The new Russian Concept defines sustained development of rural territories as “a stable socioeconomic development of rural territories, increase in the volume of agricultural and fishery production, boosting efficiency of the agriculture and forestry complex, ensuring a complete employment of the rural populace and improvement of their living standards, and a rational use of land”. So, once again the focus is on developing agriculture and fishery, while the rural populace’s quality of life is viewed only through the prism of their employment and incomes.
1 Mantino, Francesco. Selskoye razvitiye v Evrope. Politika, instituty i deystvuyuschie litsa na mestakh s 1970kh godo do nashikh dney, FAO, Russian transl. 2010, p. 2 Doklad Vsemirnoy vstrechi na vyshem urovne po ustoychivomu razvitiyu.-OON, Yokhannesburg, 2002, p.3 Strategiya selskogo razvitiya: region Evropy i Tsentralnoy Azii.- Vsemirny Bank, RUSSIAN ECONOMY: TRENDS AND PERSPECTIVES Is this approach correct Presently, as many as 38 mln. Russians (27% of the country’s total population) reside in rural areas, but just 5.1% is employed in the agrarian sector, and this share is to shrink with advancement of new technologies and modernization of the agrarian production.
In Canada, for instance, just 1.4% of the employed fulfill the mission of ensuring the nation’s food safety. Meanwhile, economically developed nations also put rural development atop the list of main current priorities, having it incorporated in their economic context, sitting of their production forces, equalization of the populace’s living conditions.
The authors of the Concept hold the view that rural territories, as a socio-territorial societal subsystem, exercise 6 critical nationwide functions. These are: production, demographic, laborresource, housing, spatial-communication, and the function of social control over the territory1.
While the three first functions appear absolutely sound, the others need to be clarified. More specifically, the housing function “is aimed at placement in rural territories of housing for citizens that have an income-generating business in an urban area, as well as at provision them with objects of the rural social and engineering infrastructure for use”. The spatial-communication function should ensure “placement and servicing of roads, electricity transmission lines, water supply lines and other engineering communications, as well as creation of conditions for provision of residents of rural territories with communication services”. As concerns social control over the rural territory, the task is to “render assistance to government administrative and local self-governance bodies with securing public order and safety in thinly populated territories and rural settlements, as well as with securing borderlands”2.
Russia indeed is undergoing the rural development crisis, which manifests itself in most rural residents being impoverished and in the social desertization of rural territories.
An illustrative evidence of the above assertion are results of the typology of rural administrative districts built upon the 20o2 Russian Census3. Proceeding from the specific weight of children and the elderly in the age structure of the rural population, districts were classified into progressive, stationary and regressive types of demographic development. Most districts (69%) are regressive, including 53% of them facing depopulation processes. Depopulation is typical of most of the European part of Russia (and it is particularly intense in its North-Western areas) and in the southern part of Western Siberia. While in the early 1990s the natural loss of the rural population was compensated by the migration flow therein, this source has exhausted by now. The proportion of rural settlements without permanent residents in the residence structure has been on the upsurge, with the Central and North-Western economic areas having particularly numerous settlements of this kind.
Such statistics is usually used to substantiate retaining and development of the existing settlement network for the sake of maintaining social control over the territory. Meanwhile, some experts have a perspective that “conservation of the emerged settlement system in any instances equals preservation of an archaic rural economy and traditional lifestyle. Meanwhile, “points of growth” represented primarily by cities transmit innovation impulses onto territories around them, thus drawing into their orbits urban agglomerations first and, subsequently, a remote periphery… Clearly, maintenance of numerous budget institutions, an extensive road network requires sizeable budget funding, which inevitably affects the quality of services, primarily in rural areas”4.
Having agreed that there are certain grounds for this approach, let us examine rural development costs against the general backdrop of funding the agricultural sector. Since 2008 all the budget funding administered by the RF Ministry of Agriculture is provided under the auspices of the State program on development of agriculture, regulation of markets for agricultural products, raw materials and food for 2008-2012 (the State program). The planned appropriations for the State program over the period of 2008-2010 were5: out of the federal budget – Rb. 296.3 bln.; out of regional budgets – Rb. 290.1 bln.; out of extrabudgetary sources – Rb. 311 bln. Rural development was among undisputable priorities (20% of all the above funding). But because of the crisis, in 2010, 1 Rasporyazheniye Pravitelstva RF on 30.11.2010 ¹2316-p “Ob utverzhdenii Kontseptsii ustoychivogo razvitiya selskikh territoriy Rossiyskoy Federatsii na period do 2020 goda” 2 Ibid 3 Ustoychivoye razvitiye selskikh territoriy: regionalny aspect. M.: VIAPI im. A.A. Nikonova: ERD, 4 Problemy selskogo razvitiya v usloviyakh munitsipalnoy reformy v Rossii/Starodubrovskaya I., Mironova N.- M.: Gaidar Institute, 2010.-p. 5 In the version of Resolution ¹446 of 14.07.ON THE CONCEPT OF SUSTAINED DEVELOPMENT OF RURAL TERRITORIES the State program’s funding was axed one-third vs. the 2009 figures, with rural social development programs having been sequestrated in the first place (see Table 1).
Table CHANGE IN RESOURCES PROVISION OF THE STATE PROGRAM IN 2008–2010AS RB. BLN.
2008 2009 Budget Budget Budget Names of measures Planned Actual variance, Planned Actual variance, Planned Actual variance, % % % I. Sustained development of rural 7335 8 138 10,9 17 913 8 965 –50,0 25 124 7 720 –69.territories II. Creation of general conditions 9863 17 720 79,7 12 917 17 819 38.0 13 781 10 191 –26.of agriculture’s functioning III. Development of priority agrarian sub- 13733 9 144 -33,4 15 412 16 443 6.7 14 110 10 585 –25.sectors IV. Attainment of agriculture’s financial 44004 82 642 87,8 51 284 112 270 118.9 65 622 76 623 16.sustainability V. Regulation of markets for 1360 640 -53,0 1 360 9 637 608.6 1 363 5 578 309.agricultural products, raw materials and food On support of agriculture in the 76296 118 283 55,0 100 000 165 133 65.1 120 000 110 697 –frame of the State program, TOTAL Source: data of the RF Ministry of Agriculture.
Formally, sustained development of rural territories has lately formed one of main national agrarian policy objectives, which is stipulated in the statute on the RF Ministry of Agriculture and in the State program. As much as Rb. 112.4 bln. was to be earmarked from the federal budget on the respective measures. It was planned that they should form the most vigorously developing element of the State program: its implementation in 2012 was envisaged to be fueled by a volume of funding 5.7 times greater than the 2007 figures.
The main measures, which should ensure sustained rural development in the frame of the State program, are:
– subsidized construction or purchase of housing by rural residents, including young specialists and families (30% - from the federal budget and 40% - from the RF Subject’s budget);
– subsidized measures on development of water supply and gasification;
-other measures, as per the federal target program on social development of rural territories (development of the general education institutions network in rural areas, the one of institutions of primary medical-sanitary assistance, physical culture and sport, trade and consumer services, power and telecommunication networks).
The State program’s measures aimed at development of small businesses in rural areas, including non-agrarian ones, promotion of the services sphere, etc. can be provisionally attributed to rural development, too.
The year of 2009 was to see implementation of measures on support of a complex compact house building and municipal development of rural settlements in the frame of pilot projects. As much as Rb.
847 m. was allocated for these measures. It was envisaged that the funding will be provided in the form of grants on a tender basis. But the respective appropriations were suspended in 2010, too.
In 2010, the per-capita (rural residents only) budget spending on rural development measures under the State program accounted for Rb. 203 (Euro 4.95). Is this big or small a figure For example, in 2009 the EU countries allocated on rural development out of their agrarian budget Euro 185 mln., or 0.66 in per capita terms1 (rural residents only). It should be noted, though, that the EU funded absolutely different directions of support (subventions to young farmers, an early 1 http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/fin/finrep09/annexes_en.pdf RUSSIAN ECONOMY: TRENDS AND PERSPECTIVES retirement program, grants to finance local communities’ initiatives, etc.). It seems that in this context it is worth discussing efficacy of spending, rather than volumes of financing.
Regretfully, the adopted Concept fell short of setting assessment criteria for development of rural areas, nor it determines amounts and sources of funding of their sustained development. The Concept even failed to identify priority measures, which makes it another castrated, declarative document. The authors did not factor into regional and inter-regional peculiarities in terms of territorial development, while the differences between periphery and suburban areas within a given RF Subject often appear far greater than the ones between them and similar areas in neighbor regions1. From our perspective, it would be appropriate to regulate sustained development of rural territories in the frame of an individual program, like in the EU, where problems of support of competitiveness and investment in agriculture, on the one hand, and support of territories with unfavorable conditions for development paired with encouragement of local initiatives, on the other, fall under different blocs and are financed with the use of special vehicles.
That the Concept gives no answers to fundamental questions means a kick-off of a broad discussion on what future for the Russian territories we would like to see.
1 See, for example: Nefedova T.G. Proshloye, nastoyaschee i buduschee periferiynykh rayonov Nechernozemya (na primere Kostronskoy oblasti). Voprosy gosudarstvennogo i municipalnogo upravleniya. 2008. ¹1. Pp. 166- INNOVATION RUSSIA – 2020: WHITHER EFFICIENCY INNOVATION RUSSIA – 2020: WHITHER EFFICIENCY I.Dezhina On the last day of December 2010, the RF Ministry of Economic Development released the draft Strategy of innovation development of RF for the period to 2020. Analysis of the document evidences that it constitutes an attempt to bundle, in the context of the need in innovation–based development, objectives and measures of the educational, scientific, technological, and innovation policies. The employed approach (scenarios, stages, and set of implemented and new measures) in many ways appears reminiscent of the previous documents. The strategy is an array of develope to different degreemeasures.
The draft Strategy of innovation development of RF for the period to 2020, which the RF Ministry of Economic Development released on 31 December 2010, is yet another document in the string of concepts and strategies that outline avenues of the nation’s innovation development. Its peculiarity lies in an attempt to bundle together the educational, scientific, technological, and innovation policies. Equally important is the fact that the Strategy was not designed from scratch, as the document comprises references to some provisions and results of the preceding document – that is, the Strategy of development of science and innovation in Russian Federation to 2015. While the new Strategy states that the nation has fallen behind most indicators set by the Strategy–2015, regretfully, there is no at least general analysis as to why it is occurred so – whether because of wrongly set objectives, or unduly implemented measures, or erratically picked indicators, or mistakes in calculations of values of target indicators. That said, it is worth noting that it is not the authors’ fault. Rather, it is the result of the absence of both research into, and basic indicators of, a number of recently implemented scientific and innovation policy measures. The absence of the data of evaluation of results of earlier adopted government decisions makes developing a new Strategy a particularly daunting task, for such a document concerns both the direction of movement and what should be done, as well as where one should not go and what one should discontinue to do in the light of, say, the global climate change, exposed inefficiency, changing priorities, etc.