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Regions to Gain Control of Russia's Special Economic Zones

Published: June 7, 2014 (Issue # 1814)



  • Construction of a plant belonging to Turkish domestic goods producer Hayat Group in the special economic zone in Alabuga, Tatarstan.
    Photo: Alabuga.ru

From next year, responsibility for Russia's special economic zones — key institutions that have proved an invaluable boon to domestic and international companies investing in Russia — may be transferred from the federal to regional governments, a news report said Friday.

The decision to delegate management of the zones was reached in late May at a meeting under Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, business daily Vedomosti reported, citing two officials familiar with the decision. The Economic Development Ministry confirmed that the decision had been taken. Kozak's spokesman told the newspaper that the shakeup will have to be approved by the government before coming to fruition.

The special economic zone project was launched by the Economic Development Ministry in 2005 and has bloomed to a total of seventeen zones across Russia, which offer tax benefits, customs benefits, simplified registration procedures and other preferential treatment to investors. Crimea is expected to become Russia's eighteenth special economic zone, following the annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine in March.

Up until now, the federal government has been responsible for opening the zones and allotting funds for construction of necessary infrastructure, while a state-run company — called Special Economic Zones, or SEZ — manages the territories through regional subsidiaries. Federal funds have paid for about 70 percent of the zones' infrastructure, Yulia Stefanishina from consultancy KPMG told Vedomosti. As of April 1, a total of 70.7 billion rubles ($2 billion) had been lavished on building infrastructure for the zones, according to the Economic Development Ministry.

Instead of giving funds directly to SEZ, the federal government will now provide the regions with subsidies for developing the zones, Vedomosti said, though the federal government will retain the power to approve or veto the creation of new zones.

Regional governments will be required to submit a set of targets for their proposed zones to Moscow, and if they do not achieve their aims, they will be forced to repay the federal subsidies, a representative of the Economic Development Ministry said. The criteria for judging a zone's effectiveness will also change, he added — while before they were evaluated according to the number of residents they attracted, the new benchmarks will be the number of high-technology jobs they create and their contribution to the region's economy.

All existing commitments to investors, including promises of land in the zones and anticipated infrastructural development, will be transferred to the regions, the ministry representative said.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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