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On April 20 V.Putin awarded an Order of Merit before Motherland of IV degree to the leader of LDPR, V.Zhirinovsky, and a few days later the birthday of this politician was sounded by the state channels as national event. It should be noted that its long enough that V.Zhirinovsky plays the role of one of ideologists of the ruling party. It is worth remembering that even in the 1990s he consistently advocated the appointment of governors, dictatorship and reprisals against the opposition organizations, to which were reckoned (according to the situation) at times communists and at other times democrats.

Sergey Zhavoronkov Budgetary and Tax Policy In March of 2006, basing on the preliminary data on the execution of the federal budget, the revenues of the RF federal budget made 26.56 per cent of GDP, while the level of expenditures of the federal budget was registered at 15.71 per cent of GDP, and the budget surplus made 10.85 per cent of GDP. In January and February of 2006, the revenues of the RF consolidated budget made 34.4 per cent of GDP, while the expenditures of the RF consolidated budget were registered at 21.0 per cent of GDP, and the budget surplus made 13.4 per cent of GDP. According to the data as on April 1, 2006, the amount of financial reserves accumulated in the RF Stabilization Fund was registered at Rub.

1677.4 billion as compared with Rub. 1562.7 billion registered as on March 1 of this year. Therefore, in March of this year the amount of the RF Stabilization Fund increased by Rub. 114.7 billion.

The State of the Federal Budget According to the preliminary estimates presented by the RF Finance Ministry, in January through March of 2006 the revenues of the federal budget made Rub. 1 396.04 billion in terms of the execution of the budget on the cash basis (or 26.56 per cent of GDP), whereas the expenditures of the federal budget were registered at Rub. 825.59 billion (or 15.71 per cent of GDP). The surplus of the federal budget made Rub. 570.44 billion (or 10.85 per cent of GDP). It should be noted that in January through March of 2006 the amount of revenues of the federal budget in absolute terms turned out to be somewhat above the value of this indicator registered in the respective period of the preceding year, which at that time made Rub. 1 196.36 billion; however in relation to GDP it demonstrated a significant decline (28.02 per cent of GDP in 2005). On the contrary, in January through March of 2006, in nominal terms the expenditures borne by the RF federal budget increased in comparison with the figures registered in the respective period of 2005 (Rub. 671.1 billion); however, they practically did not change in relative terms (15.72 per cent of GDP in 2005). As concerns the surplus of the federal budget registered in January through March of this year, in absolute terms it somewhat exceeded the values of this indicator observed in 2005 (Rub. 525.26 billion), whereas in relation to GDP it decreased (12.3 per cent of GDP in 2005).

In February and March of 2006, the amounts of the revenues of the RF federal budget made Rub.

426.48 billion and Rub. 520.21 billion respectively, or were at 24.48 per cent and 27.18 per cent of the monthly GDP amount. The expenditures borne by the RF federal budget in February and March of 2006 made respectively Rub. 257.3 billion (or 14.77 per cent of GDP) and Rub. 340.61 billion (or 17.per cent of GDP), while the surplus of the RF federal budget was registered at the level of Rub. 169.billion and Rub. 179.6 billion, what respectively made 9.71 per cent and 9.38 per cent in terms of the shares in GDP. Therefore, basing on these data it should be noted that there was registered an increase in the revenues of the federal budget and in the expenditures borne by the federal budget both in absolute terms and in relation to the monthly amount of GDP registered in the preceding month of this year. At the same time, in spite of the nominal growth in the surplus of the federal budget, in relation to GDP in March there was observed a certain decline in the budget surplus as compared with the respective figures registered in February of 2006.

For the structure of revenues over the period under observation, see Table 1.

Table 1.

Amounts of revenues of the RF federal budget (in per cent of GDP, in terms of cash basis execution) Cash basis execution March 2005 Feb. 2006 March Taxes and other payments administered 13.53% 12.18% 13.34% by the Federal Tax Service Taxes and other payments administered 9.01% 11.52% 12.15% by the Federal Customs Service Receipts administered by the Federal Agency for Management of Federal 0.20% 0.15% 0.16% Property Revenues of the federal budget adminis5.92% 0.65% 1.52% tered by other federal structures Total revenues 28.65% 24.48% 27.18% As it is demonstrated by Table 1, in March of 2006 the structure of tax revenues as broken by individual agencies remained practically the same in comparison with the data collected this February and in March of the last year. Thus, the bulk of the tax revenues was as before associated with the taxes and other payments administered by the RF Federal Tax Service, their share in GDP made 13.34 per cent as compared with 13.53 per cent of GDP registered in March of 2005. The revenues generated by taxes and other payments administrated by the RF Federal Customs Service turned out to be above the respective indicators observed in March of the preceding year (9.01 per cent of GDP) and February of this year (11.52 per cent of GDP). In March of 2006, the amount of tax generated revenues falling within the receipts administered by the Federal Agency for Management of Federal Property remained on the whole at the level registered last month (0.15 per cent of GDP); nevertheless, it was significantly below the respective indicator observed last year (0.2 per cent of GDP). As concerns the rest of the revenues of the RF federal budget administered by other federal structures, it should be noted that in March this amount of revenues significantly increased in the terms of their share in GDP and made 1.52 per cent of GDP as compared with 0.65 per cent of GDP registered in February; however, these revenues significantly declined in comparison with the respective figures registered in 2005 (5.92 per cent of GDP). Therefore, the data presented above permit to draw a conclusion on a significant change in the structure of the tax generated revenues of the RF federal budget occurring in February of in comparison with the figures registered in the respective period of 2005 and the preceding month of 2006.

For the preliminary data on the financing of the expenditures borne by the RF federal budget in January through March of 2005 and 2006 presented by the RF Finance Ministry, see Table 2.

Table 2.

Amounts of financing of the expenditures borne by the RF federal budget (in per cent of GDP) Financing of expenditures January March January Feb- January March of 2005 ruary of 2006 of Federal issues 3.53% 4.32% 2.96% Including expenditures associated with the servicing of the public and municipal debt 1.98% 2.02% 1.28% National defense 3.57% 4.96% 3.52% National security and law enforcement 2.59% 3.59% 2.64% National economy 1.21% 0.94% 1.05% Housing and public utilities 0.04% 0.01% 0.12% Environmental protection 0.03% 0.04% 0.03% Education 0.93% 1.00% 0.82% Culture, cinematography, and mass media 0.23% 0.22% 0.22% Health care and sports 0.53% 0.69% 0.58% Social policy 1.00% 1.50% 1.17% Interbudgetary transfers 6.25% 9.98% 6.58% Total expenditures 19.91% 27.25% 19.70% Table 3.

Execution of the RF consolidated budget in January and February of 2006 (in % of GDP) I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII Taxes* 25,6% 24,4% 25,6% 27,4% 27,1% 26,0% 26,1% 25,7% 5,0% 5,0% 5,1% 25,2% Revenues 32,0% 30,3% 31,5% 33,4% 33,6% 32,2% 32,2% 31,6% 0,9% 0,8% 0,7% 31,1% Expenditures 20,7% 25,3% 27,7% 28,8% 28,8% 28,6% 28,7% 28,5% 8,2% 7,8% 7,9% 29,7% Deficit/ 11,3% 5,0% 3,8% 4,5% 4,7% 3,5% 3,6% 3,1%,7% 3,0% 2,8% 1,4% surplus I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII Taxes* 6,1% 21,8% 27,4% 27,4% 26,6% 27,2% 27,1% 26,4% 26.5% 26.9% 26,8% Revenues 30,6% 28,2% 29,8% 32,9% 32,9% 32,5% 33,1% 32,9% 31,9% 32.0% 32.3% 32,3% Expenditures 18,5% 22,8% 25,4% 27,3% 26,9% 27,0% 27,0% 26,9% 26,0% 25.9% 26.1% 27,8% Deficit/ 12,1% 5,4% 4,4% 5,6% 6,0% 5,5% 6,1% 6,0% 5,9% 6.1% 6.2% 4,5% surplus I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII Revenues 48,8% 40,3% 40,3% 40,8% 38,8% 38,2% 37,6% 37,0% 36,0% 35,9% 35,8% 36,1% Expenditures 22,2% 23,3% 24,9% 27,1% 26,5% 26,6% 26,7% 26,6% 27,2% 26,1% 25,9% 28,1% Deficit/ 10,0% 26,5% 17,0% 15,4% 13,7% 12,3% 11,6% 11,0% 10,5% 8,8% 9,8% 7,9% surplus I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII Revenues 36,2% 34,4% Expenditures 17,6% 21,0% Deficit/ 18,7% 13,4% surplus It should be noted that in January through March of this year the share of financed expenditures of the federal budget in GDP made 19.7 per cent, what was significantly below the respective indicator registered in January and February of 2006 (27.25 per cent) and slightly below the indicator registered in the respective period of the last year (19.91 per cent). In the course of comparison of the structure of expenditures it should be noted that in 2006, similarly to the figures registered a year ago, the largest amounts of financing were registered in the sphere of interbudgetary transfers (6.58 per cent of GDP as compared with 6.25 per cent of GDP in 2005). As concerns other most significant items of expendi tures the respective differences also varied not significantly. Thus, in January through March of the expenditures for federal issues made 2.96 per cent of GDP (3.53 per cent of GDP in 2005), including the servicing of the public and municipal debt (1.28 per cent of GDP as compared with 1.98 per cent of GDP observed in 2005), national defense (3.52 per cent of GDP as compared with 3.57 per cent of GDP registered a year ago), and national security and law enforcement (2.64 per cent of GDP as compared with 2.59 per cent of GDP observed in 2005). Therefore, across a number of the expenditure items listed above there was observed a growth in their shares in GDP in 2006, whereas some other expenditure items listed above demonstrated a decline as concerned this indicator. Other expenditure items totaled to about 4.0 per cent of GDP as compared with 3.97 per cent of GDP registered in January through March of 2005. As concerns the comparison between the amounts of expenditures in January and February of 2006 and in January through March of 2006, the Table demonstrates that in March the data pertaining to the majority of expenditure items demonstrated a decline.

At the end of the first two months of 2006, the revenues of the RF consolidated budget made 34.per cent of GDP as compared with 40.3 per cent of GDP registered in January and February of 2005.

The expenditures of the RF consolidated budget also significantly decreased in comparison with the respective indicator observed in 2005 (23.3 per cent) and made 21.0 per cent of GDP. In January and February of 2006, the surplus of the RF consolidated budget made 13.4 per cent of GDP, what was significantly below the indicator registered in 2005 (17.0 per cent). Therefore, in the first two months of 2006 there was observed a significant decrease in the revenues, expenditures, and the surplus of the RF consolidated budget in terms of their shares in GDP as compared with the respective figures registered in 2005.

According to the data as on April 1, 2006, the amount of financial reserves accumulated in the RF Stabilization Fund was registered at Rub. 1677.4 billion as compared with Rub. 1562.7 billion registered as on March 1 of this year. Therefore, in March of this year the amount of the RF Stabilization Fund increased by Rub. 114.7 billion.

Major developments in the budgetary sphere In the beginning of April, there was published information that the RF Government was considering the issue of an early repayment of a part of the RF debt to the Paris Club. Thus, the proposal to repay the debt of the former USSR to the Paris Club amounting to US $ 12 billion advanced by the RF Finance Ministry was signed by the RF Prime Minister on April 1, what makes probable the initiation of negotiations concerning this issue. It should be noted that in 2005 Russia early repaid the debt of the former USSR to the Paris Club member countries amounting to US $ 15 billion and expects to early pay additional US $ 12 billion in 2006. It is reported that the amount planned for repayment makes in fact the total rest of the former USSR to the Paris Club with the exception of Germany, which issued bonds maturing in 3, 5, and 10 years amounting to US $ 6 billion basing on its share of the debt in the Club framework in 2004. These bonds can not be redeemed until the date of maturity. According to the data presented by the RF Finance Ministry, as on October 1, 2005, the RF debt to the Paris Club, including the liabilities of the former USSR, amounted to US $ 29.8 billion.

The RF Finance Ministry made certain comments on the parameters of the RF budgetary system.

Thus, A. Kudrin, the head of the RF Finance Ministry, stated in April that the government should determine the deficit of the non-oil budget (the budget not taking into account the revenues generated by high oil prices) and put a cap on this indicator. According to the data published by the RF Finance Ministry, in 2004 the deficit of the non-oil budget made 2.8 per cent of GDP, whereas in the first six months of 2006 it increased and was registered at 4.7 per cent of GDP. The Minister reminded that today not all revenues generated by high oil prices are absorbed by the RF Stabilization Fund and some part of these revenues is entered in the budget. Thus, at the oil prices of US $ 40 per barrel the budget receives additional Rub. 214 billion, whereas at the oil prices at US $ 51 per barrel this indicator makes Rub. 326 billion. The Government expends these financial resources, what in fact results in a growth in the cut off prices of oil as concerns the formation of the RF Stabilization Fund. Earlier, Mikhail Fradkov, the Prime Minister of the RF informed that the RF Government Commission on Budgetary Estimates had supported the idea to form the federal budget without taking into account the revenues generated by high oil prices, what, according to the Prime Minister, could help to reveal additional resources of the RF economy.

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