Alexander Tsybulskiy: the Arctic zone should be treated as a special economic region


Alexander Tsybulskiy, the Deputy Minister of the Economic Development of the Russian Federation, delivered a report in the Federation Council on the legal framework for social and economic development of the Russian Federation’s Arctic zone.

The main issue for discussion included the development and adoption of a special law on the development of Russia’s Arctic zone.

Alexander Tsybulskiy emphasized the need to concentrate on the improvement of organizational and legal conditions for social and economic development and the maintenance of national security. He suggested treating the Arctic zone as a special economic region in the first place. The region is not homogenous as it includes major industrial centers, such as Murmansk and Arkhangelsk, as well as remote and sparsely populated spaces of Northern Yakutia.

According to the Deputy Minister the law should be focused on the development of economic tools diversified in accordance with the social and economic potential and specialization of different areas of the Arctic zone.
In the opinion of the Deputy Minister the draft should not encompass all spheres of public and social relations existing in the macro-region (all the more so when it comes to the issues already settled).

The Deputy Minister also noted that Arctic tourism deserves more attention. Taking into account its growing popularity in recent years it becomes a promising business activity.

The law should underscore the need to enhance the development of environmental tourism and extreme travel, fishing and hunting, cruise travel and ethnographic, historical and cultural tourism.

The draft should also reflect the involvement of the aboriginal peoples in the economic activities in the region, noted Alexander Tsybulskiy.

Moreover, the Deputy Minister thinks that the special conditions inherent to the Arctic territories of the Russian Federation won’t be characterized properly without taking into account additional environmental parameters describing the local environment. In his opinion an attempt to include all these aspects into the framework of the draft will make it too “heavy”, or simply “bury” it completely. According to the Deputy Minister “we will either “dig ourselves too deep”, or fail to take into account all the nuances”.

The Deputy Minister expressed his hope for the future Arctic Task Force to study the issues scrupulously to come out with a comprehensive, integral and systematic draft in due time.