Comparative analysis of operational frameworks of special economic areas in Russia

Gylyia F. Galiullina


There are fourteen types of special economic areas currently operating in Russia, with different federal ministries actively lobbying and then supervising the establishment of this or that type. We compare operational frameworks in different types of such areas, placing an emphasis on the areas of priority socio-economic development, which are now being established in closed towns, monotowns and the Far East. Unfortunately, Russia’s special economic areas are often criticized for their inefficacy due to the lack of systemic approach on the federal level and the conflict of interests between the key stakeholders (residents, municipalities, local companies, and local communities). Goals of regional development do not correlate with the national priorities and strategic goals. Another problem is inconsistent managerial decision-making both on the part of regional authorities and management of large enterprises. No clear, justified criteria are established to evaluate the areas' progress and no threshold values are specified. Although there is a significant concentration of special areas within certain regions, there is no integral, coordinated program or plan of action. Thus, synergetic interaction between the stakeholders is impossible. The existing procedure of establishing special areas takes into account neither the level of development of their host regions nor the quality of their development potential.  These problems can be addressed through a regional industrial policy designed on the basis of the industrial-synergetic approach.  Such approach makes it possible not only to focus on institutions of development and institutional transformations but also to take into account phase transformations and structural transformations in the system of areas of priority socio-economic development. The resulting organizational mechanism will be able to adjust to external uncertainties and, together with the system-forming factors, will enhance socio-economic development both on the regional and national level.


institutions of development; conflict of interests; systemic approach; comparative analysis; industrial policy; institutional-synergetic approach; retrospective analysis

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