This year's Eastern Economic Forum will be held on September 11 to 13 in Vladivostok in Russia's Far East. That's a region Moscow holds as a vital cog in the future development of the entire country, but also a region that faces many difficulties.
Vladivostok is the city which is almost 10,000 kilometers and eight time zones to the east away from Moscow. Yet, it has been ruled for hundreds of years from the place far far away – the Kremlin.
For centuries, the Kremlin has been seeking ways to better integrate Russia's Far East with the western, European-influenced part of the country. Fighting population decline, improving infrastructure, creating jobs and business opportunities...all those tasks have been and will always be on the agenda of those that work in the building behind me, throughout Russian history.
Russian President Vladimir Putin calls the shots in Kremlin these days. And his administration is putting extra efforts into creating as many opportunities as possible for the Far East of the country.
It is an area rich in resources like oil, gas, minerals, timber with world-class universities and some key Asia-Europe transportation corridors, but there are some major obstacles ahead for Putin's team.
Vladimir Klimanov from Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy said to CGTN, "because population density is low, there are not enough human resources and because the land area is huge, there's a lack of adequate infrastructure. So the Far East is a typical example of a region that needs state support, and the state will have to develop infrastructure there, because it's not financially viable for private investors to do so."
Infrastructure is the key
Developing the local infrastructure would allow easier access to the Far East's resources. That in turn would attract more businesses to the area, and of course more people are willing to live there. Russia’s Far East already hosts one of the most important and potentially most profitable East-West railway routes.
Every year, millions of tons of goods going both ways pass through here. That's why China is very much interested in supporting Russia’s efforts to develop the local infrastructure. And it's expected that Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin may reach some groundbreaking deals on that topic in Vladivostok.
Particularly, topics on constructing high speed railways from Moscow to the central Kazan City, and a cross-border line from the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin to Vladivostok, are just one of the many reasons to keep an eye on the Eastern Economic Forum in the next few days.
By CGTN's Aljosa Milenkovic