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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

$17Bln for Far East Approved

The Cabinet on Thursday approved a spending package of 430 billion rubles ($16.8 billion) to stimulate economic growth in the Far East by 2013.

In a throwback to the era of Soviet shock workers, Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov told the meeting that top civil servants should be urged to work in the Far East to show the government's determination to develop the region.

The bumper financial package will see spending on roads, pipelines and the electricity network in the Far East Federal District rise enormously.

"If we add private investment on specific projects to this, then the overall sum rises to 566 billion rubles [$21 billion] and that is by no means the limit," Fradkov said, Interfax reported. "It is time, and I apologize for the old-fashioned terminology, [to develop] Komsomol projects, to attract young people and building brigades, and maybe even to ask managers currently in Moscow and St. Petersburg to go out there for several years."

In 2006 the gross regional product for the Far East was the lowest in Russia and President Vladimir Putin described the situation in the region as "a threat to national security."

Speaking in Khabarovsk on Thursday, Putin's envoy to the Far East Federal District, Kamil Iskhakov, backed Fradkov's calls to boost the area's population and send out top managers. "The more people, and civil servants, that come here, the easier it will be for us," he said, Interfax reported.