The peculiarity of Russia’s regional problems is due to the making of a new geopolitical space and a fundamentally new model of economic development.

The fundamental reason for economic inequality of the regions is the concentration of economic activity on the territories that have competitive advantages and are determined by such factors as availability of natural resources, favorable geographical location, agglomeration effect, human capital assets, and institutional environment.

The interaction among regions in the existing spatial configuration is characterized by the preservation of the gap in the rate of economic growth among different subjects of the Russian Federation. In this regard, the problems of improving the mechanisms of regional governance and developing fundamentally new instruments for implementing regional policy have become vital. Searching for optimal proportions of regional development is a very difficult task which varies depending on specific development conditions. The analysis of the main trends in the regional development showed the results and achievements of the policy of equalizing the regions and allowed to define the main problems of improving the methodology and mechanisms of territorial and spatial development further.

An important aspect of the implementation of the state policy of regional development remains the preparation and adoption of a spatial development strategy that provides for the main approaches for improving the settlement system and the priorities for locating the productive forces. Using regional development forms that ensure an integrated character of territory development includes such mechanisms as special economic zones, territories of advanced development, regional development zones, territorial clusters, urban agglomerations. It is rational to optimize and substantiate prospective approaches to administrative territorial division as well as developing territory-based state programs with a glance to the creation of territories of advanced development and the priorities for developing regions of particular strategic importance.

The program documents for economy and social sphere development adopted at the federal level set a vector for preparing the respective policy documents at the levels of subjects of the Russian Federation and municipal entities. At the regional level, the preparation of these documents should be carried out taking into account the justified proposals of local governments concerning the allocation of local production, social, transport and customs and logistics infrastructure. This should be based on economic priorities and competitive advantages that have prevailed in the municipal entities.

Strategies of social and economic development of federal districts are of particular importance in the system of strategic regional development. They are designed to coordinate the lines of development of the federal, regional and municipal infrastructure taking into account the territorial distribution of the resource base, rational interregional division of labor and interregional economic integration.

The system of strategic planning of social and economic development of the Russian Federation, subjects of the Russian Federation, and municipal entities should create a predictable, favorable environment for planning and implementing investment projects and business programs. It is important to note that the economic nature of such measures should manifest itself in creating the most favorable conditions for the development of businesses in the respective territories with regard to their economic specialization and social modernization. At the same time, the importance of harmonizing the strategies of social and economic development for all federal districts and coordinating the activities of regional bodies on implementing measures to support international economic activity, creating favorable investment climate and attracting foreign investment is increasing.

At the regional level, the consolidation of resources and development mechanisms by means of diversification of the structure of economy and employment in the regions and cities becomes pivotal, as well as the creation and development of import-substituting and export-oriented industries, the creation of functionally balanced systems for supporting exports and attracting investments that are interrelated with federal institutions and mechanisms and complement them with regard to regional specifics.

Regional policy should also include measures to stimulate external and internal migration of the population to build up permanent labor resources in developing, geopolitically important territories by activating industrial activities and creating a high-quality social infrastructure.

The training and retraining of personnel for meeting the needs of regional economies in labor resources in the territorial and vocational and qualification context becomes important, taking into account the prospective long-term investment plans of large companies and the organization of cooperation with educational institutions.

The priority area of the regional policy is the development of a set of tools that provide motivation to mobilize domestic resources and build up the territories’ own economic potential. The lack of clear priorities for regional policy has a negative impact on the effectiveness of the implementation of such instruments of federal authority as federal target programs, investment funds, special economic zones, and venture capital funding.

Comprehensive regional policy is considered as an element of national economic and structural policy, helping to generate growth in the regions. Multilevel governance involving national, regional and local governments as well as stakeholders such as individuals and nonprofit organizations is more important than the previous approaches.

State programs should be focused on creating the mechanisms to support competitive advantages with respect to the contribution of the regions to the overall development dynamics. In this regard, it is necessary to establish common indicators and clear standards in monitoring and evaluating the results of state programs aimed at regional development. Thus, public policy will indeed be aimed at consolidating the goals and increasing efficiency.

Olga Izryadnova – Head of the Structural Policy Department