Gaidar Forum: Regional agenda – key vectors and priorities

During the two days of the 11th Gaidar Forum at the Presidential Academy, the participants paid great attention to the development of regions and local regional issues. Within the framework of the forum’s substantial agenda, development vectors for the region and for people were discussed. The experts and speakers of the forum focused on topics identified in the Address of the President of Russia, including healthcare, education, development of domestic tourism, improving the financial literacy of the communities, pension reform, combating poverty and improving demography.

The Forum was actively attended by the heads of regions, experts and business representatives from different cities of our country. Governors of various regions like Kaluga, Oryol, Nizhny Novgorod, Voronezh, Ryazan, Tver, Murmansk etc. presented their reports and speeches in sections and panel discussions. Also the Governor, Perm Territory and the Deputy Governor - Chairman, Government of Sevastopol, Governor, Sakha Republic (Yakutia) and Governor, Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District (Ugra) and President, the Republic of Tatarstan participated in the discussion. Participants spoke about the development of entrepreneurial initiatives in their regions, as well as the positive impact of ongoing digitization.

Aisen Nikolaev, Head of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), spoke about the emergence of a regional ecosystem through the development of the IT sector and communications facilities, he also noted that “the state is obviously a big infrastructure.” As a result of its development and thanks to the creation of an IT park in the region, local startups enter the international market and compete with Western companies. Andrey Nikitin, Governor, the Novgorod Region, drew attention to the lack of qualified personnel, which is why the local budget has to pay more for a number of services than in those regions where there are the necessary qualified specialists with the necessary experience.

When discussing the bill “On the Protection and Promotion of Investment and the Development of Investment Activity in the Russian Federation” in the framework of the session “Through the investment attractiveness of the trust economy”, the heads of regions discussed how public-private partnerships are being implemented in practice. So, Natalia Komarova, Governor, Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District, said that 125 kindergartens were built in the region over five years, while one third of them were built on PPP terms, which was passed by the relevant local law.

The panel discussion on January 16, “National Technological Policy And Regional Specifics,” was dedicated to the role of large business in the formation of regional technological policy. The main participants in the discussion were Oleg Belozerov, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Russian Railways OJSC, and Anatoly Chubais, Chairman, Board of RUSNANO Management Company LLC, who expressed the proposal to put technology entrepreneurs in the spotlight. Also, experts in the panel discussion were attended by Mikhail Karisalov, Director General, SIBUR LLC, Vasily Osmakov, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, Andrey Travnikov, Governor, the Novosibirsk Region.

The topic of financing, including national projects in the regions, was also discussed at other sessions of the Forum. Natalya Akindinova, Director of the Development Center Institute, National Research University - Higher School of Economics, in her report drew attention to the fact that “part of the transfers are not distributed transparently, not on the basis of calculated formulas, but on the basis of agreements with the regions,” noting that there is still no unified approach to the distribution of funds.

Issues of development of single-industry monotowns were discussed by experts of the session called “Responsible Behavior of Development Institutions”. Irina Makieva, Deputy Chairman, VEB.RF, General Director, Monotown Development Fund said that a monotown is the place where development institutions are ready to accept responsible business standards, try new ones to solve both environmental and socio-economic problems.

During the expert session of “Inequality and Poverty: Towards Reduction”, experts discussed the mechanisms for implementing the tasks set in the President Vladimir Putin’s Address to the Federal Assembly. Natalya Zubarevich, Professor, the Lomonosov Moscow State University, Chief research fellow, RANEPA, sees prospects for increasing incomes in Russian regions in the development of labor mobility, as well as middle class expansion. Alexey Vovchenko, First Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Protection of the Russian Federation, noted that the amount of the citizens’ income deficit throughout the country is known, and a significant part of people experiencing financial difficulties are families with children. Natalya Pochinok, Rector, Russian State Social University, proposed to use the change in the size of the tax deduction and income tax for individuals to solve the problem of supporting the poor.

The delegates of the forum also emphasized the importance of increasing the financial literacy of communities, especially of socially vulnerable groups such as pensioners, young people under 30, single parents, rural residents, large families and families with physically challenged children. At the expert discussion “Financial Literacy as One of the Tools to Overcome the Poverty of Vulnerable Communities”, Guzelia Imaeva, Director, National Agency for Financial Research, drew attention to the prevalence of irrational credit behavior among low-income communities, which debt burden often accounts for 30% of total income in while wealthier people are trying to ensure that the amount of debt does not exceed 10% of their income. 

The topic of pension provision for residents of the regions was discussed during the session “Modern Pension Systems: Possible Answers to Expected Challenges”. According to Evsey Gurvich, Head of the Center for Budget Analysis and Forecasting, Research Financial Institute, Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, the effective operation of the funded pension system requires an increase in economic growth. Oksana Sinyavskaya, Deputy Director, Institute for Social Policy, National Research University - Higher School of Economics, noted that the modern Russian pension system two the most problematic “Is” - informality of public employment and inequality of salary. Yury Gorlin, Deputy Director, Institute of Social Analysis and Forecasts, RANEPA, concluded that the pension system should be, first and foremost, the system to protect the population against poverty.

The 11th Gaidar Forum “Russia and the World: Challenges of the New Decade” is being held at the Presidential Academy on January 15 and 16, 2020.

The organizers of the 11th Gaidar Forum are the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, and the Association of Innovative Regions of Russia.

The title partners of the Gaidar Forum are Gazprom PJSC and Gazprombank JSC. The strategic partners are Coca-Cola, Mastercard, Russian Railways, Pharmstandard group of companies, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, Novartis group of companies, MSD, AKIG group of companies, EF Education First. Partners are Prosveshchenie group of companies, EY, Huawei, RVC JSC, Russian Agricultural Bank JSC.

The title information partners of the Gaidar Forum are the Russia-24 TV channel, TASS, RBC, Business FM. The strategic information partners are Kommersant Publishing House, Interfax, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Invest Foresight magazine, Federal Press Agency. The main information partners are, Gazeta.Ru, Lenta.Ru,, Profile. International partners are RT, ThomsonReuters, Sputnik, EFE, Cision, Pan Pacific Agency. Information partners are Snob media project, AEI PRIME, RNS, Expert magazine, Parlamentskaya Gazeta,, Ekho Moskvy radio station, PRO Business TV channel, FINAM.RU information and analytical agency, Davydov.Index, Strategiya magazine, Ekonomika i Zhizn newspaper, Econs portal, Gosudarstvennaya Sluzhba magazine, TV BRICS.