Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Mevedev Eliminates Economic Zones Agency

President Dmitry Medvedev has eliminated the Federal Agency for Special Economic Zones, just four years after its creation, and handed its duties over to the Economic Development Ministry.

The agency was created at the initiative of German Gref, who served as economic development minister from 2000 to 2007. Medvedev signed an order Monday eliminating the body, which had reported to the ministry, the Kremlin press service said.

Kirill Yankov, a deputy head of the service, said he knew that it would be eliminated and that the move was to help streamline the government. The agency's central office had about 200 employees, he said.

A source in the Economic Development Ministry said work with the zones would continue. "We intend to develop them actively," and a special department within the ministry will be formed, the source said.

A second source in the ministry said Deputy Economic Development Minister Oleg Savelyev would oversee the special economic zones.

Russian legislation allows for the creation of four types of economic zones: industrial/production (four exist), technical/innovation (four), tourist/recreation (seven) and ports (a tender has been held for the creation of three zones).

The special economic zones in the Kaliningrad and Magadan regions are not included because of their separate tax regimes.

One of the ministry sources said the regions' roles would increase.

"We need to push our colleagues, the regional leaders, to look for investors themselves and to invest their own money to develop tourism," Medvedev said at a meeting Monday with Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina, according to comments posted on the Kremlin web site.

The majority of the zones didn't turn out so well, said Bulat Stolyarov, director of the Institute of Regional Politics. The state acted as the zones' lead developer, and as a result, hardly any private investors were found.