Even Putin Admits that Siberia is Doomed

The Associated Press reports:

President Vladimir Putin warned Wednesday that Russia’s Far East was increasingly isolated from the rest of the country, and failure to exploit the region’s vast natural resources threatened national security. Speaking at a Kremlin meeting of the Security Council, Putin said development of the vast region — stretching east to west from eastern Siberia to the Pacific Coast, and south to north from the Chinese border to the Arctic Sea — was hampered by poor infrastructure and endemic corruption. He said the region’s dwindling population was being replaced by a growing influx of Chinese immigrants.” The Far East is poorly linked to the economic, information and transportation network of the rest of Russia,” Putin said, according to a Kremlin transcript. “The region is using its natural competitive advantages, including transit corridors, very ineffectively. All of these things pose a serious threat to our political and economic positions in the Asia-Pacific region, and to Russia’s national security, without exaggeration,” he said. The Russian Far East covers a territory of 6.2 million square kilometers but has a population of just over 7 million people, according to federal data. The region has vast timber, oil and mineral resources, which are increasingly coveted by foreign investors.

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