For several years now I have been in the camp of those who are trying to break the wall of misunderstanding of the problems of the Russian East. There are not many of us at the federal level. Most donors of their own foreheads are limited to local media and government agencies. And attempts to clarify the situation lead to the fact that people simply give up. They stop fighting with time. It's hard enough to be the voice of one crying in the wilderness.
Siberia and the Far East have really turned into a deserted desert for many years. What was created by many generations of our ancestors today is disappearing at an alarming rate. Disappears for a simple and understandable reason even for babies: there are no people!
How many times have I heard a fairly widespread opinion that there is absolutely no reason to live in conditions that are not suitable for life, when it is possible, for example, to develop minerals or cut taiga, using shift workers. People arrived for 3-6 months, robbed the Siberian nature and mineral resources, and left home. And there is no need to build cities, roads, pull power lines ...
How many times have I heard that there is no need in Siberia and the Far East to have a mobilization reserve for the possible deployment of military units. Units and formations from Central Russia will arrive and drive the enemy from their native land. Well yes. They will come and chase. Especially from somewhere in the steppe zone in the Siberian taiga and on the Far Eastern hills, these parts will be effective.
I really like the government's actions to increase interest in Siberia and the Far East through global megaprojects. Let's build a house with all amenities for ten million inhabitants in the middle of taiga or permafrost! Let's build. But why? Who will need this house? 40% of residents of Siberia and the Far East want to leave their homes! Not to live in a mega-home, but to go beyond the Urals, to Moscow and the Moscow region, to St. Petersburg, to the Krasnodar Territory, to the Crimea ...
60% of the territory of Russia is deserted or sparsely populated places! Everything that our ancestors did over the centuries turned out to be unnecessary for us. We will shout with pleasure: "We will not give up an inch of our native land!" But immediately we will be ashamed not to notice how the ethnic composition of Siberian and Far Eastern cities is changing. Moreover, foreigners do not seize our territories, do not displace Russians from their places of residence. They come at the invitation of the authorities and business. They come to empty lands, to empty cities.
Compare the two numbers. Moreover, it should be compared taking into account the fact that in the first case it is necessary to add those who live in the territory illegally, without registration, and in the second, on the contrary, to take away those who actually left the region, but did not officially sign out.
So, the population of Moscow is officially 12 678 079 people. Let's add here the population of the Moscow region: 7 people. This data is for 690. We got the first number. The population of Siberia and the Far East, let me remind you, is 863% of the country's territory, 2020 million people (60). Need some more words?
The figure that I will announce now may shock unprepared readers, but residents of the Far Eastern region know about it. During the period from the collapse of the USSR to the beginning of the 21st century, up to 60% of the population left some of the Far East cities! So much for taking care of the development of nature's pantries. The process continues! People do not want to “heroically master” and wait for the state to have resources for the development of their homeland. They just want to live like a human being.
Very often (especially from residents of Central and South Russia) I hear the phrase that if a person is used to living in such conditions, then he will not leave. Recently I spoke with a representative of the Sakha people. Remember the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)? He and all his relatives were born and live in Yakutia. People accustomed to local conditions. However, the youth of Sakha and other small peoples are leaving the republic.
I looked at the official numbers. From 1989 to 2010, Russia lost 3,5% of its population. And the Far East, or rather the Far Eastern Federal District, - 20%! Of course, you can try to refer to the low birth rate. But it doesn't work. Fertility and mortality rates in the Far Eastern Federal District are practically the same as the average indicators for Russia. But the migration indicators ...
I don’t know if you have noticed the disappearance of anecdotes about some northern peoples. I will mention the terrible numbers. Do you know how many residents of Chukotka, more precisely, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, left the region? 168 people for every thousand of the population! In general, the population of Chukotka has decreased by more than three times! From 164 thousand people to 51 thousand people! This is about the loss of Belarus in the Great Patriotic War!
This is what I read in one of the materials of local journalists. This is the opinion of the first deputy chairman of the board of the Asian-Pacific Bank Sergey Tyrtsev:
“Whole villages were leaving, military units were disbanded. Now the Far East has its own migration: for people who live in Chukotka, Kamchatka, Magadan, the “continents” where they would like to go are the Amur Region, Primorsky and Khabarovsk Territories. At the same time, many of them leave for the south of Russia, and Moscow for many active people remains the goal of their lives. "
By the way, I looked at the figures for the above-mentioned Magadan region. Everything is "well" there. Only 120 people left per 1000. And the population has decreased quite "slightly". From 392 thousand people to 157 thousand people. Everything is fine. We will not give up our native land to anyone! Let the wolverines catch wild reindeer on a land free from man!
Now a simple question for the government of the country. What economic reforms and breakthroughs in the Far East are you talking about? Who will reform and break through? One can state about excellent plans for the development of regions, including economic ones. Only for the implementation of these plans, an economically active population is needed, and not old pensioners who remain in abandoned cities and towns!
The indicator of the economically active population in the Far Eastern Federal District is already hopelessly negative! I can cite quite a few numbers. But if I have already started talking about the Magadan region, then I will end with this particular region. The number of people who are actually employed in the economy has decreased by 1989% since 70 (in 2010)!
Things are a little better in Siberia. A more comfortable environment for life affects. The number of economically active population is higher here, and in percentage terms too. Simply put, there are indeed more people in Siberia who are able to work. The birth rate, as I wrote above, is quite consistent with the all-Russian indicators.
But the problem with the really employed in the economy. There are people, they can work, but ... nowhere. In Russia as a whole, the decline in the number of people actually employed in the economy is about 10%. For the Siberian Federal District this figure is 14%. Hence the level of wages, and the dictates of entrepreneurs, and, ultimately, the departure of young people in whole families for the Urals.
The Siberian Federal District is among the leaders in terms of migration loss. The Omsk region generally takes the "honorable" second place in Russia in terms of this indicator. Kemerovo region and Altai are not far behind Omsk. I talked with Omsk demographers about the demography in the region. Alas, most of them quite definitely expressed that the point of no return has already been passed. Young people will continue to leave the region.
In order to stabilize the situation, it is necessary to take measures at the federal level. Now it is fashionable to conduct all kinds of polls. The results of these polls are not officially recorded simply because various methodologies are violated. I wanted to know why they were leaving. One thing is one's own thoughts, another thing is what the departing people say. So, what we see from the polls of bloggers from different Siberian regions ...
Why are young people leaving? Money comes first. Low incomes with high costs. A young specialist receives a salary sometimes several times less than in Moscow. At the same time, the costs, especially in winter, are significantly higher. Further - a cold unfavorable climate. Everything is clear here. When the December rain in Moscow is shown on the TV screen, and it is below minus thirty outside your window, you involuntarily think about the climate.
Young people are very concerned about the problem of poor ecology. It is no secret that in most Siberian cities there are quite serious industries, which, to put it mildly, do not improve the ecological situation in cities. Oncological diseases, lung diseases, etc. are almost the norm for Siberia. As well as periodic exceeding of the maximum permissible emission standards. For example, I no longer even pay attention to the sometimes swirling air, but the newlyweds, who recently had a child, pay attention to ...
There are also social problems. In particular, young people are not satisfied with the quality of education and the lack of interesting specialties in universities. Siberian cities are truly student paradise. Universities of almost all specialties are right at hand. So what's the problem? The problem is that universities are focused on local problems. "Polytech" trains personnel for local factories, "med" - doctors for local hospitals, "ped" - teachers for local schools, and so on.
This is a normal, still Soviet practice. But then, in the USSR, a young specialist came to production and had not only a good salary, especially at closed factories, of which there are many in Siberia, but the prospect of growth. Today it is just a "cog" that will never become a "mechanism". And when you move to another region, most of the knowledge gained is simply not needed.
Well, the last important reason is the underdeveloped structure of leisure. Young people whose incomes are not so great simply have nowhere to go. Concert of a Moscow star? Though shabby, but Moscow, from the TV? Sure, not a problem. Today the province has been mastered by pop and theater stars. Only the prices for these concerts bite. For a young family to shell out 8-10 thousand for a couple of tickets for the performance is problematic.
I have something to compare with. I remember my city then, in Soviet times, and I see it now. A large industrial center with many closed businesses, theaters, concert halls, many palaces and houses of culture. Garden City, this official name was written on many posters back then. A city truly buried in flowers.
A large river port, which supplied the entire North of the Tyumen region with the necessary cargo. The steamers went in a continuous stream along the Irtysh to the north and back. There was a wonderful river station, which we were very proud of. And from which they sometimes went on river cruises to the north, to Tobolsk. On large white three-deck ships. And the "Rockets" and "Meteora" rushed past in the direction of Tara. Only 200 kilometers. Three hours, and you're almost in the north of the region.
Do you want faster? No problem. Two airports: international and local. You can fly to any regional center by An-2 or a helicopter. Well, to Moscow or somewhere else - this is a large airport. Get somewhere? Bus, trolleybus, tram to any part of the city. I did not remember about the taxi then. A ruble and three to five kopecks - the difference is significant.
Forty years have passed. I won't talk about theaters and concert halls. Something was closed, something was built. The garden city was reborn into the exhibition "Flora 20 ...", which for some reason is held in the fall. And the flower beds in the courtyards are equipped by local grandmothers. Savvy and adventurous. What "arts" you will not see. Figures made from cut car tires, empty plastic bottles, discarded stuffed toys ...
River? The port stands still, dejectedly bowing the noses of its huge cranes to the rusted barges. The building of the river station now houses a hotel, a bowling alley, a cinema and other "leisure facilities". There are no more white ships and "Rockets" and "Meteors" flying on the wings. Young people probably don't even know what they were. Occasionally a tugboat with a barge filled with sand for the construction of a dam sails.
There are no small nimble airplanes now either. As there is no local airport and most airports in regional centers. True, they say that in Maryanovka the capital's lover aviation and the pilot Leonid Yakubovich keeps his planes ...
But we now have a sports arena where the most famous hockey team played. I had to destroy. The team is still in Balashikha. We are building a new one. We now have a subway. True, after the construction of four stations, it had to be covered with sand. Some 20 billion in total ... We have a huge international airport in Fedorovka. True, they decided not to finish building it and abandoned it. Again, some 20 billion.
I wonder what our grandchildren will remember in forty years?
Instead of a conclusion
We are used to speaking in slogans. We are accustomed to the fact that if necessary, we will do it, no matter what. The way it is. Let's do it. We will lie down with bones, but we will do it. And for whom shall we lie down? For whom will we do it? For "future generations"? But we will not have these future generations. They left for warm lands. In a comfortable environment and a favorable climate. And they did the right thing!
If I, you, all of us do not care that young people want not only to exist, eat, drink, have children, but also to live like a human being, to feel their own need for their native country, the need for their small homeland, then we deserve that children just spat on our "achievements".
The modern world is global. You can leave anywhere. There would be a desire. And our task, the task of those who can do this, the authorities, is to create a situation where young people would not like to leave, but to come.
Many people talk to me about the American and Canadian experience. About the north of Canada and Alaska. Here's the solution! Of course a solution. Leave a small number of people in difficult territories and pay them a certain amount for this. Only the north of Canada and Alaska are not Siberia and the Far East. Far from Siberia!
Americans and Canadians do not have as much wealth in the depths of their "north" as we have in Siberia and the Far East. There are not so many unique deposits, there is not so much oil and gas, there is not so much clean water and forest. That is why they divide our land from time to time "justly" in the West. That is why they are striving to our bowels, to our Baikal, to our Yakutia.
We are again coming up with global projects. Let's build a bridge to Kamchatka! Let the three remaining inhabitants there ride to the mainland across the bridge! Isn't it easier to bring a new two-story steam locomotive from somewhere from Kazan or Moscow to show Siberians what a railway is in the XNUMXst century? ..