Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 81

Also in Khabarovsk, Yeltsin signed a decree giving presidential status to a federal program to promote the economic and social development of the Russian Far East and the Trans-Baikal region. The program, which covers the period 1996-2005, was adopted by the Russian government on April 15. Yeltsin’s endorsement is aimed at boosting the status of the program, which aims to develop infrastructure in sparsely-populated regions and to set up a large industrial center, Komsomolsk-Amursk-Solnechny, on the basis of defense and mining concerns and related research facilities.

At the signing ceremony, Yeltsin said that three such programs had been adopted over the past 25 years and that all had been failures. But, he said, "We shall not become a prosperous nation and a great power if the Far East and the Trans-Baikal region are neglected." Yeltsin said that, although local initiative and entrepreneurship were stronger motivators than orders from Moscow, federal support was also needed. He said this was the policy successfully pursued by the Russian Empire in the late nineteenth century and that today’s reform program echoed the industrial upsurge Russia experienced in the 1890s. "We have never been closer to starting to benefit from the reforms," he said. (Interfax-Eurasia, April 24)

Khabarovsk Region Signs Agreement with Center.