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18:07 | May 05 | 2012

Yakut Hub

The Republic’s authorities have presented the region to diplomats and businessmen.

Yakutia is placing its stakes on enhancing economic and sports relationships with other countries. The biggest subject of the Russian Federation can provide impetus for development of the whole Far Eastern region.

There were no vacant seats
The first in 2012 meeting of representatives of foreign embassies and diplomatic missions, Russian and foreign business circles with the leaders of the Republic of Yakutia took place at the RF MFA Reception House in Moscow on February 8.
Authorities of the biggest Russian region made two presentations at the RF MFA Reception House. The first one was about the region’s investment attractiveness. During the second one representatives of the Republic’s leadership told guests at the RF MFA mansion about the status of preparation for the next International Sport Games “Children of Asia” to be held in Yakutia in July 2012.
As the Reception House employees admitted, the Republic is the first subject of the Federation that has not only attracted interest, but managed to provoke a true agiotage about its projects. First in the mansion’s Marble Room, and then in its Fireplace Room, there were practically no vacant seats.
“The role of Yakut land in developing the eastern territories, creating trading posts in Russian America, establishing Russia as an Arctic and Pacific power can hardly be overestimated”, - Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Grigory Karasin emphasized in his speech.
According to the Deputy Minister, the Yakutia’s undisputable competitive advantage is its mineral resource base. “The value of the Republic’s sub-soil assets is estimated at 80 trillion rubles. By this criterion it holds the first place in the country”, - Karasin told. Yakutia accounts for about one half of the coal reserves and for more than one third of the oil and gas reserves located in the Eastern Siberia and the Far East.
In his turn, the First Deputy Chairman of the Republic’s Government Alexei Struchkov, who was making presentation on the region’s investment potential, specified that the region accounted for almost 100% of the Russian production of diamonds (about one fourth of the world production), and the coal industry kept holding leading positions, too. “Extraction of coal from the biggest in the Eastern part of the country Elginskoye Deposit began in August 2011. About 15% of gold in the RF is also produced in Yakutia”, - Alexei Struchkov told.
“This year we plan to produce up to 7 mil tons of oil and 2 bil cubic meters of natural gas”, - he noted.
Along with the production of minerals, the region’s key sectors include jewelry industry, wood processing and agriculture.
Implementation of the strategy already produces tangible benefits. Yakutia’s Gross Regional Product has increased almost 20% over the 5 years. And it is expected to demonstrate a three-fold growth over the period from 2007 through 2020.

«Stable» has turned to «positive»
The region’s credit rating has also been upgraded over this period.
“Yakutia is one of the ten subjects of the Federation that are rated by international agencies. In 2011, taking into account sustained improvement in Yakutia’s economic indicators, its balanced budgetary policy, low level of government debt and continuing diversification of its economy, international rating agencies Standart&Poors and Fitch upgraded the Republic’s credit rating and revised their outlook from stable to positive”, - the First Deputy Chairman emphasized.
Another important part of the strategy that is currently being implemented is creating large industrial hubs in the region.
“In Western Yakutia, where traditionally diamonds are produced, a new Russian center of oil and gas production, helium production and a processing industry hub are being created using the common transport and energy infrastructure. Development of the Talakanskoye and Alinskoye deposits by “Surgutneftegaz” has begun. As a result, more than 5 mil tons of oil were produced in the Republic in 2011”, - Alexei Struchkov added.
Among the expected projects is construction of the Yakutia – Khabarovsk – Vladivostok gas pipeline. A large industrial hub based on the extraction and enrichment of coal, iron and uranium ores, as well as on chemical industry is currently being created in Southern Yakutia. In Central Yakutia a transport and logistics hub, as well as a powerful education complex is being created; in this area the emphasis will be made on development of jewelry and diamonds producing industries.
It is worth noting that there is a strong and stable demand for goods produced in the Republic in international markets, and the potential for its increase is not yet exhausted.
“The Republic’s external trade turnover reached $4 bil in 2011, which represented a 33% growth compared to 2010”, - the First Deputy Chairman of the Yakutian Government informed.
According to Struchkov, the Republic has trade relationships with 42 countries of the world. In the commodity pattern of the Republic’s exports gems, coal and ores are the biggest contributors. “The Republic’s main trade partners are Belgium, Switzerland, India, Israel, Ukraine and the PRC”, - the First Deputy Chairman of the Yakutian Government specified.
The Republic’s authorities estimate the total amount of investments required in Yakutia at $154.8 bil. And most of them (>76%) are to be made by private investors.
A number of enterprises with Japanese, Korean, Indian, Canadian and Chinese investments already operate in the Republic. These enterprises that enjoyed the investments specialize in production of minerals: coal, gold, oil and gas.
At the same time, the Yakutian authorities realize that in the long run one cannot focus on exports of raw materials alone. In January 2012 the region’s Minister of External Relations Valery Maximov said that the structure of Yakutia’s exports would be modified over the next few years. And in the future products with higher level of processing and fuel and energy complex products will be exported.

The road to becoming a champion is open
Yakutia places its stakes not only on the region’s economic strengthening, but on implementation of its own geopolitical projects as well.
This summer the International Sport Games “Children of Asia” will be held in the Republic for the fifth time. The Republic hosts the Games every four years. It is symbolic that some of the “Children of Asia” participants have already reconfirmed their achievements at the Olympic podium as adult sportsmen.
In future the established format of the Games may be revised. It is already known that organization of the Games will be held at the level of national Olympic movements.
In this regard the Republic’s Minister of External Relations Valery Maximov, while making presentation of the next Games at the RF MFA Reception House, said that the sport event would soon have its own international “Olympic council”.
According to the Minister, an international organization tentatively named “Olympic Council of the Children of Asia” has been proposed to be established under the auspices of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) by the Council’s head Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah.
It is already known that the “children’s” organization will be working directly with OCA countries’ national Olympic committees on issues related to development of children’s and youth sports and holding the “Children of Asia” Games.
An International Sport Forum “Russia is a Sport Power” will take place in Yakutia on July 4 – 16, 2012. The 5th International Sport Games “Children of Asia” will be held within the framework of the Forum.
17 countries have already confirmed their participation in the Games, and 10 others have expressed interest, the Minister noted. In addition, teams representing Russian regions and federal districts will take part in the event. In total, about 3 thousand young sportsmen are expected to participate in the Games.
Such significant events will become a present of a kind on another (apart from the 380th anniversary of integration into the Russian state) important occasion. “This year marks a 20th anniversary of establishment and beginning of development of external relations of the Republic of Yakutia”, - the Chairman of Government of Yakutia Galina Danchikova reminded.
One can only hope that the next 20 years will feature acceleration of the progress already achieved.