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Progress In Russian Far-Eastern Economy Fails To Halt Exodus

The 2002 nationwide census revealed that the local populace had fallen from 8 million in 1991 to 7 million in 2002.
by Staff Writers
Vladivostok (RIAN) May 19, 2006
The population in Russia's Far East has declined by 20% in the last 15 years even though the regional economy has picked up, the president's envoy to the region said Thursday.

"People are leaving because they cannot find the living conditions that they would like to see," Kamil Iskhakov told a meeting in Khabarovsk, a regional center. "The rates of people leaving regrettably are not falling despite improved socio-economic development indicators."

Although the Far Eastern is the biggest of Russia's seven federal districts, it is only home to about 5% Russia's 142 million people. The 2002 nationwide census revealed that the local populace had fallen from 8 million in 1991 to 7 million in 2002.

The outflow has been put down to poor employment prospects and harsh living conditions, though official statistics suggest the district's industry output index (in relative prices) grew 9% in 1Q06 year-on-year. However, the Magadan Region, the Chukotka Autonomous Area, the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and the Khabarovsk Territory posted a decline in industrial production.

In January-March 2006, regional companies and organizations invested more than 37 billion rubles (about $1.4 bln) in the development of economy and social sphere, the official said.

Iskhakov said that the local authorities on all levels had been concentrating their efforts in this area and the situation was gradually improving.

Source: RIA Novosti

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