Development and Urbanization
This paper examines the local responses and efficacy of Putin’s initiative to develop the Russian Far East (RFE). It draws on the Russian cultural repertoire of ‘pokazhuka (displaying)’ to analyze policy aims and their local implementation in the RFE. Since becoming part of the territory of Imperial Russia in 1860, the RFE has been the most underdeveloped region in the country and its development, or lack of it, has been a thorny issue in the region’s relationship with the centre (Moscow). During the last decade, the government of the Russian Federation has actively pursued development of the RFE; this initiative was accelerated by the hosting of an APEC summit in Vladivostok in 2012 and the establishment of a dedicated Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East in 2013. So far, most studies discussing ‘Putin’s turn to the East’ have interpreted this initiative within a geopolitical framework that focuses on Russia’s security concerns and views development policies in the RFE as a means for Russia to position itself as a powerful player on the international stage. By contrast, this paper focuses on the way that the Russian Federation’s development policies address regional inequalities and local residents’ responses to them, using the cultural performative notion of ‘pokazhuka (displaying)’.