Northwest Federal District: 

Social and Economic Development Strategy for a Period until 2015


Map of Northwest Federal District




Northwest Federal District

General Information


The district was formed by a decree of the Russian Federation President of 13 May 2000

Total area: 1 687 000 square kilometers (9.8% of all Russian territory)

Population:  14.4 million (9.9% of all Russian population)

Central city: St. Petersburg, a Russian Federation entity

The district enjoys a lucrative geopolitical situation: it borders Finland, Norway, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, and has outlets to Baltic, White, Barents, and Kara Seas.     

The district has a rich natural resource potential: 16% and 20% of Russia’s explored oil and gas reserves, respectively; 50% of European Russia forests, and Europe’s largest coal reserves (214 billion ton).


Major Development Challenges

  1. Low development of human resources

  • Demographic implosion (mortality rates exceed birth rates by a factor of 2; the average life interval is 59 years for men and 72 years for women; from 1991, population numbers contracted by 912 000)

  • Low income levels (average monthly wages are equivalent to $135-140; average pensions and subsidies are below the actual minimum living costs)

  • High crime rates

  1. Inefficient structure of economy (a high proportion of raw-material and low-technology industries; low innovation levels)

  2. Significant gaps between regions’ development levels; centralized management of regions’ financial resources by the federal budget

  3. Development challenges in the Russian exclave – Kaliningrad Oblast

  4. Lack of an overall federal development strategy; inconsistent regional policies of the federal government

Northwest’s share in the Russian key product outputs in 2001


Structure of Northwest’s manufacturing output in 2000


Key Long Term Development Targets for Northwest


The key social target is to reach the minimal standards of prosperity, social care, and intellectual development, established in economically developed countries by the XXI century 


This key target will be achieved through reaching the following priority social goals:

  • significantly increasing real family incomes with a simultaneous substantial decrease of the share of residents with below-the-minimum-living-cost incomes.  Incomes should provide for prosperity levels, necessary for reproduction of physically and socially fit human resources.

  • significantly improving the minimal standards of social care, services, and guarantees provided by the state.

  • rolling back and, eventually, reversing the demographic implosion by creating stimuli for population growth.

  • improving the quality of environment.

Main economic target: providing conditions for strong and sustainable economic growth based on innovations

Priority goals:

  • creating a unified Northwest economy based on interaction between the regions, enterprises and the federal center;

  • identifying economic systems and industries that can become the prime force behind economic growth in the regions;

  • providing for fundamental fixed-asset renovation, higher productivity and product quality, as well as lower resource consumption  in manufacturing;

  • renovating the structure of economy by developing high-tech production units with competitive and higher added-value products;

  • providing for an optimal production impact on the environment and rational nature management;

  • improving the business and investment climate in the Northwest;

  • integrating Russian Northwest regions into the world economy by observing an optimal balance between external and internal market ties.


Main Development Bearings for the Russian Northwest


In the social sector


Average annual real disposable income rates: not less than 6–6.5%

Average monthly wage: $500–550

Average per capita income/per capita minimum living cost ratio: 3 

Share of population with incomes below the minimum living cost: not more than 10%

New or renovated housing handed over for occupation: not less than 3 million m2 a year

Crime rate per 100 000 residents: not higher than 1 500 cases

Officially registered unemployment: not more than 1.5–2% of economically active population

Average life interval: not less than 70 years

Birth rates: not less than 2 children per family

Termination of demographic implosion and provision for population growth


In the economic sector


Average annual GRP growth: 5–6%

Average annual output rates in manufacturing: not less than 5–5.5%, in agriculture: 3.5–4%

Average annual rates of investment in fixed assets: 9–10%.

Capital investments per capita of the population: R18 000 – 18 500 (based on the purchasing power in 2000 prices)

Average annual foreign investment rates: $3.5–4 billion, including at least 50% of direct investments

Annual foreign investment per capita of the population: $135–155

Share of science intensive high-tech production of the shipbuilding, machine-tool building, power engineering, electronic and electric engineering sectors in the total manufacturing output: not less than 20–25%.