Fourth, the logic of trans-nationalism is also on the rise suggesting that the growing segments of political, economic and social exchanges increasingly stay out of control of the bureaucratic centralities263, which gives a green light to non-central actors. NGOs keep their voices loud: for instance, the acquitting judgment in Alexander Nikitin’s case gave legitimacy to environmental NGOs participation in soft security debates264. Transnational agenda is also culturally manifested: St.Petersburg, Kaliningrad or Pskov possess their own identities that make them important actors beyond Russia’s borders.
Fifth, the institutionalist platform is also getting more persuasive power. Institutions are increasingly seen as the “structures of incentives” setting practices applicable to a variety of spheres – domestic rules of business regulations, environment protection and product safety standards have to be compatible with those of the EU countries. Hence, the institutionalist agenda gives priority to projecting new norms and principles of the governance. Most important are not separate economic projects but forming the internationally-friendly infrastructure, creating the institutional ambit for effective regional governance. In other words, instead of asking “where the funds might be found”, officials have to think in terms of “how to set new rules of the game”, effective and workable - the norms of housing and sanitation, public amenities, exploitation of non-renewable resources, preservation of cultural heritage, safety of technical supply, regulation of land use, etc. Regional authorities in Russia have to reorient their strategies towards better marketing, enhancing accessibility of public goods and services, and inciting public debates in communities about future living conditions265.
Seemingly, the institutional reforming is one of priority for the Center for Strategic Studies of North West Federal District. The Doctrine of the Development of Russia’s North West presented by this think tank assumes that for integration into a European milieu, the federal district needs special managerial techniques, based on human capital, the culture of innovation, and non-governmental networking266.
IDEAS, IMAGES, AND THEIR PRODUCERS:
THE CASE OF REGION-MAKING IN RUSSIA’S NORTH WEST FEDERAL DISTRICT
Andrey S. Makarychev,
Professor, Department of International Relations,
Nizhny Novgorod Linguistic University267