About 75 percent of the Russian Federation’s territory is in Asia. In contrast, about 75 percent of its population lives in the European part. Asian Russia consists of three vast regions: West Siberian, East Siberian, and Far Eastern. The latter is also known as the Russian Far East (RFE). In this chapter, we will focus on the RFE. The region is located in close proximity to the major regional economic powers, has deepening relations with them, and is becoming a noticeable economic player in Asia, especially in northeast Asia.
With its remarkably rich natural resources—oil and natural gas, metallic ores, timber, and marine products—the RFE has the potential to become one of the leading suppliers of fuel and raw materials for Japan and other East Asian countries.
The territory of the RFE is 2.4 million square miles—36.4 percent of the total territory of the Russian Federation (for comparison, it is about 16 times larger than the territory of Japan). However, its population is small—only 6.5 million people as of January 1, 2008 (FSSS 2008). Furthermore, its decline since the early 1990s poses a major problem for economic development.
The RFE, consists of nine major administrative entities—Russia’s equivalents of states or provinces: Amur Oblast, Chukotka Autonomous District, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, Kamchatka Krai (both oblast and krai mean province), Khabarovsk ...