A new state-run development company will get unprecedented powers to invest in natural resources on nearly two thirds of Russia’s territory, and be answerable directly to the president, according to a bill drafted by the Economic Ministry this week.
The State Corporation to develop Eastern Siberia and the Far East will have direct access to land and natural resources in 16 Russian regions (comprising 60 percent of the country), bypassing laws on natural resources, forestry, land distribution and even labor, Kommersant reported Friday, citing a leaked copy of the bill.
In a reflection of the corporation’s powers, government sources cited by the paper are already dubbing it “a state within a state,” and even a new Far Eastern Republic.
“In essence, a parallel government is being formed that will be headed by [President-elect Vladimir] Putin personally,” Rostislav Turovsky, a regions expert and the vice president of the Center of Political Technologies, told The Moscow News. “This will limit the powers of [outgoing President Dmitry] Medvedev as Prime Minister, with Putin taking control of economic decisions when he becomes president. The country will be split into two parts, just like under Ivan the Terrible, with the Zemschina and the Oprichnina. One part will be run by Medvedev, and the other by this state corporation.”