Mr. Alexander Puzanov, General Director, Institute for Urban Economics, commented to Moscow 24, the State Duma’s initiative to halve the number of monotowns.
According to the expert, the new system is “needed” because the Monotown Development Fund “is unable to address all monotowns.” Mr. Puzanov noted that this change would lead to two consequences. “Those remaining on the list will have better chances to receive aid from the Monotown Development Fund. The second is that advanced socioeconomic development areas may be formed within those towns,” Mr. Puzanov explained.
According to the expert, previous measures were not as effective as they could have been.
They were aimed more at addressing short-term problems for monotowns: restoring industrial facilities and factories, and creating jobs, without focusing on the fact that the latter should be new and highly productive. The measures did not address the issue of monotowns depending on a single facility or factory. The expert believes it is difficult to predict which towns will remain on the list. For example, according to Mr. Puzanov, the previous list was divided into three groups: cities in severe condition, cities in moderate condition, and cities in favorable condition.
Monotowns in a relatively favorable economic condition will most likely be struck from the list, or vice versa: cities with strong lobbying capabilities will retain their place on the list. It is difficult to make predictions. “It will all be a matter of what exactly the new version of the government program looks like. Hopefully, the new system will be more effective. This is all that can be said at this point,” the expert concluded. As reported earlier, the number of monotowns in Russia may be nearly halved, from 321 to 170.
According to the Accounting Chamber, efforts to support monotowns have failed to ensure their sustainable development or to improve their standard of living. The new monotown development program will contain a paragraph listing the relevant criteria on which the status of these towns will be based. Duma deputies believe that towns excluded from the list should not go without support either. The plan was to allocate over RUB 18 billion to them over three years, however, the government commission did not approve the idea. This matter will be addressed during the next budget cycle.
The Ministry of Economic Development noted that the list of monotowns would not be revised any earlier than next year. No proposals have been submitted yet to the Ministry on reducing the number of monotowns.
Moscow October 24 - 29
Author: Alexander Sergeevich Puzanov
Structural section: Municipal economic development
Subject: Monotown development
Region: Russian Federation