TOP "Kurils": contrary to Japanese claims
In 2017, by a decree of the Government of the Russian Federation on the territory of Shikotan Island (Kuril Islands), a territory of advanced socio-economic development (TOR "Kurils") was created. The key specialization of the site was to be tourism and fish processing. Against the background of the official position of Japan, according to which the islands of Iturup, Kunashir and the Lesser Kuril ridge are part of the Hokkaido prefecture, economic the development of these territories is extremely important for demonstrating the Russian presence here.
The trips of the first persons of our state to the Kuril Islands have always been negatively perceived in Japan, which throughout the post-war period disputes with Russia the ownership of part of the archipelago. So, Dmitry Medvedev visited the Kuril Islands in 2010, 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2019. Often the visits of one of the first persons of the Russian Federation to the territory of the islands were accompanied by rather aggressive comments from the Japanese side. For example, in 2010, when Dmitry Medvedev visited the Kuril Islands in his capacity as Russian president, Tokyo said it viewed the visit as "impermissible rudeness." In 2012, a similar trip by Dmitry Medvedev, already as prime minister, was called by the Japanese authorities "a tub of cold water." From the above statements, we can conclude that Japan has long been dissatisfied with such decisions of the Russian side, believing that visits of this nature impede the conclusion of a peace treaty between states. In Russia, it is assumed that visits by the first persons of the country to the territory of the Kuril Islands are fully in line with the interests of the strategic development of the Russian Federation.
It was in 2017 that Dmitry Medvedev, while in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, signed a document on the creation in Russia of a new advanced development area (TOP) "Kurils". The basis for this decision was the proposal of the Ostrovnoy fish factory to build a complex for the production of high-quality frozen and chilled fish products and canned food on the Kuril Islands. The company was going to invest 7,4 billion rubles in the implementation of this project, it was supposed to create more than 700 new jobs. The project managers were going to receive from 1,5 billion rubles a year. The company's products were to be supplied both to the domestic market and to the countries of the Asia-Pacific region - to Japan, China, the Republic of Korea and other countries.
In addition, it should be noted that a number of other Russian companies have expressed a certain interest in the implementation of projects at the new site. It was about projects for the construction of fish processing enterprises, the development of mariculture and fish farming, the commissioning of low-capacity power plants that would use renewable energy sources in their work, the formation of tourist infrastructure and the construction of mini-hotels, as well as the development of a gold deposit, which was located on the South Kurilakh. It is also necessary to pay attention to the fact that Japanese investors also showed their interest in various projects.
The Ministry of the Russian Federation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic has calculated that the total volume of private investments in the implementation of the announced projects should be at least 10 billion rubles, the total revenues to the budget until 2026 from taxes and fees, taking into account the tax preferences provided to investors of the ASEZ, will exceed mark of 5,8 billion rubles. The Gross Regional Product of the Sakhalin Region was also expected to grow significantly; it was to grow by 5,2 billion rubles.
In 2021, a decision was made to expand the boundaries of the ASEZ, such a measure allows the investor to implement two major tourism projects on preferential terms. Thus, the Vasta Discovery company plans to build a three-star hotel complex in the city of Severo-Kurilsk (investments up to 2,2 billion rubles) and the Iturup Resort ski resort on the territory of Iturup Island (the project budget is 21,5 billion rubles).
Also in 2021, at one of the meetings of the Eastern Economic Forum, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin stressed that it is necessary to create an unprecedented set of benefits and incentives for business in the Kuril Islands. The head of state added that the conditions of the regime should apply only to companies that are not only registered in the Kuriles, but actually carry out their activities there. In addition, Russia is ready to open its doors to foreign investors, who will also be able to enjoy all the favorable conditions. Currently, the territory of advanced development "Kuriles" has 8 residents, the anchor company of the site is Ostrovnoy Rybokombinat LLC. On the territory of the archipelago, there is also a territory with a special regime for doing business "Kuril Islands of the Russian Federation", its participants enjoy tax benefits, reduced insurance premiums and administrative preferences. At the moment, 14 companies have become its participants.
Summing up, I would like to note that recently the Russian Federation has been trying to increase its economic presence in the Kuril Islands, it is clear that at the moment it has not been possible to solve all the problems that affect the depressiveness of this region. Particularly important activities for the development of the Kuriles can be considered in the context of claims to part of the islands of the archipelago of the Japanese side. In the current geopolitical conditions, when Japan has acquired the status of a country unfriendly to Russia, the prospects for concluding a peace treaty between the states are becoming increasingly vague. Of course, the sanctions will become a negative factor influencing the further development of the Kuril Islands. policy some countries in the Asia-Pacific region, but even in this you can find its positive aspects. So, in parallel with this, for companies that operate in the Kuriles, new economically profitable sales markets will appear, in the development of which, taking into account political realities, the federal authorities will be interested.
- Author: Viktor Anufriev
- Photos used: sakhalin.gov.ru