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Government Finalizing List of Far East Development Proposals

The Far East Development Ministry on Tuesday sent a list of more than 90 priority projects for the region to be reviewed by Vneshekonombank.

Many of the proposals focus on the development of transportation infrastructure, said a statement on the Baikal regional government's website. Moreover, five of them will be interregional, including the modernization and reconstruction of the Baikal-Amurskaya road and the Trans-Siberian Railway, the construction of a bridge linking Sakhalin Island with the mainland, and further development of airports in the region.

Victor Ishaev, the president's representative in the region, said linking Sakhalin to the mainland will improve Russia's geopolitical standing in the region while developing the railways will increase the transit potential and create the shortest transit corridor between Europe and Asia.

If approved, the projects would be financed by the Far East and Baikal Regional Development Fund, created in 2011 by Vneshekonombank to facilitate investment projects in those regions.

However, RIA-Novosti reported that at a meeting at the end of October to discuss a 15 billion ruble ($470 million) increase in the fund's budget, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev noted that the decision to support the fund was far from unanimous, as current funding in the region already exceeds 100 billion rubles.

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