The head of the Russian defense ministry, Sergei Shoygu, suggested that, in order to stop the outflow of people from the eastern regions of the country, build several large cities in Siberia and move the capital there. The minister lamented that “there are no major projects in Russia today, like those from the times of the USSR”.
Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu proposed on Friday to build several large cities in Siberia and move the country’s capital to one of them. In 2012, Shoigu said that the capital in Siberia would help stop the exodus from the eastern regions. Now the Minister of Defense has returned to this idea at a meeting in Novosibirsk with scientists from the Siberian department of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAN).
– We have to build three or even five large scientific, industrial and economic centers in Siberia, in other words, cities with a population of 300-500 thousand, and even up to a million. And not only to build cities and move the capital there, but to make them focused specifically on one or another sphere of activity – said Shoigu.
The minister lamented that “there are no major projects in Russia today, like those from the times of the USSR”. He replaced one of the so-called construction of socialism – the construction of the city of Komsomolsk on the Amur in the Khabarovsk Krai in the Russian Far East by the Komsomolists in 1932.
Russia’s defense minister wants to return to large-scale investments
Szojgu also replaced the Krasnoyarsk Hydroelectric Power Plant, the Sajano-Szuszeńska Hydroelectric Power Plant in the upper reaches of the Yenisei, and the Baikal-Amur Railway. – Remember how honestly people went to all these construction sites – he argued.
The Minister of Defense himself comes from Siberia – from the republic of Tuva in Eastern Siberia. In recent years, the media has made public the joint journeys of Shoygu and President Vladimir Putin through the Tuvian taiga. The minister came up with the idea of moving the capital to Siberia back in 2012.
Putin, on the other hand, allowed in 2014 that some federal offices could reside in Siberia, for example in Krasnoyarsk. For now, however, the only state institution outside Moscow is the Constitutional Court. Its headquarters are in St. Petersburg.
Urban planners skeptical of plans to relocate the Russian capital
Urban planners have already commented on Shoigu’s proposal. A scientist from the RAN Demographic Research Institute, Vadim Biezwierbnyj told the RBK portal that the idea of a capital in Siberia will not find support among politicians. Nevertheless – according to the town planner – such a proposal would make sense due to the shifting of the place where resources are concentrated and demographic development continues.
– There is probably more people in the Moscow region than in Siberia and the Far East. This is not a very good trend, considering that the migration trend is about moving to the center. Changing them would require unusual solutions, including moving the capital, Biezwierbnyj said.
Alexander Kynev, political scientist, sharply criticized the words of Shoigu. – We have a huge number of cities dying out, we have a gigantic problem with the infrastructure that needs to be renovated. Try to rebuild even one of the dying cities. What new can you talk about? Where will people come from in them? – Kynev said on the independent TV channel Doge.
Main photo source: Reuters Archive