Yuri Savchenko, the Mayor of Kaliningrad, intends to create 2 or 3 local free economic zones, modeled on Chinese ones, in the near future. He made this announcement today at a press conference devoted to the findings of the visit to China by the delegation from the North-West Federal District.
'We began to carry out economic reforms at almost the same time as the Chinese, but the difference in results is striking,' said Savchenko. 'The reasons are that the country's leadership has never been one of the initiators of the Kaliningrad free economic zone and that we still have no clear idea of what the zone should be like and what needs to be done to achieve it. After this trip it has become clear to me that we do not need compensatory benefits to put the region on a level playing field with the rest of Russia, but effective stimuli to attract serious investment and introduce high technology for the creation of export-oriented manufacturing rather than current production which aims to replace imports'.
He believes that much of the Chinese experience can already be put into practice today by introducing amendments into regional legislation. However, in his opinion, more substantial measures relating to the Kaliningrad Region must be taken by the federal government.