Municipal Strategy for Developing
Regional Free Enterprise in Siberia
Lyudmila M. Simonova
The search for a way out of Russia's economic crisis at a time when virtually all types of resources are scarce compels the Russian government to look to the only economic resource it still has at its disposal: the business activity of its population. "If Rome was saved by geese," notes Russian premier I. Silyayev, "Russia will be saved by free enterprise." The most important task of central and local authorities at the present time is to ensure the appropriate conditions and guarantees for its development.
On the other hand, the initial functioning of the new economic structures has shown that the principal danger to Russian entrepreneurs is presented by factors not so much of an economic as a political order, especially by the opposition and incompetence of the authorities at all levels. The purely economic task of finding a way out of the crisis and of rehabilitating the economy is accordingly closely tied to the political reform of management structures at all levels and to the distribution of authority between them. Moreover, as sociological polls show, the local authorities are the source of the majority of the population's "crisis of confidence." Efforts by local self- government organs at the regional level must therefore invariably be accompanied by the definition of the directions of reform of these organs themselves, as well as the directions of reform of the relations between them and the central organs of government, and of the redistribution of authority between them. We shall demonstrate this on the basis of the example of Tyumen Oblast (region) in Siberia.
Tyumen Oblast is the nation's largest agricultural and industrial region. It produces over 300 million tons of oil and almost 600 billion cubic meters of natural gas, which account for 30 percent of the nation's hard-currency earnings. The region's agricultural output was estimated in 1991 at 1,345 million rubles. Its national income was four times higher than the national