RUSSIA and the FAR EAST:Battling for Foreign Capital in Primorsk

COOPERATION WITH EAST ASIA’S booming economies is an essential precondition for successful development in the Russian far east and Primorsk Krai in particular. The radical decentralization of control over foreign economic relations following the dissolution of the Soviet Union has delivered the fate of regional development into the hands of local government officials. In Primorsk Krai, an initial post-Soviet period of burgeoning foreign economic activity lost strength after 1993, as local government became embroiled in political infighting – much of it connected to efforts to profit from the region’s budding export industries. Primorsk Krai lies in the extreme southeastern corner of the vast administrative unit known as the Russian far east.1 The krai is seven time zones from Moscow, and trains take six days to travel from Moscow to Vladivostok, Primorsk’s capital. The krai borders China and North Korea to the west and Khabarovsk Krai to the north and faces the Sea of Japan to the east and south. While Primorsk accounts for a mere 3 percent of the far eastern territory, its 2.5 million inhabitants make up over one-quarter of the far east’s population of 8 million. Vladivostok has 674,000 inhabitants, although that figure does not include military personnel, who probably number 100,000 to 150,000 in Vladivostok alone.