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Ivan Datsenko from Ukraine is the leader of the Indians and the agent of the Soviet intelligence service

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Continent Siberia

Time will come –

It will wake up and show

The hidden forces and we will hear the new word from Siberia;

it has own future and it can't be

any doubt in it.

Fridtjof Nansen

Siberia is the territory stretched more than 12,4 million sq.km from east slopes of the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Having developed by Russia for more than 400 years, it looks like the heritage of the most large-scale in the history of the colonization which maximum area (including “the Russian Alaska”) surpassed in the area the Spanish colonies in the New World from Cape Horn to California and Texas and three times exceeded the British possession in Asia. Even now any of the states existing in the world will take place with ease in the territory of the Russian Siberia. The region hides the mass of riches in itself: 7% of world explored reserves of platinum, in 9% – lead and coal, 10% of oil, to 14% of molybdenum, 21% of nickel and 30% of gas and its woods on the area exceed the Amazonian.

All four centuries of the modern history Siberia developed as a classical colony. The Russian settlers came to low-populated territories, suppressing the resistance of the locals. As well as on other continents, the strengthened settlements were based here; the state religion was actively spread; and commercial interest was presented generally by rare goods in mother country. Till 1763 Siberia coped not with governor generals, but at first with Ambassadorial (till 1596) and then Siberian (in 1615-1763) orders copying the European departments for colonies. The colonial character is emphasized also that in the XVII-XVIII centuries the considerable part of settlers was anyway connected with military service, the territory was used as a place of penal servitude and the exile, the cities remained as the administrative, instead of the cultural centres. No wonder that Siberia considered as a colony and the inhabitants of Petersburg (for example, N.A.Bestuzhev or G.S.Batenkov) and the Siberians (such as G.N.Potanin and N.M.Yadrintsev).

The history of Siberia has much in common with the history of the United States – other great European colony. The chronology captivates. The first Siberian cities arose practically at the same time with the first American: Tobolsk (1578), Surgut (1593), Tomsk (1604) and Krasnoyarsk (1628) is a little senior than Jamestown (1607), New York (1624) and Boston (1630). Certainly, at the end of the XVIII century the British colonies found independence and there is no analog to it in the Russian history. But all the same it is possible to be surprised only that gold rushes in Siberia and California both fell on the same time –1840-1860th years that coincided on time and the events which have brought to the beginning of systematic settling of the Far East and “Far West” – the cancellation of a serfdom (1861) and adoption of law about homesteads (1862). Vladivostok and Los Angeles received the city status with an interval in only 10 years. However by the end of the XIX century the differences became more and more noticeable at rates and consequences of the Russian and American expansion. By then, when the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway (1903) was finished in Russia, the Pacific coast of the USA was connected with other territory of the country already by four railway lines. Only in half a century after the beginning of economic boom in the American West, this region turned in the economic centre, comparable to states of East coast while its Pacific territories remained the “distant” East in the Soviet Union. Today three most northern subjects of Russia – Kamchatka territory, the Magadan region and Chukotka Autonomous Area with the general territory (1,62 million sq.km) and the population (530 thousand people) similar to indicators of Alaska (1,71 million sq.km and 722 thousand people) possess a regional product in 198 billion roubles (6,1 billion dollars) against Alaskan 44,9 billion dollars. Comparisons can be continued further.

Why the development of Siberia which has begun not less dynamically, than the development of the American West, choked by the end of the XX century? The most traditional answer can be the appeal to not suitable territory for life, to huge distances and intrigues of “enemies”, certainly. However much more serious, in our opinion, seems other explanation: Siberia didn't repeat the success of “the wild West” first of all because its development remained rigidly subordinated to problems of the development of the Russian and then and the Soviet economy as whole. Throughout the most part of the history Siberia remained the supplier of minerals or production of the first repartition and also the specialized industrial equipment and military equipment. On the logic of development which was set from Moscow, it couldn't be competitive in the world markets and act as the subject of global economy. For this reason today California possesses the gross regional product exceeding the gross domestic product of all Russian Federation and Siberia satisfied with an indicator in 1, 5 times smaller the Belgian. But can the situation change? In our opinion, not only can, but also has to.

“The Russian power will grow with Siberia and North Ocean”, prophetically wrote Mikhail Lomonosov in the XVIII century. This thesis completely was confirmed in the second half of the XX century when the development of a national economy of the USSR was provided with the huge growth of production of raw materials and its primary processing. From 1960 to 1986 of the oil production in the USSR grew in 4,2 time, gas – in 15,1 times, aluminum production – in 4,4 time, nickel – in 5,3 times, electric power development – in 5,5 times. From 60 to 95% of this gain was the share of Siberia.

It would seem, the colonial nature of operation of the region was destroyed. The Siberian cities sharply grew which have become as Novosibirsk not only industrial, but also the cultural and scientific capitals of Russia. Here it is possible to see a parallel too with the logic of development of the Western coast of the USA. However the principles of mobilization type of the development put still in the days of the Great Patriotic War were at the heart of development of productive forces of the region. The military enterprises and the heavy industry dominated in structure of the Siberian economy, in the last decades of the Soviet era being added with the development of huge fields of raw materials. To 85% of all Siberian enterprises critically depended on suppliers in other parts of the country. Limit “obsession” of Siberia in the “European” direction was promoted also by the intense relations of the USSR with all “natural” trade partners of the region in the east – China, South Korea and Japan. Their improvement began only with reorganization, but couldn't even compensate partially a consequence of the begun crisis in the Soviet economy. All this led to rolling of Siberia down to raw economy and fast restoration colonial developments as soon as crisis of the 1990th years began.

As a result, the process of deindustrialization brought to fixing of a raw paradigm of the development of Siberia. For January-September, 2012 in the Kemerovo region 90,6% of ore, coal and metals were for export, in Sakhalin- 90,2% of oil and gas, in Krasnoyarsk krai-76,9% of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, in the Irkutsk region - 86,6% of metals and the wood. Thus Yakutia exports, as it appears, not the diamonds, but coal (nearly 100%), the Magadan region – not the gold, but slag and scrap of ferrous metals (more than 76%) – more valuable goods are on sale through Moscow. In process of increase of specialization of an investment, the finance started concentrating in separate points of growth and the infrastructure and municipal services began to fall into decay. As a result, the inhabitants started leaving the region and the remained to concentrate in the large cities where it was possible to find the work and to be equipped. From 1991 to 2005 more than 1, 7 million people moved from the trans-Ural part of Russia to the European, thus the cumulative population of the cities with number of inhabitants more than 100 thousand grew more than in 15%.

State strengthening became a dominating trend in zero, but it also didn't give Siberia any serious competitive advantages. So, for example, the investments in iron and road construction in 2001-2010 in 69 and 83% were respectively concentrated in the European part of the country. The share of Siberia and the Far East in construction of housing was reduced from 18,1% in 2000 to 13,9% in the 2010th. But the main problem for Siberia is that the budgetary vertical created in the country in the days of Vladimir Putin presidency, brought to unprecedented before centralization of financial resources. For the last 15 years the share of budgets of the Siberian regions in the budgetary system of Russia was reduced almost twice. In conditions when the share of the oil and gas income in the federal budget makes 53%, 76% of the Russian oil and 87% of gas are extracted in Siberia, it isn't necessary to explain that Siberia contributes the lion's share of means in the country budget. But it receives disproportionately little.

Having estimating the chances of revival of Siberia and Russia together with it, it is necessary to take into account three aspects: economic, social and geopolitical.

Let's begin with economy, to be exact with finance. Today the political leaders of the country don't cease to speak about the need “to get down from a raw needle”. But the European part of Russia “sits” on it first of all. The largest corporations registered in Moscow and St. Petersburg fill budgets of these regions, exporting the Siberian resources; as a result, GRP of Moscow and area in 2010 in 8% exceeded (!) GRP of all territory to the East from Ural and this with the fact that region the production of something material almost completely is absent in Moscow. The customs statistics claims that Siberia provides 5, 97% of the Russian export. Because the gas and oil are exported by the companies of the same Moscow and St. Petersburg. Having suggested to create the corporation of development of Siberia and the Far East, Moscow promised to 600 billion roubles of investments and it is when the export of Russia made 516 billion dollars in 2011 and not less than 350 billion dollars falls to the Siberian share!

Our offer looks simple: it is time to the centre to share with regions. What if to divide a tax on mining, raised nowadays in the income of the federal budget (in 2012 it is supposed to be collected 2, 08 trillion roubles) on equal parts and to transfer one of them to the jurisdiction of subjects of the Federation in which the raw materials production is physically carried out? And to make the same with export duty on oil and gas (more than 2, 57 trillion roubles according to the plan for 2012)? Only these three measures can bring not less than 2 trillion roubles to budgets of the Siberian regions annually. Their emergence in Siberia and in the Far East would increase the potential investments into the region not less than in 6 times and would do a gap in the federal budget in 5–6% of gross domestic product. In our opinion, there is nothing more effective both for rise of Siberia and for coercion of the federal government to modernization. Here it is the overcoming of raw dependence!

The social aspect isn't less important also. Usually say that disorder of Siberia follows from scales of this “continent” and complexity of maintaining the economic activity here. In our opinion, such theses aren't maintained by critics. Population density (2, 24 people/sq.km) is comparable to indicators of Australia (2, 81 people/sq.km) or Canada (3, 4 people/sq.km) and more than in 4 times exceeds the figure for Alaska (0, 49 people/sq.km). Thus in Australia the density of a railway system is higher than Siberian in 3 times, road – in 10 times and the number of the airports on 100 thousand inhabitants – in 14 times (in Canada the same indicators make 4, 7 and 19 times). In both countries the gross domestic product per head reaches 40–42 thousand dollars against 241 thousand roubles (8, 2 thousand dollars) beyond Ural. On Alaska the average income per head made even less 64, 4 thousand dollars in 2010 – it is above than in California or in the State of New York. Unfortunately, Siberia doesn't become the region attractive to life because of lack of the thought-over social policy. Return of means earned here to Siberia could solve these problems.

It is worth stopping on geopolitical positioning of Siberia. Today the authorities consider the region as a raw appendage of Asia and are going “to diversify” the trade, passing from deliveries of energy carriers to wood and water sales and leasing of the agricultural areas. In addition, an important resource of Siberia is considered the territory which can become a field for the international transit. We consider that such approaches are economically inefficient and politically dangerous.

We are convinced: the development of Siberia can be successful only on a way of industrialization and new scientific and technological development and here China can appear our competitor. Therefore South Korea, Japan and the USA have to become the main allies of Russia on mastering and development of Siberia. Historical mission of Russia in this region we see “short circuit” of that it is possible to call “North ring” – the union of the modern democratic market countries: from Europe through Russia and Japan to the United States (or upside-down if it is pleasant more). The Atlantic block consisting of the USA and EU countries has to be added with the Pacific block of Russia, Japan and the United States. China can remain the important trade partner of Russia buying from it not raw materials and energy carriers more, but the production of high-tech industries of the Siberian industry.

The general agenda looks clear. The powerful source of financing of its development is necessary to Siberia – and it can be only the redistribution of the raw income. The most important direction of investment of these means have to become the infrastructure, scientific and technological and social, including educational, projects, the realization of which will provide the inflow of private investments and improvement of conditions for business. The foreign investors from Korea, Japan and the United States can be the source of technologies as for carrying out the industrialization and formation of the important innovative centres. Siberia has to be positioned as “Europe in Asia”, as the bridge connecting not Russia and China, but Europe and America. It is remarkable that the Russian pioneers used the most remote lands of Eurasia for penetration into America, instead of on coast of the Yellow Sea. In new conditions Siberia could turn into the centre of industrial growth and the development of the innovative economy fighting for leadership with the Central Russia. On the west bank of the Pacific Ocean there would be own “California”. Russia, as well as the United States, would become in that case the country, the main centres of the industry and education gravitate to two great oceans and are focused respectively on the European and Asian markets. Namely such we see a steady geopolitical design of Russia in the XXI century.

Siberia throughout several centuries acted as a source of vital forces for Russia. This approach doesn't bring benefit any more. The colonial relation to east areas of the state weakens them and corrupts the federal government. Only the reconsideration of the role by Siberia is capable to awaken all Russia from a lethargic sleep of the last 15 years. Only here, in the region occupied by successors of many generations, in the territory where tens cultures and traditions intertwined, on the open spaces open for the Great ocean, new Russian identity can be created. The identity adequate to the world and modern calls, independence regarding as of paramount importance and the risk, proclaiming readiness for mutually advantageous interaction with all who that is worthy. Identity on the bases is European and on an orientation – global and cosmopolitan. Without having changed today, without having demanded the big rights from other part of the country, Siberia will lose opportunity to change Russia. Also it will come to the decline together with it which is naturally trapping the country, not capable to overcome the colonial relation to most worthy of the components.

Viewed : 1889   Commented: 0

Author: Vladimir Kuzmenkin

Publication date : 28 November 2012 01:00

Source: The world and we

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