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Makarov: we must clearly understand the ways of regional development in the new conditions

Today, the Belarusian Institute of Strategic Research holds an expert seminar on the main directions of the state policy of regional development in the Republic of Belarus". The purpose of the event is to study expert opinion on the following: the main challenges of regional policy at the present stage, the financial prospects of the regions in implementing breakthrough initiatives (infrastructure, investment, social projects), priority areas of regional policy adaptation to new conditions.

"We are meeting today to take another step closer to understanding which way to move and how to implement regional development in Belarus. We would like to discuss regional development in the new conditions. BISR is the structure that examines these new conditions, and we have obvious knowledge that gravity has changed today. Sanctions policy, post-pandemic processes, special military operation on the border, migration crisis, etc., together create conditions that significantly change the environment in which we will have to implement regional development. And we are ready to share our forecasts on how this will develop further," Oleg Makarov said. - The next point is connected with the fact that geopolitical processes are changing the system of the economy, both regional and global. Accordingly, the place of Belarus in this process is changing. The third point is that our society is changing. Some generations are leaving, others with different mentality are coming to replace them. We see these changes, including occupational migration. This also alters approaches to regional development, partly creating a window of opportunities in one place and closing this window of opportunities in other place. And we cannot ignore it. Apart from these conditions, the country itself is changing. Amendments to the Constitution have been adopted, a number of normative legal acts are being prepared that regulate the activities of the All-Belarusian People's Assembly, change the political field and will regulate the activities of political parties, civil society, and public organizations. This all is changing our internal pattern and significantly changing our society. In fact, these are very serious steps that change the management system, including at the local level. This is another affair that creates new conditions for us".

The regional development issue has recently been in the focus of the country's leadership, the BISR director noted. "On the other hand, this issue is the most problematic due to the fact that to date, there is no clear understanding of the path the regional development should take. A universal path, where we will talk about each region seeking uniformity with neighboring regions. A cluster path, when we say that in some group these regions will complement each other The way of some sort of typification of these regions, when we say that we will divide these regions into agricultural, industrial, border, some other. Or, by looking at each region individually and building a trajectory for the development of each region. At the same time, there are a number of problems linked with the resources flow from one region to another. With investments in new conditions in these regions, with the desire of the country that we do not have an interregional gap. And at the same time understanding that it is necessary to encourage the desire of the region to develop, grow and improve its indices and living conditions at the regional level. In our understanding, today, in fact, there is no such clear view of regional development", he stressed.

Belarus has created a fairly serious foundation for studying regional development issues, Oleg Makarov stated. "The evidence of this is the long-term work of the same Institute of Economics of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Research Economic Institute of the Ministry of Economy. These are two scientific institutions that have been involved in regional development issues for many years," he added. "It is difficult to come to some kind of uniformity. But if we were able to consider some approaches and strategies to regional development, it means we might be sure that considering such issue at the country level, the level of the Head of State, the whole country, would be optimistic and have good prospects for developing some progressive solutions".

The expert seminar is attended by deputy chairmen of regional executive committees for economics, chairmen of district executive committees, state bodies and organizations involved in the development of the draft Concept of Regional Development of the Republic of Belarus.