BOFIT Policy Brief: In response to external shocks : How advanced Russian regions react to changes in federal policies : Experience of Tatarstan
Authors: Yakovlev, Andrei; Freinkman, Lev; Makarov, Sergey; Pogodaev, Victor
Abstract: Tight budget constraints confronting the Russian authorities since the 2008 crisis urge the federal government to adjust the traditional system of its relations with the regions. The paper presents the case of the Republic of Tatarstan (RT) to analyze potential regions’ response to the emerging, considerably harsher “rules of the game.” Our main conclusion is that Tatarstan and other stronger Russian regions can take advantage of the current crisis for transitioning to a new economic development model resembling developmental states in Southeast Asia. This conclusion draws on analysis of the strategies recently implemented by the RT elites in response to external shocks the republic had to cope with in the post-Soviet period. Special focus is on identifying key factors that helped the republic successfully tackle the previous shocks, such as effective mechanisms of aligning the interests of the main regional elite groups and forming a consensus regarding the republican developmental priorities and the instruments for their attainment. The actual prospects for the formation of a developmental state model in Tatarstan will depend upon the success of the current regional elite in finding a consolidated response to new challenges facing the republic in recent years, as well as the constructiveness of the federal policy towards the regions. One of specific obstacles for Tatarstan to follow on Asian experience of catching up relates to a need to accelerate opening up of the regional economy for new, domestic and foreign, players.