The Baltic Region

2019 Vol. 11 № 4

The changing role of border regions in the regional policies of the EU and Russia

Abstract

This article analyses how the role of border regions has changed in the regional policies of Russia and European countries since the early 1990s. The study aims to estimate the efficiency of Russia’s regional policy with regard to border regions (its completeness, a focus on actual problems, etc.) and to compare it with that of European counterparts. The article relies on publications on the experience of EU countries, earlier contributions from Russian researchers, federal regulations, and statistics on the regional distribution of federal investment in fixed assets. It is shown that the federal border region policy is largely a reflection of the features and problems of Russia’s regional policy as a whole. Currently, the development of cross-border cooperation is affected more strongly by national security concerns than by economic growth considerations. Cross-border cooperation is no longer part of the regional policy. Border regions, however, have received an increasing proportion of federal investments in recent years, particularly, amid the reunification with the Crimea. The study calls for better coordination between different areas of the federal socio-economic policy on border regions and closer attention to border regions’ foreign economic ties, particularly, within the implementation of the Strategy for the Spatial Development of the Russian Federation.

Download an article

Regionalisation in Northern Europe and the Northern Dimension in Russian political discourse

Abstract

The progress and sustainability of international cross-border region formation is a major concern for Russia, a country bordering sixteen states. In the early 2000s, the development of regions with Russian participation was at its height in northwestern Europe. Cross-border regions arise both naturally, stemming from various functional relations, and as a result of political decisions. In the latter case, political discourse is an important factor in successful region-building. The Northern Dimension (ND) programme, which was launched in 1997, embodied the principle of depoliticised cooperation — Europe’s ‘new regionalism’. This article aims to evaluate the role of the ND in the federal and regional political discourse of 1997—2016, to determine its place among other cross-border cooperation projects, and to follow changes in the understanding of its goals. The study relies on data from the Integrum agency, which has built up the most comprehensive digital archive of federal and regional printed and online media. The federal discourse on the ND reflected the whole set of relations between Russia and the EU. The idea about the crisis of the programme came from the discrepancy between the expectations aroused by political discourse and the actual results of cooperation. The study shows the ND-related discourse changed over the study period and stresses profound differences between federal and regional discourses.

Download an article

Rural areas of russia’s north-west borderland: problems and development paths

Abstract

This article focuses on the rural areas of Russia’s North-West borderlands, particularly, the municipal districts and towns that are closest to the national border. The study aims to identify problems in the development of these territories and provide solutions to them. The methodological framework employed is the neo-endogenous approach, which suggests the maximal multifunctionality-driven use of internal resources, bottom-up initiatives supported by the authorities, extensive use of innovations, the Internet, and scientific knowledge. The study takes into account and assesses the heterogeneity of rural areas by producing a typology of districts built on the structure of agricultural production, using the Hall-Tideman index. The study used several indicators to identify the role and place of border districts in their respective regions. Three types of districts were distinguished according to the structure of agricultural production: districts dominated by agricultural organisations, districts dominated by small farms, and mixed-type districts. Cross-district differences in output dynamics were described. The socially essential functions of rural areas and the economic entities performing those functions were identified. The analysis of the recreational resources of border districts helped to determine the directions in which the transformation of rural areas into consumer spaces was moving. The major development trajectories of rural areas were plotted using the non-endogenous approach and differentiated by the district types. The rural areas of the North-West borderlands were confirmed to have a unique and diverse resource potential that is sufficient to ensure their sustainable development based on the non-endogenous approach.

Download an article