Russian Regions: Economic Growth and Environment

Copyright (c) 2000 by the Slavic Research Center.( English / Japanese ) All rights reserved.


The Slavic Research Center of Hokkaido University organized an International Summer Symposium entitled "Russian Regions: Economic Growth and Environment" on July 21-24, 1999. In the previous year, the Slavic Research Center's International Symposium was devoted to the topic "Regions: A Prism to View the Slavic-Eurasian World: Towards a Discipline of Regionology." Thus, in 1999 we deepened our studies on Russian regions, focusing on their economic and environmental dimensions.

The 1999 symposium was a part of two ongoing research projects (1998-2000) financed by the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture. One is the research project entitled "Interdisciplinary Studies: Economic Development and the Environment on the Sakhalin Offshore Oil and Gas Fields" (Project leader: Takashi Murakami). This project investigates, among other things, the trade-off between economic development and environmental protection in Sakhalin, bringing together scholars from the humanities as well as natural and social sciences in order to conduct holistic examinations of the topic. The other is the research project "Inter-Regional Flow of Financial Resources in Russia" (Project leader: Shinichiro Tabata) that analyzes regional differences, financial relations between the center and the regions and the growth potential of regions in Russia, using statistical materials and methods.

The combination of these two projects brought about the idea of holding the 1999 symposium on economic growth and environment in Russian regions. We might say that the symposium's interdisciplinary approach was groundbreaking, attracting a great deal of interest, as well as providing a new methodology for area studies. It is our hope that the proceedings will serve to promote future studies using this new approach.

Part one of the proceedings contains papers discussing various aspects of regional economies in Russia. The second part addresses environmental issues mainly concerning the Sakhalin oil and gas development, except for Chapter 9 that deals with environmental problems in Central Asia.

In addition to the funds given to the two projects mentioned above, the grant for international symposium of Ministry of Education's COE Program made it possible for us to invite foreign and domestic participants to Sapporo. Finally, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to Mika Osuga and Hitomi Nakamura for generously assisting us in editing the proceedings and to David Goldberg for correcting the English of papers written by non-native speakers.

Takashi Murakami
Shinichiro Tabata
Sapporo, July 2000