living conditions and landscaping. As part of supporting this aspiration, 290 billion rubles were allocated to beautification projects under the “Formation of the Urban Environment” project, of which more than half falls on the federal budget. The prime minister also recalled preferential mortgage programs – in the first half of the year, about 300,000 such loans were issued, of which 120,000 were for private housing construction, which prevails in small towns.

Note that the government has prepared another decision for the forum. A resolution was approved that softens the approach to conducting activities in priority development areas (TOR) in single-industry towns (this regime provides benefits for investment projects). If earlier each ASEZ had its own list of permitted activities, which limited the variability of projects, now there will be a list of prohibited areas of work common to all ASEZs in single-industry towns. In particular, it includes the production of excisable goods, financial services and trade.

Evgenia Kryuchkova, Vladivostok

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