The main risks of the Russian North in the social sphere are: negative demography, the lack of high-quality housing, the lack of a larger number of local residents with the necessary infrastructure facilities, low rates of development of health care, physical education and sports, and a shortage of qualified engineering and workforce.
The government considers the depreciation of fixed assets, including transport infrastructure, as an economic risk. In addition, in the Russian Arctic sector, there has long been a significant economic gap between donor territories and those regional entities that are commonly referred to as depressed. The government notes an undeveloped energy system, despite the fact that the Russian North itself is the main supplier of energy resources not only to other regions of Russia, but also abroad. The problem of the backwardness of the information and communication sector, the weak navigation link and the poorly developed system of the northern ports are highlighted.
It is gratifying that the Russian Cabinet of Ministers in this case calls things by their names and does not try to use, let's say, politically correct terms that would somewhat smooth out the impression of the problems of the subarctic regions, which include Chukotka, the Murmansk region, part of the Arkhangelsk region (including ), Tyumen Region (YNAO), the northern districts of Karelia, several districts of Yakutia, the Krasnoyarsk Territory, the Komi Republic.
And now, according to the Strategy signed by the head of state, a large-scale movement should begin in terms of solving the problems outlined above. How effective this solution will be, and how precisely the funds will be allocated to the Russian subarctic regions after conducting a whole series of logistic measures - this is a matter that stands apart; This is a difficult question, given the recent stories with, to put it mildly, ineffective budget spending by various departments of the Russian Government.
But for all the complexity of this issue, to be honest, the logic of the criticism, which a number of experts have managed to subject the Strategy for the Development of the Arctic Zone itself, is hardly drawn. Note: the criticism concerns not so much the unmarked control over the transparency of budget spending, but the letters of the Strategy itself. Experts such as the Director General of the Institute of Regional Problems, Mr. Zhuravlev, Professor of the Faculty of Geography of Moscow State University, Mrs. Zubarevich, Vice-President of the Association of Arctic Explorers, Mr. Blinov, and a number of other distinguished gentlemen managed to be noted as critics. The essence of the critique of the Strategy has basically come down to the fact that the Strategy itself can be impracticable and even, in the opinion of the same experts, it most likely will turn out to be. Like, what kind of development of the Arctic zone can we talk about if each of the designated painful points of the Russian North requires enormous costs that the government simply cannot afford. Why develop the endangered villages in Taimyr or Chukotka, when even the central part of the country dies out exclusively and without fail ... They say that sea ports do not work, people run to the mainland - and therefore there is simply no one to develop infrastructure in the Arctic. Why build airports and railway lines? For herders, or what? So they are quite tolerable on the deer can roam from one camp to another ...
In general, the logic, as they say, is interesting ... According to this very logic, it turns out that if the population of a particular city (village) in the same north decreases, then you should not try to reverse this tendency for the better, making all efforts now declare to the rest: leave then all at once in a crowd - it will be easier for the state: disassemble at home for recyclables, cut factory pipes - pass on the metal - and that will be ... There will be naked tundra. And the fact that they are enclosed in the depths of this naked tundra is truly enormous wealth - so, they say, forget it ... A smart private trader will come - and everything will be arranged on the shelves ...
However, if we continue to be guided by such logic, then the demographic, environmental and other problems of the Russian North are a start. After all, by and large, declaring the futility of adopting any kind of strategies regarding the Arctic from Russia, the same experts actually declare that the Russian North is a cut off slice. And if such information is actively promoted through certain circles of the media, then the new owners of the Arctic wealth will be found already on the other side of the state border. There are, there are ... We do not have time to blink an eye. They will say: well, why are you raising a tantrum now? Your own professors, academicians and other status gentlemen themselves said: they say, the development of the Arctic zone of Russia is too tough. And if it is not too tough for Russia, then we will take on the job: Canadians, Norwegians, Americans, Danes or Chinese, for example ...
It turns out that the rhetoric itself, which is aimed at forming a conviction about the hopelessness of the Russian North, is a rhetoric of direct and obvious destructiveness. It’s possible to declare the lack of opportunities for Russia in solving the tasks of developing the Northern Sea Route, the network of Arctic ports, exploring new fields while simultaneously improving the so-called “social sphere”, but this somehow reminds not sober criticism, but some frank a priori programming of oneself to total failure.
In the meantime, critics of the Strategy declare the denseness of its authors and, not looking up from their warm places, bury the Russian North, the work on its development has already begun. Yes - we still don’t have to talk about breakthrough achievements, but the scale of the tasks to be solved is not such as to sum up the results of the program the very next day after its adoption.
Here are a few positive examples of what has changed, for example, on the Northern Sea Route recently.
In particular, last year there was a significant increase in freight traffic - up to 1,26 million tons. These figures, of course, are far from those of the Bosporus or the Suez Canal, but one should not forget that navigation along the Northern Sea Route is possible within a few months. Despite the climatic difficulties, the Northern Sea Route is chosen every year for the transportation of cargo more and more not only by Russian ships, but also by ships under foreign jurisdiction. If in the 2010 year, only four foreign ships (ships with foreign cargo) decided to go the Northern Sea Path, then according to the results of 2012, they already counted 46. This suggests that the development of the Northern Sea Route may lead to an increase in cargo traffic and its use as an option to profit in the course of foreign navigation. One of the sectors of such navigation is now becoming the transportation of Norwegian liquefied gas towards the “Eastern Tigers”. The management of Atomflot, which provides services for laying routes along the Northern Sea Route for merchant ships, states that by the year 2015-16 the number of track carrying capacity will double.
In this regard, the Ministry of Emergencies began to implement plans for the implementation of security systems throughout the Northern Sea Route. In particular, they have already begun to create three basic rescue centers that are equipped with aviation equipment and deep-sea vehicles. In addition to the basic centers, seven more Emergencies Ministry centers will be created, on which special equipment and special equipment will be stored, which will be used by mobile teams to provide rescue operations, including on drilling platforms.
In addition to the rescue points of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, networks of weather stations will be created in the Arctic zone, allowing them to quickly respond to changes in the climatic conditions in the region, weather forecasting on all vessel traffic. The issues of creating military bases in subarctic regions are considered. One of the varieties of such bases should be the base for tracking the activities in the Arctic of our "partners" from NATO countries, China and other countries of the world who are already not averse to make claims on everything that can be profitable in these territories.
In general, if there is political will, as well as a strictly verified and controlled development plan for the Russian segment of the Arctic, both in the social and economic spheres, the task is quite achievable. Yes - there are grave-diggers of any programs and strategies in our country, but no one says that it will be easy ...