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Kremlin's man in the Russian Far East demands business-friendly regime to boost development

By The Siberian Times reporter
25 October 2013

Officials will be fired for blocking progress, warns deputy premier Yuri Trutnev.

Trutnev signaled a transfer of powers to a revamped Ministry of Development of Russian Far East from other government agencies. Picture: Oleg Bessudnov, for superkarate.ru

'Clearly, you cannot expect a flow of investments as long as officials extort money from business people,' said plain-speaking Trutnev, presidential representative in the Far Eastern Federal District. 'We are not going to double up the operations of the law-enforcement bodies, but we will monitor investment projects and the officials obstructing them will be relieved of their duties.'

He spoke after premier Dmitry Medvedev chaired a session of the government's commission on the development of the Far East, held in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Trutnev signaled a transfer of powers to a revamped Ministry of Development of Russian Far East from other government agencies. 

'We have to reconfigure the ministry; it has no real functions today,' he said. 'Among the functions to be handed over to the ministry are the implementation of federal goal-oriented programmes in the Far East and the establishment of special economic zones,' reported ITAR-TASS news agency.

He stressed the need to solve the key problem of electricity supplies to the Far East. 'In a majority of Far Eastern provinces, power generation is an inhibiting factor,' he said. 'Electricity prices are very high, connecting to power grid is a huge problem, and there is a lack of generating capacities,' he warned.

Medvedev said that previous government measures to spark development in the region had proved 'not entirely successful'.

'They have not brought the results we hoped for; they have not yielded economic effect. As responsible people, we have to say it aloud'.

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