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Books by Grigory Yavlinsky
Economics and Politics in Russia
The Center for Economic and Political Research (EPIcenter)
Nizhni Novgorod-Moscow, 1992
CHAPTER 2. The New Policies of the Administration.

2.3. Regional approach

Horizontal ties.

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Besides the general regional interests and demands and the common elements of protective tactics, each region has its own historically important ties with different regions of Russia and different states of the CIS. All of these factors comprise a significant potential for integration, and are not connected with the center.

It is necessary to contrast the growing economic chaos and crumbling of the government with the current strategy of stabilization based on the substitution, where possible, of a weakening vertical economy and the management of ties on a more horizontal level.

It is important not to let the moment slip away for the creation of integrated action on the basis of common economic interests. Although the economic basis still exists, the longer one waits to begin such a movement toward integration, the more difficult it will be. For several regions holding true economic "trumps" (Tyumen, the Far East, Kaliningrad oblast, etc.) will feel the need to create economic systems which are difficult to integrate, and will begin to orient themselves toward the outside.

The manifestation of the potential for integration upon insufficient consideration of the demands of the regions on the part of Russian leadership will most likely follow the path of strengthening interregional alliances each with its own center.

Events are dictating to all the regions generally the same conditions of existence, for the survival of which will be needed common agreement, well-reasoned positions and a mechanism for their carrying out. Inasmuch as the interests of the representatives of the regions are not dissimilar, the singularity of the interests of the inhabitants, which comprise their concern for their rights and safety, and the protection of the self-destructing system of social services and the economies of the regions, unites them.

For the moment, the existing regional associations of economic cooperation (Greater Volga, Greater Urals, Siberian Agreement, the Far East Regional Association of Economic Cooperation, and others), acting chiefly on a basis of private contacts of the leaders of the regions and mutual economic agreements, invite imitation. With the lack of a working system of vertical economic ties, however, associations will find it necessary not only to develop their own economic organs, but gradually to carry the center of gravity of the activities to the political sphere.

The program of activities in regional associations could lay out the following positions.

First, one must take a clear position regarding budget, tax and credit policies, monetary circulation, privatization and the management of federal property. One must highlight that when mistakes take place specifically in the regions, and the potential for general crises is rebuffed.

Second, it is necessary to insist on the quick preparation by the president and Supreme Soviet of a defense doctrine, military strategy and a conversion program.

Third, regional associations must speak out clearly against the appearance of separatism, the inclination of separate regions toward isolation, and the introduction

of various protectionist limitations, which weaken economic ties and intensify the [poor] situation in production. Furthermore, one of the most important tasks of the regional associations must become the execution of a coordinated policy for the creation of desirable conditions to attract domestic and foreign investment to the regions and cities. Here is included the development and realization of regional investment programs and their international expertise, the creation of a flexible tax policy and an inventory of resources in manufacturing power, a defined prioritized enumeration of the most profitable industrial and social projects, the holding of contests to solve regional and city problems, and the formation of a preliminary conception of regions and cities for potential investors.

On the road to reintegration, the following problems and obstacles are the most formidable: The conservation of the archaic system of government construction, controversies between regions, intra-regional political fights, the growth of social dissatisfaction, and the individual inability of regional leaderships to manifest preliminary models of regional development.

Overcoming these obstacles is only possible should the separate regions have the ability to take on, with or without the center, leadership roles in the execution of unifying policies and the formation of a prototype of a new government.


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