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INSTITUTE FOR THE ECONOMY IN TRANSITION RUSSIAN ECONOMY: TRENDS AND PERSPECTIVES MAY 2008 MONTHLY BULLETIN Moscow 2008 Institute for the Economy in Transition, 1996.

5 Gazetny pereulok, Moscow 103918, Russian Federation Phone: (495) 203-88-16 Fax: (495) 202-42-24 E- Mail: todorov@iet.ru Major Developments and Trends........................................................................................................ 3 The political and economic situation in May 2008 (S. Zhavoronkov).................................................. 4 Real Sector: Trends and Factors (O. Izradnova)................................................................................. 7 Business Survey in May 2008 (S. Tsukhlo)...................................................................................... 10 Foreign Trade (N. Volovik)............................................................................................................... 12 Budgetary and Tax Policy (. Kirillov)........................................................................................... 15 Monetary and Credit Policy (P. Trunin)........................................................................................... 19 Financial Markets (N. Burkova)....................................................................................................... 23 Profitability in the banking sector in 2007 (Mikhailov L. V., Sycheva L. I.)....................................... 31 Meetings of the Government of the Russian Federation (M. Goldin)................................................ 34 Review of Economic Legislation over May 2008 (I. Tolmacheva)................................................... 36 Review of Budgetary Legislation (M. Goldin)................................................................................. 38 Review of Regulatory Documents Concerning Taxation over April-May (L. Anisimova)................. 39 Taxation of Oil Industry UK experience (N. Kornienko)............................................................... Tax information exchange in foreign trade regulation: international experience (A. Levashenko)...... An analysis of the standpoint of the RF Supreme Arbitration Court (RF SAC) with regard to the issue of recognizing as void the transactions concluded by a taxpayer (A. Kireeva)..................................................................... Municipal reform: the typical trends (I. Starodubrovskaya, N. Mironova)........................................ Health Care: Fulfillment of Pilot Project on Regions (S. Shishkin)................................................... Preliminary results of implementing the National project Development of the agrifood sector (R.Yanbykh, G.Rodionova).................................................... The necessity of improving the concepts and the systems of management of Russias military security (V. Tsymbal)............................................................... New Governments Concept and Practical Steps to Form Innovation System (I. Dezhina).............. Major Developments and Trends Economic growth of early 2008 is characterized by the sustained high rates of investment and consumer demand. Within January - April the growth of investment in fixed assets amounted to 20.3 per cent, and retail trade turnover made 15.6 per cent. Herewith, the is a gap between growth rates of real wages and labor efficiency.

Surveys of industrial enterprises also showed that the increased growth rate in the demand in May has enabled Russian industry to raise production rates. Further growth in demand can aggravate the situation with the equipment and personnel shortage, which was stabilized in early 2008 in the background of relatively low rates of sales growth. Only 52 per cent of enterprises had sufficient investments to meet their growing demand in 2007.

The current economic situation is distinguished by the high inflationary background. The consumer price index has grown by 6.3 per cent since the beginning of the year and the producer prices of industrial products are increased by 7.7 per cent. Therefore, the consumer prices growth within January - April reached 6.2 per cent, making it impossible to reach the benchmark for annual inflation rate of 10.5 per cent, estimated by the Government.

In April the inflow of private capital to Russia was renewed. To reduce the growth rate of monetary supply and to curb inflation, the Bank of Russia increased the mandatory reserve threshold requirements for the obligations of commercial banks, as well as raised by 0.25 percentage points the interest rate on loans and deposits of the RF Central Bank. The real effective ruble exchange rate has grown by 0.3 per cent. Since May 14, the Bank of Russia has changed the procedure of foreign currency interventions.

In May the situation in the Russian financial markets has been in general improved due to the favorable situation in the global commodity markets as a result of a sharp upsurge in oil price within the month. During the month the major Russian stock indices have grown by 11-12 per cent. The activity of investors at the Russian stock market has increased nearly by 30 per cent.

In April, federal budget revenues in terms of GDP share have expressly exceeded the earlier idicators and reached 33.7 per cent of GDP. With regard to the expenditure part of the budget, there is a trend towards more reasonable fiscal policy. Throughout 2008, the volume of Stabilization Fund is declining in terms of GDP share.

In March,the Russian foreign trade was developing in rather favorable external economic environment, ruble strengthning and increasing solvency in domestic market demand, which inspired high growth of export and import volumes.

Representatives of Ukraine have submitted an application to WTO for the purpose to conduct bilateral negotiations with Russia in view of our accession to WTO.

Among the most important issues, discussed at the Government meetings were the scenarios and basic indicators of the RF socio-economic development in 2009 and estimates for the period of 20102011, as well as the dynamics in the services costs of natural monopolies up to 2011.

An analysis of the banking sector cost efficiency was made in the survey, based on performance data of 971 Russian banks, including all the largest ones. The ratio of profit versus assets in the banking sector in 2007 amounted to 3 per cent, which brings it close to the level of 2004-2006. The amount of the banks own funds in the banking sector has grown nearly by 58 per cent.

The survey framework also covered:

- preliminary results of implementing the national project "Development of Agroindustrial Complex" and implementation of the National Agriculture Development Program;

- implementation of pilot project, aimed at improving the quality of health services in 19 Subjects of the Russian Federation;

- contents of the proposal for discussion in the State Duma the federal law draft "On Technologies Transfer";

- position of the RF Supreme Arbitration Court on the issue of recognition as null and void the transactions, made by an incomplient taxpayer.

The political and economic situation in May S. Zhavoronkov The main developments in May 2008 were the formation of the new RF government and that of the new RF Presidential Administration. The expected phenomenon was the preservation of a strong influence of V. Putin on this process, the unexpected one the negligible influence of D. Medvedev. In fact, D. Medvedev was unable to appoint his trusted supporters to any of the key posts moreover, some of his tactical allies, in particular L. Reiman and V. Cherkesov, were dismissed from their posts.

A key role in the government was assigned to Vice Prime Minister I. Sechin, who broadened the scope of his influence over the FSB. The situation within the currently existing Presidential Administration is also unfavorable for Medvedev, whereas in a different setting this body could have become a generator of new ideas and new personalities. In May D. Medvedev voiced one important reformist idea that of reform of the judicial system in order to reduce corruption and the dependence of judges on executive authority.

The main event in May 2008 was the formation of a new RF government and a new Presidential Administration. These two undertakings, originating from the provisions of the RF Constitution, had given rise to expectations of their providing the foundation for a variety of considerations and estimations. Firstly, it was important to understand the degree of freedom to appoint new cadres granted to the new RF President. Secondly, it was vital to know which team will be placed in the government by the former President, who was to become, as he himself had confirmed earlier, the Prime Minister. And thirdly and finally, in what way the positions of the biggest bureaucratic clans and commercial lobbying groups will be changed in response to the formalization of powers transition.

Thus, two First Vice Prime Ministers remained in the Government. One of them was the former Prime Minister V. Zubkov, although his sphere of authority agriculture, fishery and forestry rather gives one an idea of honorable retirement. The other First Vice Prime Minister became I. Shuvalov, who in the early 2000s had been head of the Governments apparatus, and until recently - the Presidents special representative in G8. His sphere of responsibilities is much broader, encompassing almost entire foreign economic activity, regional development, antimonopoly and tariff-establishing activity, the investment fund, federal property management, etc. One can hardly doubt that I. Shuvalov will attempt to attribute to his post as many as possible functions coordinating at least, if not executive. Some analysts had been viewing I. Shuvalov as D. Medvedevs protg; we do not see any such signs on the contrary, last year I. Shuvalov was publicly expressing doubts as to his successorship.

More probably, he is Putins man having gained, during his recent years in the shadow, numerous connections and participating in few conflicts, he will do his best to maximize both his own influence and that of the government.

Most of D. Medvedevs formal powers (including national projects) were assigned to Vice Prime Minister A. Zhukov. At the same time, the experience of a rather lukewarm activity displayed by A.

Zhukov within the government during the past four years has given rise to assumptions that he will be unable to seriously elevate his own status and to establish his role in the eyes of the ministries as an efficient boss or intermediary. We believe that the status of the unsuccessful successor S. Ivanov, who was demoted from his former post of First Vice Prime Minister to that of an ordinary Vice Prime Minister, will not be improved in any serious way, either. At the same time, the post of Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance was retained by A. Kudrin, despite his active direct and indirect campaigning in favor of pursuing an unchanged budgeting and tax policy, which in the last few months has been verging on a confrontation with the countrys leadership. Probably, so far he has failed to convince Medvedev and Putin in the correctness of his standpoint, given, moreover, that his opponents lack the privilege of such a lengthy and intimate acquaintance with them.

An unexpected castling maneuver occurred between the former Vice Prime Minister and head of the governments apparatus S. Naryshkin, and the former head of the Presidential Administration S.

Sobianin they swapped their positions. Having been appointed in 2004 one of the deputy heads of the governments apparatus, S. Naryshkin in that same year not only replaced his boss, but later also became one of the most powerful official figures in the government by giving his support, in turn, to different groups of interests, while simultaneously acquiring profound understanding of nearly every issue requiring coordination1. Coupled with good acumen, Naryshkins newly gained authority became so strong that he was placed on the short list of the Presidents successors. Far less illustrious has been the career of the former Governor of Tiumen, S. Sobianin, who was in late 2005 appointed head of the RF Presidential Administration. In effect, he ultimately failed to create his own team and gain ready access to key political decision-making. However, he played an important role of a counterbalance in a situation when many in the Presidential Administration, led by V. Surkov, got carried away by their own playing up to one of the nominated successors, S. Ivanov, before V. Putins final standpoint became known. By demonstratively detaching himself from this sort of activism S. Sobianin did much to disrupt the logic of self-realizing forecast which was being imposed onto the elite.

Naryshkins position in his former office became much stronger perhaps, even, too strong for the liking of the new Prime Minister, while S. Sobianin remained neutral - perhaps also too neutral. But now D. Medvedev has received as head of his own Administration a person who is definitely not Medvedevs protg, whatever his other qualities may be), and who, besides, is proactive and capable of building up communications around him. Presently, however, he will have to accomplish this in a setting rather remote from his habitual business community. As for V. Putin, he has acquired a head of the governments apparatus whose weight and resourcefulness are sufficient just for diligently obeying instructions from above, and not for forming his own political priorities. However, it is true that certain posts are endowed with their own hidden energy: thus, it will be difficult, after the experience of the last eight years, to deprive the post of head of the governments apparatus of its acquired importance and subordinate the post of head of the Presidential Administration to the Prime Minister.

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