Research seminar on contemporary Russian policy-making

The international research seminar will focus on the questions of personalist and institutional tendencies in the process of policy development in Russia.

Time: 20.9.2017 at 14:30-17:00
Venue: Aleksanteri Institute, 2nd floor meeting room (Unioninkatu 33, Helsinki)


14:30- 15:40
Introduction of the topic of policy-making in Russia and Lecture by Prof Stephen Fortescue “TOSERs: another case of policy failure?”

Coffee break

Discussion: Dr Andrey Starodubtsev, Dr Meri Kulmala and Dr Atsushi Ogushi and Questions from the audience


  • Prof Stephen Fortescue, University of New South Wales & Australian National University
  • Dr. Andrey Starodubtsev (University of Helsinki)
  • Dr. Meri Kulmala (University of Helsinki)
  • Dr Atsushi Ogushi (Keio University, Japan) and a Visiting fellow, Aleksanteri Institute (University of Helsinki).
  • Moderator: Dr Marina Khmelnitskaya (University of Helsinki)

TOSERs: another case of policy failure? - Introduction by Stephen Foretescue

‘Territories of accelerated socio-economic development’ (TOSERs, to use the Russian acronym) are a new form of special investment zone, initially conceived as contributing exclusively to the economic development of the Russian Far East (RFE), but then expanded to those economically challenged centres of population known as monogoroda (one-company towns) throughout the Russian Federation.

Here I outline the history of the TOSER as a policy concept and of its implementation so far, in order to address two questions: will TOSERs contribute to the economic development of the two areas to which they have been applied, the Russian Far East and monogoroda; and if not – and I will admit my scepticism – why not?

Particular attention will be devoted to one possible answer to the second question, that they are the outcome of a flawed policy process, both as originally devised for the Russian Far East and in particular as expanded to monogoroda.  The latter is relevant to and expands on Andrei Starodubtsev’s analysis of Special Economic Zones, in which he identifies bureaucratic rent-seeking as the reason for the dilution of policy initiatives through unwarranted expansion to new areas.

For more information, please contact: Marina Khmelnitskaya