Putin Says Russia’s Far East Can Become ‘Powerful Economic Center’

Russia’s Far East should become an economic, industrial center with strong export potential, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok, according to Vesti.ru.

In order for this to happen, the region needs entrepreneurial energy and conditions for growth of small and medium-sized businesses, Putin said. And in terms of the quality of the business climate, the Far East should not only be competitive with other Russian regions but also in relation to neighboring countries, the President added.

“Development of the Far East for Russia is an unconditional priority, and all efforts of the authorities are directed to create here a powerful center for international cooperation and integration, business and investment activity, education, science and culture,” the Russian President said.

Putin added that the problems of the Far Eastern region cannot be solved immediately, given the complexity of the tasks, the decades-long demographic, social, economic and infrastructural problems.

But over the past five years, the President noted, “thanks to modern business models and a priority state approach, the Far East is becoming a point of growth and attraction of investment.”

Industrial production of the region has grown during this time by almost 22%. A quarter of direct foreign investment in Russia last year went to the Far East, according to official data.