In an interview with the media, Mr Putin said that it would require no small effort to make the Far East a net contributor to the federal budget. The President said the main reasons for the difficult socio-economic situation in the Far East and the population drain from the region were the break-up of the Soviet Union and the return of temporary residents to their own regions, as well as the end of the development phase of the BAM (Baikal-Amur Railway) area. The President stressed the need to promote business in the region and develop contacts with neighbouring countries.
Mr Putin commented on the State Duma’s latest decisions on reforming local government. He welcomed the passage by the lower house of the Federal Assembly of a bill allowing governors to dismiss heads of local government bodies. The President underscored that the direct exercise by regional heads of such powers was a last resort, but it was not so much whether governors actually used them as the existence of such a possibility that mattered. On the same subject, the President also pointed to the need to further improve relations between federal bodies and local government.