Subject The article discusses the creation and operation of regional innovation clusters in the Russian economy, primarily, in terms of their life cycles. Objectives Analyzing views of other scholars, I propose an original approach to development phases of regional innovation clusters and determine possible ways for the region and regional innovation cluster to integrate throughout phases. Methods The research uses the abstraction and logic method. Results I suggest complementing the traditional linear sequence of life cycle phases with alternative scenarios. The traditional list of the phases, which most scholars point out, is supplemented and described in more details, inter alia, by highlighting interim phases and giving account of key actions performed within the analyzable process. I discovered new phases of regional innovation clusters' life cycle, such as the preliminary preparation in pursuit of synergy, adaptation, reassumed development. New interim phases include the pre-synergistic growth, synergistic growth, storming, decay, mutation. I also examine the integration of the region and regional innovation cluster at each interim phase. Conclusions and Relevance All alternative development scenarios spring from points at which the evolution of regional innovation clusters may vary. Strategic decisions or crucial solutions made at such points contribute to further growth (or decline) in the cluster. The preliminary preparation, creation, adaptation, development are the most important phases when the region has to be as much involved as possible at the variability points of its evolution. The cluster demonstrates the highest productivity when it reaches the maturity phase during storming or after it reassumes the development, being mature.
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