Subsidies to the budgets of Federation’s constituent members meant for providing young specialists with dwellings are the only measure of the National project directly targeted at the improvement of living standards in countryside. The amount to funds allocated to it is below the one for modernizing stalls in livestock premises. Taking into account Russian scales – over 38 million rural residents living in 140 thousand settlements – it’s too optimistic to think that the improvement of housing conditions for 32 thousand persons created “conditions for forming efficient labour potential in the agrifood sector, development of labour market and elevation of rural residents’ living standards” as it was stated by the project’s authors.
Most support measures initiated in the National project were further developed in the State program of agricultural development and regulation of agricultural and food markets of Federation’s constituent members in 2008-2012 (State program), enacted by the RF Government Resolution No. 446 of July 14, 2007 and regulating the country’s agricultural sector from the beginning of 2008.
Attaining of financial stability 1% Sustainable rural development 13% 12% Creation of general conditions for operation 54% 20% Development of priority subsectors Market regulation Picture 3. Structure of expenditures under State Program, 2008-However, implementation of the Program encounters some problems. To carry out its basic provisions, regional and local budgets should find funds for meeting the rigid co-financing requirements, to fix their amounts in regional programs for 2008-2012 and to coordinate them with the federal Ministry of Agriculture.
Up to now such coordination was complicated or impossible due to some reasons.
First, regions have not got preliminary limits of financing from the federal budget for all the 5 years. The federal State program contains the total limit and limits by measures for each year. But these limits were not distributed between the RF constituent members. Therefore they cannot compute the amounts of cofinancing from their budgets and determine target indicators in the regional programs. They have to set target indicators for 5 years without any financial substantiation.
Second, it’s clear that appropriations from regional budgets are not sufficient for carrying out the State program. For instance, Rostov oblast plans to allocate 160 million rubles from its budget to the improvement of rural residents’ housing conditions. The same measure in the framework of the State program requires million rubles for co-financing (the limit from the federal budget being 287 million rubles). Beginning from 2010 the federal budget is ready to allocate 414 million rubles annually to the technical and technological modernization of agriculture but the oblast budget does not envisage 207 million rubles needed for cofinancing.
And finally, the State program is worked out for the country in general and does not take into account specific conditions and actual requirements of each region in particular. For instance, given all the envisaged subsidies the amount of subsidized investment credits for corporate and individual private farms in Rostov oblast is to grow up to 28 billion rubles by 2012. Will these entities be able to “digest” such an amount that is above their annual commercial output From our point of view, the working out of regional State programs and their coordination with the federal State program should be synchronized with the specifying of regional budgets. Besides, agricultural regions usually have deficit budgets. The rigid co-financing requirements (especially beginning from 2010) will deprive commodity farm producers of these regions of federal support. To prevent this, one should examine in detail the consequences of rigid co-financing terms and probably soften some of them. In addition to that regions should estimate the actual need for funds and plan allocations basing not only on possible limits of federal financing but also on these estimates.
One more urgent problem that is no less important is the non-differentiated approach to stimulating agrifood sub-sectors. The State program envisages a new direction of support – the subsidizing of interest rate on investment credits for technical and technological modernization of agriculture for a period of 10 years.
From the expert point of view, this term is not always justified since many types of farm machinery depreciate and pay back much earlier as compared with construction and reconstruction of livestock facilities. On the other hand, development of milk and especially meat cattle production requires credits for periods longer than 8 years. Taking into account the current market situation, one should define meat and milk cattle production as the highest priority sub-sector and envisage for it softer terms (as compared with the ones for other sub-sectors). For this purpose the term of subsidized credits granted to meat and milk cattle producers should be extended to 10-12 years and the scale of interest rate reimbursement for them should be raised up to 80% of the discount rate. One should also encourage the system of pasture cattle breeding (the system “cow-calf”) on the vast unused territories of natural forage lands.
The point that is absolutely missing in the State program is the stimulation of consumer demand. Despite heated discussions at the early stages of the program’s preparation, its final version does not contain neither programs of school lunches, nor food coupons for the poor, nor encouragement for producers enlarging areas under crops for biofuel, and even nor support for agricultural export. On the contrary, the State program focuses exclusively on the increasing production of agricultural and food products and their sale on the domestic market (it’s presumed that demand exists as it is). Meanwhile additional measures such as for instance preservation of meat quotas and stiffening of sanitary norms for imported meat should help domestic products to capture a larger share on the home market.
The necessity of improving the concepts and the systems of management of Russia’s military security V. Tsymbal By the time of the new RF military – political leadership’s coming to the helm on 7 May 2008 both the country and its military organization had undergone changes that were not universally positive. The past years have also resulted in the accumulation of a large number of unsolved problems, conceptual from the military – economic point of view. Unless the said issues are resolved, it will be impossible to consolidate and further expand the successes achieved in bolstering the country’s military security, especially in the North Caucasus, and to completely eradicate the serious bottlenecks existing with regard to modernization of the armed forces.
The formal procedure of transfer of power in the RF has indeed taken place. Now all the Russians have a new President, while the servicemen, in addition to this, have a new Supreme Commander in Chief. And however true the affirmations that, in general, we should expect a continuation of the former policy, especially in the military sphere, D. Medvedev, who has never been considered to be a specialist in this sphere, will have to personally get acquainted with the whole array of military – economic problems, the resolution of which can no longer be put off. And their resolution will become possible only if the entire concept of the armed forces’ development is changed, because it is this concept that has given rise to the existing problems in the first place. Moreover, the methods for implementing the plans and programs of reform also have turned out to be inefficient.
The fact that the main conceptual documents signed by V. Putin at the very beginning of his Presidency have long become outdated is clear to most specialists, with the possible exception of the former Minister of Defense S. Ivanov, who affirmed in the State Duma, a year ago, that these documents, developed under his guidance, did not need any updating. Evidence to the contrary was repeatedly presented by the RF Security Council, the General Staff and the RF Academy of Military Sciences, as well as by many non-governmental associations of specialists who also put forth initiatives for innovation.
An attempt to make do with the set of isolated program documents recently developed by the RF Ministry of Defense for the period until the year 2020 and beyond, in particular’ “the strategy for social development”47, cannot be regarded as promising. The principles for managing the military – economic and military – social spheres in the RF, such as the systemic approach, concreteness and transparency 48, stated by the present Minister of Defense A. Serdiukov, are indisputable in their value. However, they can be materialized only on condition that the general conceptual principles and the RF legislative base are made more precise, the system of project management is changed, and a stricter personal responsibility for failures in project implementation is introduced.
The country will have to begin with a revision of the mission of the whole RF military organization and its components, and with revising the legislative concept of “defense”. It should be reminded that during the brief history of modern Russia the legal content of this concept was gradually changed, unfortunately becoming more and more remote from both its essence (see the upper lines of Table 1) and the interpretations adopted in the states with mature democratic traditions, as demonstrated in the lower lines of the Table.
Table The legislative definition of the concept of “defense” The former RF Law (now without force) # 3531 – 1 The existing Law # 61 – FZ of 31.05.1996 as of 21. 09. 1992 (as amended by the RF President’s amended 13 times; with 26.06.2007 being the date Edict # 2288 of 24.12.1993) of the final amendment In this law, defense is understood as a system of political, economic, military, social, legal and other measures designed to ensure the readiness of the State to defend aimed at preparing for armed defense of the Russian itself from armed assault, and, more specifically, to Federation and of the intactness and inviolability of its protect the population, the territory, and the sover- territory eignty of the Russian Federation.
Cf. the definition from a Russian dictionary of political terms 49: «Defense (as a function of the State) – a system of political, military, social, legal and other measures taken by the State in order to prevent an unpunished attack on it on the part of any aggressor, to ensure the readiness of the State to defend itself from armed assault, and also to repulse aggression, to wage war, and to protect its population and territory”.
Cf. international practice.
The major aim of the Ministry of Defense’s activity as perceived in the UK: “To deliver security for people of the United Kingdom and the Overseas Territories by defending them, including against terrorism, and to act as a force for good by strengthening international peace and security 50.
Similarly, e.g. in Finland: “total defense means securing the country’s independence and territorial integrity as well as livelihood of the population with military and civilian means”51.
Strategiia sotsial’nogo razvitiia Vooruzhennykh Sil Rossiiskoi Federatsii na period do 2020 goda (The Strategy for the Social Development of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation for the Period Until the Year 2020) // “Krasnaia Zvezda”, 18 April 2008.
V tsentre vnimaniia – sotsial’nye voprosy (Social Issues are in the Focus of Attention) // “Krasnaia Zvezda”, March 2008.
Mezhdunarodnaia bezopasnost’ i oboronosposobnost’ gosudarstv. (Poniatia, opredelenia, terminy): Uchebno - spravochnoe posobie. [International Security and the Defense Capacity of the States (Cponcepts, Definitions, Terminology): A Reference Manual] / O. K. Rogozin, Ed. Moscow: TOO “Interstamo”, 1998. P. 487.
Delivering Security in a Changing World. Supporting Essays: Cm 6041-II. – December 2003. – P.4.
As is seen from the comparison of these wordings, of principal importance is the fact that in 1996, the reference to the population being the main object of the defense carried out by the RF Armed Forces was excluded from our Law “On Defense”.
Any excuses, such as that when speaking of the Russian Federation we “automatically” imply its people as well, make no sense from the juridical point of view.
Naturally, the case in point is not the terminology alone. The adjustment of the concept of defense took place in 1996 after a number of unprecedented events involving the use of the RF Armed Forces in RF territory for the purpose of solving political and internal state problems in October 1993, in Moscow, and then, starting from December 1994, in Chechnya. The fact of using thus the forces exclusively intended for defense from external armed aggression was explained by the existence of special reasons. But was it legally justifiable to elevate these “special reasons” into the rank of a permanent law in contradiction of the RF Constitution and a more general RF Law “On Security” It should be remembered that Article 1 of this Law is unequivocal in prioritizing the security objects in the following sequence: person, society, and only then the State. There can be no doubts in this respect. The Law reads as follows: “The main security objects include: the person – its rights and freedoms; society – its material and spiritual values; and the State – its constitutional order, sovereignty, and territorial integrity”.
And it holds good for any danger and any threat, including a military one. However, the existing Law “On Defense”, in fact, reduces the matter to military security of the State alone – the attitude which has influenced the whole process of the army’s modernization 52. How should the activity of the RF Armed Forces be assessed and how should they be equipped, and what objectives are to be set for military service (or service in the state of alert) in time of piece Answers to these questions, quite naturally, depend on the formulation of the mission, objectives and tasks of the Armed Forces.