Staunton, May 18 – Russian government promises to reverse the decline in company towns [monogorody] where ten percent of the population of the country still lives are not being kept, according to Audit Chamber head Tatyana Golikova. As a result, their economic situation continues to deteriorate and their populations to decline.
Indeed, she says on the basis of a survey conducted by her agency, instead of the improvements Moscow had promised, many of these company towns are now in worse shape than ever, with a third of their combined populations now living in places which she described as being “in crisis” (regnum.ru/news/economy/2276432.html).
Not only has the central government not done what it promised to do, Golikova adds, but often the data about the monogorody published by Rosstat, the labor ministry and the ministry of industry and trade do not correspond to the facts on the ground that her officials found in surveying 60 of them.
According to the Accounting Chamber, the negative processes that attracted the attention of officials earlier have only intensified. Production has fallen, and with it, the populations of many of them. Since 2015, some 50,000 people have fled these cities because the number of workplaces in them has fallen by 288,000, “or almost five percent,” Golikova says.
“More than 70 percent of the residents of company towns assess the socio-economic situation in them as ‘unfavorable’ or ‘tolerable with difficulty,” up by 10 percent from the figures in 2015. And “only 7.7 percent of residents” say that the measures local officials have taken are in any way “sufficient.”
Golikova says that Moscow needs first of all to better monitor the situation and to devote more planning and resources so that these cities will not die. Their populations must be saved and that can be achieved only by diversifying the economies on which these one-company towns have long been based.
The Russian government at present classified 319 population points as monogorody, with just under a third of them being identified as in the most critical condition. There are such company towns in 61 federal subjects with the greatest number being in predominantly ethnic Russian regions like Kemerovo (24), Sverdlovsk (17) and Chelyabinsk (17) oblasts.