MOSCOW Feb 5 Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on
Wednesday ordered officials to draft plans to move the head
offices of some state-owned companies to far eastern Russia as
part of an effort to develop the region, a senior official said.
Russia wants to increase its clout in Asia, where it has
eager clients for its oil and gas including China and Japan, and
is looking for ways to develop the sparsely populated stretches
of country from Siberia to the eastern coastline.
President Vladimir Putin hosted an Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC) summit in the coastal city of Vladivostok in
2012 and has made what Russia calls its Far East a priority in
the Kremlin term he started that year.
"We must create a business climate and infrastructure that
will enable us to compete successfully for investment and labour
resources ... with our closest neighbours in the Far East,"
Medvedev told a government meeting, according to his website.
"(Medvedev) gave us instructions today on moving several big
companies with state ownership ... to the Far East," Putin's
representative to the region, Yuri Trutnev, told reporters after
a cabinet meeting.
Trutnev did not name any company and suggested the plan had
not got that far yet.
"We are to prepare proposals which will be reviewed by the
leadership of the country," he said.
A move 6,400 km (4,000 miles) east could face resistance
from executives and staff, and a plan launched by Medvedev
during his 2008-2012 presidency to move many government offices
to suburban Moscow never got off the ground.
Several subsidiaries of state-controlled gas company
Gazprom have moved to St. Petersburg.
Gazprom subsidiary Gazprom Dobycha Shelf said on Wednesday
it would move to the island of Sakhalin, off Russia's eastern
coast, and that a separate subsidiary would be created for
operations off its northern coast.