Academic journal article Asian Perspective

The Modernization of Khasanskii Raion in the Russian Far East: Potential, Problems, and Perspectives

Academic journal article Asian Perspective

The Modernization of Khasanskii Raion in the Russian Far East: Potential, Problems, and Perspectives

Article excerpt

AT THE BEGINNING OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY THE ROLE OF Khasanskii Raion was reinvented as a border area of Pacific Russia. To unravel how this change occurred, we need to consider prospects for the development of the Russian Far East (hereafter RFE), focusing on the modernization of Khasanskii Raion. We analyze it from two main perspectives: historical, through the prism of national security and Russia's participation in international projects in Northeast Asia; and humanitarian, through the subjective accounts and views of the local population.

Creating an International Transportation System

According to the strategic plans of the Russian state, the territory of Khasanskii Raion must be integrated into the international transportation system. A dedicated program titled Development of Russia's Transportation System defines the "eastern vector" as the highest priority. Once developed, that vector is expected to increase Russia's competitive advantages as it integrates into the system of Asia Pacific economic cooperation ("Razvitie transportnoi" 2001). Recognition of the RFE's importance is reflected in the existence of the dedicated federal program known as Economic and Social Development of the Far East and Baikal Territory to 2018 ("O federal'noi tselevoi" 2013, 6). One of the most important programs for years to come, it includes increasing the capacity of marine port-railway complexes for international traffic ("O federal'noi tselevoi" 2013).

The development of Zarubino port is also part of the Program for Social and Economic Development of Primorskii Krai, 2013- 2017, another government development program under the Economic and Social Development program just mentioned. The port forms the Russian segment of the Primor'e-2 International Transportation Corridor (ITC). The ITC connects the Chinese province of Jilin to Zarubino port via Hunchun and Kraskino. Furthermore, Zarubino port is, along with the ports at Posjet and Slavianka, a link in the Tumen River corridor (see Figure 1). An ITC is a "part of a national or international transportation system that ensures significant international cargo and passenger traffic between certain geographical areas. This system includes rolling stock and stationary appliances for all types of transportation operating on the specified route, as well as an aggregation of technological, organizational and legal facilities to guarantee this traffic" (Vinokurov, Dzhadraliev, and Shcherbanin 2009, 10). The goal of Zarubino's modernization project is to develop maritime, road, and railway infrastructure under Primor'e-2 to facilitate Russia's rapid entry into the international transportation and logistics market. At the same time the ITC is also supposed to spur the development of the area, a fact that has bearing on the concepts we are interpreting here.

Assessing the current situation, Russian scholars conclude that the main risk for Russia is that it will fail to participate in the process of establishing an area of security and joint development in the Pacific (Larin 2012; Strategicheskii global'nyi Prognoz 2011). In our opinion, however, the designated course of development for the Primor 'e-2 ITC in the form of a public-private partnership will enable Russia to strengthen its position within the Greater Tumen Initiative (GTI). In the 2000s, Russia determined the format and nature of its participation in the GTI within the framework of the northeastward vector of its foreign policy (Rasporiazhenie Pravitel'stva 2008).

Our research approaches geopolitical and political questions in the context of retrospective analyses of Russia's participation in the GTI. Yet, since such analyses of the Tumen project in Russia have previously been conducted by several others (Bazhenov 2012; Burlakov 2007, 2013; Granberg 2013; Gulidov 2012; Podberezkina 2015; Tsvetkov, Zoidov, and Medkov 2012), we will instead focus on milestones in the development of the idea of a transportation corridor in the southern part of the RFE. …

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