Author`s name Olga Savka

Siberian Capital Vacancy Open

Will Novosibirsk win the crown of the Siberian capital?

The federal center of the Russian Federation has the last word to say when it comes to the distribution of revenues and other income received by regional budgets. Siberia occupies a vast territory of Russia - important raw materials are concentrated in this region. Siberia has a right to have the capital. The city of Novosibirsk was officially pronounced the capital of the Siberian administrative district. However, the Russian government did not make any other steps in this respect. Novosibirsk - the largest Siberian city situated in the center of Russia - does not have enough significance for the federal center. On the other hand, one may have a different approach to the issue: what did the "uncrowned" Siberian metropolis do to win the "crown?"

A lot of large projects started being implemented at the earliest stage of the market economy in Russia, but a lot of them are still not finished. There was an idea to turn Novosibirsk to the multimodal center, although nothing has been done for the project at all. Another example of standstill is the construction of the Northern Highway around Novosibirsk. The road is being built very slow. However, things are a lot better in the Krasnoyarsk region, which is also a Siberian region: the regional administration is successfully lobbying the building of the northern freeway to connect Krasnoyarsk with Moscow. The same things are happening with the idea to make the local Tolmachevo airport become an international airport. Krasnoyarsk leaves Novosibirsk behind at this point too - the international airport has already been built there. The administration of Novosibirsk's Tolmachevo airport said in July of this year that the airport would start working with Asiana AirLines. It was planned that the South Korean airline would move its transit stop from Uzbekistan to Novosibirsk's Tolmachevo airport and perform freight flights from South Korea to Germany and Great Britain making a stop in Novosibirsk. Such a collaboration would improve the image of the Novosibirsk region both on the home and no the international market. Something stopped Asiana AirLines from making the final decision to cooperate with Tolmachevo airport, and the South Korean airline was not the only one at this point. Lufthansa Cargo's Boeings continue flying from Europe to South-East Asia via Uzbekistan too.

The population of Novosibirsk counts millions of people. Therefore, the city is supposed to be attractive to foreign businessmen to develop the services of the international level there. However, things are different. For example, the Swedish company IKEA had to cancel the project of building its store in Novosibirsk. There were various reasons for that decision, but most likely, it happened because of the increased land tax. The land in Novosibirsk doubled in price - maintaining a 20,000 square meters megamall would be very expensive for the Swedes. Furthermore, expensive land did not allow to built a Ramstore supermarket in Novosibirsk either.

Novosibirsk is comparable to Moscow from the point of view of high prices. Apartments cost the same, for instance, but the wages are a lot lower in Novosibirsk. In general, there can be a lot of reasons found to explain the reason why Novosibirsk does not enjoy the metropolis qualities. The most important problem is the fact that the city does not differ much from other large Siberian cities. The Kemerovo region, for example, enjoys more of Moscow's attention owing to governor Aman Tuleyev's efforts. Krasnoyarsk is another candidacy to win the capital status. The region is developing, Russian mass media write about economic accomplishments there a lot. To crown it all, the Krasnoyarsk region may become United Russia's region at the coming parliamentary elections. It is not ruled out that Krasnoyarsk governor Alexander Khloponin will chair the party. Region's residents are being rather enthusiastic about the possibility – they know that a politician of the federal level (like Alexander Lebed, the now-deceased governor of the Krasnoyrask region) can bring a lot of good to the regional economy.

On the photo: The view of Novosibirsk

Boris Viktorov