A socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of nationwide and international conventions; exhibitions; and business, public, youth, sporting, and cultural events.

The Roscongress Foundation is a socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of nationwide and international conventions; exhibitions; and business, public, youth, sporting, and cultural events. It was established in pursuance of a decision by the President of the Russian Federation.

The Foundation was established in 2007 with the aim of facilitating the development of Russia’s economic potential, promoting its national interests, and strengthening the country’s image. One of the roles of the Foundation is to comprehensively evaluate, analyse, and cover issues on the Russian and global economic agendas. It also offers administrative services, provides promotional support for business projects and attracting investment, helps foster social entrepreneurship and charitable initiatives.

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Russia’s Spatial Framework: Is There a Place for Mega-Agglomerations Here?
17 June 2022
12:00—13:15
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Expansion of agglomeration boundaries in Russia caused by the pandemic

Post-COVID-19 reality, IT, communication, remote work, all these things have expanded the boundaries of agglomerations. It has become possible to live far away. <...> There are changes in the labour market visible to the economy, so the boundaries of agglomerations can be clarified — Maksim Reshetnikov, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.

Russia has untapped potential in urbanization

Over the past ten years, the number of people living in our agglomerations has increased by 9%, which is three times faster than over the past 20 years. In our highly urbanized country, there remains room for accelerated agglomeration growth — Maksim Reshetnikov, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.

There could be various agglomerations, for example, the Urals agglomeration (uniting Yekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk, possibly Perm and Tyumen, by high-speed routes and in other ways), the Volga agglomeration (Kazan, Samara, Ulyanovsk), the Siberian agglomeration (Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Barnaul, Kemerovo), and the southern agglomeration (Rostov-on-Don and Krasnodar). These are potential agglomerations, there is already a lot of momentum going on there — Alexey Kudrin, Chairman, Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation.

Refocusing on APAC countries will accelerate the development of Siberian and eastern mega-agglomerations

The structural changes, that are now taking place and will accelerate, also give new chances to agglomerations. Clearly, new opportunities are emerging for the Far East and Siberia. It may be more difficult for the European part of Russia, especially the Northwest which has been serving heavy transit — Maksim Reshetnikov, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.

Why have [mega-agglomerations – Ed.] become even more relevant? The eastern vector – we need the centres, which are closer to Asia, there. They could become both logistics centres and centres of support for our trade and economic ties with the eastern world — Alexey Kudrin, Chairman, Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation.

ISSUES
Lack of a balanced territorial policy

Today, the Moscow agglomeration, which includes Moscow, the Moscow Region, and part of the adjoining regions, generates 26% of the Russian GDP, and this share is growing all the time because the agglomeration is very dynamic. <...> The St. Petersburg agglomeration is 6 percent of GDP. In other words, these two regions create more than 30%. Further across the country, everything is very unevenly distributed. If we do nothing, their speed will outstrip the development of other territories — Alexey Kudrin, Chairman, Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation.

The tendency of people to leave small towns in Russia

Cities and towns with populations over 100,000 grow. Smaller communities experience population outflow. This is due, first of all, to the fact that everyone is looking for a more effective application of their labour. Any city with more than a million inhabitants is better in this regard — Vladimir Efimov, Deputy Mayor of Moscow in the Government of Moscow for Economic Policy and Property and Land Relations.

Science cities concentrate the high scientific and technological potential and the best personnel. It may be a small town of 5,000 to 100,000 people, but the contribution to the economy of the country and the region is huge. And these cities cannot separately be considered for participation in the national projects regarding social facilities, infrastructure, roads. People leave these places because there is no opportunity for families, children. And we are losing potential, it is eroding — Svetlana Chupsheva, General Director, Agency for Strategic Initiatives to Promote New Projects.

Regions lack authority to develop mega-agglomerations

We are now selecting development projects for our country for the Powerful Ideas for a New Era Forum, with the participation of all comers – citizens, entrepreneurs. We have a block for regional development. Out of three thousand initiatives and proposals, about one thousand are projects related to interregional cooperation and cooperation between cities. Why is this not developing now as much as it could? Because there are legislative restrictions, there are limitations in authority, there are inter-budgetary restrictions, let alone transport and logistics infrastructure. This, of course, needs to be expanded. Last year, the Government of the Russian Federation announced the adoption of a law on urban agglomerations. We need to define what an agglomeration is, what opportunities and powers the subjects of Russia have — Svetlana Chupsheva, General Director, Agency for Strategic Initiatives to Promote New Projects.

We need proper regulation and laws, they should facilitate mutual financing. Right now, not every subject can finance another as part of a joint project — Alexey Kudrin, Chairman, Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation.

SOLUTIONS
Inter-regional rail networks will accelerate the formation of mega-agglomerations

Three or four additional agglomerations could be created in the country. We see ways to do this today. If we connect several regional centres by high-speed rail, it will be a single agglomeration supporting into each other. There will arise a new mobility of capital, goods, population, scientific and technological developments, and more choice of employment for the population. This kind of synergy offers higher efficiency — Alexey Kudrin, Chairman, Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation.

Transport corridors that will bridge this distance are the most important thing that will increase synergy and cooperation between major cities and prevent people from the need to move someplace else — Vladimir Efimov, Deputy Mayor of Moscow in the Government of Moscow for Economic Policy and Property and Land Relations.

By the way, we are launching Lastochka with Chelyabinsk, and it will follow the existing route. Yes, it is not direct, but nevertheless, by launching Lastochka within our region – Nizhny Tagil – Kamensk-Uralsky – Pervouralsk, we can see how much the traffic, passenger flow, and activity have increased. <...> We discussed this with my colleague Alexey Texler. Now we are working on the possibility of using budget investment loans from the National Wealth Fund, we are assessing the risks, this is not a cheap project — Evgeny Kuyvashev, Governor of Sverdlovsk Region.

Concentrating mega-agglomerations on specific industries will strengthen their economies

Speaking of agglomerations, it is important to establish an appropriate specialization and set an appropriate task. This is probably a task for the federal government – the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Industry and Trade – to have those agglomerations take on such a task and become growth centres — Vladimir Efimov, Deputy Mayor of Moscow in the Government of Moscow for Economic Policy and Property and Land Relations.

It is important to give opportunities to the regions and ask them how they could be useful, and let each region choose their specialization. <...> We should provide them with a set of tools to create competition between the regions — Maksim Reshetnikov, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.

Why should resources be redistributed to big cities where things are already looking good, while we have a lot of places lagging behind? <...> We have great points of growth in other regions – extractive sectors, transport projects — Alexey Kudrin, Chairman, Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation.

Regarding the distribution of productive forces in this or that agglomeration, I am really in favour of distribution. Each agglomeration and each region has its own competences, which should be developed, of course. Around these competences – mechanical engineering, heavy engineering, metallurgy – others are formed as synergies, providing assistance to one industry or another. If we do not just do it in an orderly manner but rather create conditions for development of these or those competence centres, agglomeration processes will go much faster — Evgeny Kuyvashev, Governor of Sverdlovsk Region.

Understanding agglomeration effects will allow for more effective investment

Agglomeration effects. < ... > If we poll now, everyone will see them differently. <...> And these are not idle questions, they should be key when choosing road construction priorities — Maksim Reshetnikov, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.

We are now looking at pilot projects, such as infrastructure-service models of cities, so that it is not just money pumped into the infrastructure — Svetlana Chupsheva, General Director, Agency for Strategic Initiatives to Promote New Projects.

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS