Designated Foothold Settlements to Receive Governmental Support Packages

Designated Foothold Settlements to Receive Governmental Support Packages

More than 130 cities and villages in the Russian Arctic were listed as so-called foothold settlements following the findings of a study jointly conducted by the Center for Information and Analysis (a subsidiary of the State Commission for the Development in the Arctic) and the Regional Consultancy Institute. In terms of territorial planning in the Russian Arctic, foothold settlements are those that, due to certain advantages (i.e. geographical, logistical, infrastructural etc.) they possess, have the potential to serve as hubs for further expansion and development in the region. Such settlements will be eligible for targeted governmental funding aimed at supporting their foothold role.

Under the mentioned study, researchers analyzed whether and how 256 Arctic cities and villages conformed to the set of 57 criteria such as availability of healthcare and education facilities, logistics and infrastructure, proximity to mineral deposits etc. Within this group, 131 ones were selected as foothold settlements and classed in accordance with functional roles they play in their respective territories. To boost these roles, the federal government intends to give fine-tuned support packages to each of such settlements.

For instance, a support package for settlements classed as logistic hubs may include such measures as ensuring their safe, affordable and steady access to telecommunication services, deploying multimodal freight systems, funding the construction and/or modernization of roads etc. In turn, so-called mineral extraction centers may become home to new public-funded professional schools and/or colleges, research and test labs, data centers etc.

A city or a village may combine various functions, which makes it eligible for several different support packages.

A new approach to territorial development in the Russian Arctic is expected to yield good results. Concentration of resources, targeted funding and tailored support will both safeguard against the waste of funds and time and ensure maximum return on public investments in terms of comprehensive development of Russia’s Arctic territories. Being channeled through the newly designated foothold settlements, the state funding will help revitalize not only their respective economies but also those of adjacent areas thus driving grassroots economic growth in the Russian High North.

Arctic Today is a column by PORA CEO Alexander Stotskiy analyzing major international, national and regional events and trends in the Arctic.
Alexander Stotskiy
13 October 2021
Arctic Today