The cluster as an economic phenomenon has been attracting the attention of researchers for the past twenty years; however, the principle of obtaining a synergetic effect through concentrating enterprises within a geographically isolated territory is not new. Сomparing the works of economists of the Soviet regionalization school and the definitions of the «cluster» category in the Western literature, we proved that the concepts of the economic region, the industrial complex and the cluster are synonymous. Within the framework of the planned socialist economy with the economic security priority, the competition was excluded from the subject of the study as this gap persists in the works of modern Russian researchers. Economic regions require an individual approach to each region, taking into account its unique features, strengths and weaknesses; in this regard, the authors examined the features of the Far Eastern Federal District and its specific place in the Russian economy, which is connected with the geographical location and with an extremely low population density. The authors assessed the socio-economic characteristics of the Far Eastern Federal District for the 1995–2014 period, assessed the investment climate and the potential of the region. We have shown the priority of the cluster-based approach in formulating and implementing the development of the Khabarovsk Territory, discussed new forms of spatial organization of the productive forces in a dedicated area with special economic regimes. A comparative description of the innovation cluster area and the territory of priority development of the Khabarovsk Territory made it possible to conclude that both forms have the cluster principle of organization, and the cluster approach should be regarded as the best way to organize regional space from the perspective of the strategy of sustainable innovation development.