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Arrangements had been made in the country for the forthcoming, on December 12, 2004, Civil Congress In Defense of the Constitution, Against the Dictatorship. The aim of its organizers (led by G.Satarov and L.Alexeeva) to create the base platform in defense of democratic values, notwithstanding the distinctions by right of-left-hand scale. Taking into account weakness of the opposition parties, ideally (depending on work productivity) the congress could also become a continuing body, a prototype of one or another coalition in the sense of, primarily, social cause, rather than parliamentary block. No doubt, that in this capacity, the Congress is a danger for powers, and it is not by chance that the statements of D.Rogozin about carrying out an alternative Civil congress, on the same very day, were announced on the first and second TV channels. CPSU and the Union of Right Forces officially refused to take part in the Congress, though, allowing the participation of members of their parties as juridical persons. Communists pleaded discontent about the defense of the Constitution, but the righthand about the presence of communists. It is obvious, that meanwhile the primary task for the opposition parties will be historical analysis of the events of the last century - from 1917 to 1993, rather than struggle for survival in present-day conditions, they do not represent either danger, or interest.

Besides, the more chances have their potential competitors, which still not having a status of an organization, but already winning ideologically (Committee 2008, Civil Congress etc.).

S. Zhavoronkov REFORMS PROGRESS IN NOVEMBER A new medium-term draft program emerged in the Government at the end of November, which also included a section dedicated to science reform and promotion of innovations which was under discussion at a meeting of the RF Government in November. The topic of the previous month concerned mostly the issue of stabilization fund and options and mechanisms of its usage. In addition, experts continue studying the administrative reform, while consideration of a vital law as part of the affordable housing package of the Urban Development Code was deferred to December by the State Duma.

The actions of the RF Government in November can be characterized as intensive daily activity.

Several events can be highlighted among the major ones which have an impact on the Russian economy.

First, the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia under the RF Government introduced the first revision ( which remains to be followed up ) of the medium-term program. Yet, the so-called branch strategies developed by other ministries have not been integrated into the program. However, the current revision of the program provides a clear view of its final revision. The program seems to be reasonably liberal, as was expected in the previous reviews, and not disagree with the old programs of the RF Government. A section on reduction of poverty developed by the experts of the Center for Strategic Developments, as well as provisions on promotion of development of civil society institutions, judicial and law-enforcement reforms are worth of noticing among new items.

The final revision of the Program ( including the plan of actions ) is to be presented in midDecember, though the practice expects nearly two more months of follow-up. In this case, the things are likely to get more complicated since the first attempt to integrate updates from other ministries under the Ministry of Economic Development is likely to fail.

Another major event was consideration at a meeting of the RF Government of a new national innovation framework development strategy designed by the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia.

In general, the strategy fully reflects the crisis situation in terms of implementation of new scientific innovations and technologies into the national economy. The guidelines to follow creation of an efficient innovation framework acting as an agent between the science and the industry, legal settlement of the problems related to intellectual property, promotion of venture financing development, financing of R&D expenses, etc. seem to be quite reasonable in general. In addition, the major part of the proposed measures has already been included into the new medium-term draft program. It is the promptness of the underlined reforms that is questionable, most of which are scheduled for 2006 and 2007 (with few exceptions for the end of 2005 ). Such rates are too slow for a knowledge-based economy to be built up given the fact that the old innovation strategy that had been under consideration for more than two years, also proposed a great number of adequate measures scheduled for but not eventually implemented in 2003 and 2004.

The main topic for discussion in November the stabilization fund and the policy of its utilization received enough coverage by the mass media. In addition, an intermediate option is likely to be selected ( it is almost the case after the well-known concessions made by the RF Ministry of Finance) between not to utilize the stabilization fund and to utilize it in full. Most importantly, that the stabilization fund should remain a real financial buffer for the government ( even if the 100% risk hedging is unfeasible ), and not to be turned into a black hole pumping out funds needed to create the basis for future development. Russia can not take the liberty of violating the first condition because the current financial stabilization costed it too high. However, the second risk should not be considered less important, since there is no point in accumulating the stabilization fund for a rainy day on account of under-financing the measures allowing to prevent such rainy day.

The fact that the third reading of the Urban Development Draft Code the most important element of the set of laws dedicated to creation of an affordable housing market -- has been deferred to a later date, is the key alarm to be highlighted in November. Major financial interests at large cities and the monopolists in regional construction markets are ranged against the new Code. The Code has encountered a fierce opposition at the State Duma. If not adopted, however, the other sections of the housing package dealing with expansion of the purchasing power of the population will not work in full, because the growth in demand for housing would aggravate the problem in the absence of its supply.

Implementation of new organizational and legal forms in social security organizations is another initiative proposed by the RF Government which has encountered a fierce opposition. While being vital, this initiative is considered a threat by the majority of administration of the social security sector itself, because of the constraints imposed on budget disbursement. Healthcare and education sectors have had to accept the adoption of new regulations and participated in a constructive dialogue. In November, however, theater people launched an extended criticism of the RF Government and demanded removal of these regulations from the agenda. Soon, it remains to be seen how the RF Government will respond to this move.

O. Fomichov Budgetary and Fiscal Policy By the end of October of 2004, the level of revenues of the RF federal budget has increased by 0.p. p. of GDP in comparison with the figures registered in the preceding month and made 20.2 per cent of GDP. The level of expenditures of the federal budget increased by 0.4 p. p. in comparison with the figures registered last month and made 16.5 per cent of GDP by November 1, 2004. In January through August of 2004, the revenues of the RF consolidated budget made about 31.9 per cent of GDP, while the expenditures of the RF consolidated budget over the respective period made 26.0 per cent of GDP.

At the end of 2004 and in early 2005, the RF Ministry of Finance is planning to start the investment of the financial resources of the Stabilization Fund in securities with the assistance of the Bank of Russia.

The State of the Federal Budget In January through September of 2004, the revenues of the federal budget (cash execution) made 20.1 per cent of GDP, while expenditures made 15.2 per cent of GDP (see Table 1). Therefore, the federal budget surplus made 4.9 per cent of GDP.

Table The monthly execution of the federal budget of the Russian Federation (in % of GDP1, cash execution).

IX`03 X`03 XI`03 XII`03 I`04 II`04 III`04 IV`04 V`04 VI`04 VII`04 VIII`04 IX`Revenues 1,3% 1,3% 1,3% 1,3% 0,9% 0,7% 1,2% 1,4% 1,3% 1,3% 1,3% 1,3% 1,2% Profit tax. 2,7% 2,7% 2,6% 2,7% 2,2% 2,6% 2,8% 2,9% 2,9% 2,8% 2,8% 2,8% 2,7% Income tax. 6,7% 6,6% 6,6% 6,6% 7,9% 6,6% 6,2% 6,4% 6,5% 6,3% 6,5% 6,5% 6,4% Unified social tax. 1,9% 1,9% 1,9% 1,9% 2,3% 1,8% 1,4% 1,2% 1,1% 1,0% 0,9% 0,8% 0,8% Taxes on goods and services.

License and registration dues. 3,3% 3,3% 3,4% 3,4% 3,6% 4,2% 4,4% 4,7% 5,0% 4,9% 4,9% 5,0% 4,9% VAT 1,8% 1,8% 1,9% 1,9% 2,4% 2,6% 2,4% 2,5% 2,5% 2,5% 2,5% 2,5% 2,5% Excise taxes 2,9% 2,9% 2,9% 3,0% 2,3% 0,1% 0,2% 0,2% 0,1% 0,1% 1,0% 0,2% 0,2% Taxes on foreign trade and foreign economic operations. 20,6% 20,5% 20,5% 20,7% 21,6% 18,7% 18,6% 19,3% 19,5% 19,0% 20,1% 19,1% 18,6% Other taxes. 1,4% 1,4% 1,3% 1,3% 0,9% 0,8% 0,9% 1,0% 1,1% 1,5% 1,4% 1,5% 1,4% Tax revenues. 19,5% 19,4% 19,3% 19,4% 20,4% 19,6% 19,7% 20,4% 20,6% 20,6% 21,6% 20,6% 20,1% Non-tax revenues. 0,4% 0,4% 0,4% 0,5% 0,2% 0,3% 0,4% 0,4% 0,4% 0,4% 0,4% 0,4% 0,4% Total revenues. 2,5% 2,5% 2,5% 2,7% 1,7% 2,2% 2,6% 2,9% 2,7% 2,6% 2,6% 2,5% 2,4% Expenditures 0,2% 0,2% 0,2% 0,2% -0,1% 0,2% 0,2% 0,3% 0,3% 0,3% 0,3% 0,3% 0,2% Public administration. 0,2% 0,2% 0,2% 0,2% 0,1% 0,1% 0,2% 0,2% 0,2% 0,2% 0,2% 0,2% 0,2% National defense. 1,7% 1,7% 1,7% 1,9% 1,0% 1,5% 1,7% 1,9% 1,8% 1,8% 1,8% 1,8% 1,8% International activity. 0,3% 0,3% 0,3% 0,3% 0,1% 0,1% 0,2% 0,3% 0,3% 0,3% 0,2% 0,2% 0,2% Judicial power. 0,9% 0,9% 0,9% 1,1% 0,2% 0,4% 0,5% 0,6% 0,6% 0,7% 0,7% 0,7% 0,7% Law enforcement and safety measures. 2,1% 2,1% 2,1% 2,3% 1,4% 1,7% 1,9% 2,1% 2,1% 2,1% 2,1% 2,0% 2,0% Fundamental scientific research and technological development promotion. 2,0% 1,8% 1,7% 1,7% 1,0% 2,1% 2,2% 1,7% 1,5% 1,4% 1,4% 0,3% 1,5% Public services rendered to national economy, including : 6,9% 6,8% 6,8% 6,9% 5,2% 5,8% 5,9% 6,5% 6,4% 6,1% 6,1% 7,4% 5,8% Social services. 17,1% 16,8% 16,7% 17,7% 10,8% 14,4% 15,8% 16,8% 16,3% 15,9% 15,8% 15,9% 15,2% National debt service 2,5% 2,6% 2,6% 1,7% 9,6% 5,2% 3,8% 3,6% 4,3% 4,7% 5,8% 4,7% 4,9% Other expenditures 0,2% -0,1% -0,3% 0,5% -8,6% -3,1% -1,2% -1,3% -2,4% -3,1% -3,2% -2,9% -3,3% Expenditures and loans less repaid loans -2,7% -2,5% -2,3% -2,2% -1,0% -2,1% -2,6% -2,3% -1,9% -1,6% -1,7% -1,8% -1,6% Surplus -2,5% -2,6% -2,6% -1,7% -9,6% -5,2% -3,8% -3,6% -4,3% -4,7% -4,9% -4,7% -4,9% As compared with the figures registered in January through September of 2003, the budget revenues increased by 0.6 p. p. of GDP in the respective period of 2004, while expenditures decreased by 1.9 p.

p. and budget surplus respectively increased by 2.4 p. p. of GDP. As before, VAT accounted for the major share of federal tax revenues 34.1 per cent of the total tax revenues, what was by 1.4 p. p.

above the level observed in the respective period of 2003.

According to preliminary estimates, the cash execution of federal budget revenues made 20.2 per cent of GDP in January through October of 2004, what was by 0.6 p. p of GDP above the level of revenues observed in the respective period of the preceding year. At the same time, the cash execution of expenditures made 15.4 per cent of GDP (16.8 per cent of GDP in January through August of Because of the estimated data on GDP, the indices may be subject to revision.

2003); therefore, in the first nine months of this year, according to preliminary data, the surplus made 4.8 per cent of GDP.

According to the preliminary estimates of the Finance Ministry, in terms of fulfilled funding2 the expenditures of the federal budget in January through October of 2004 made 16.5 per cent of GDP (see Table 2), while in the respective period of 2003 this indicator was at 17.9 per cent of GDP. In January through October of 2004, the amount of revenues of the federal budget increased by 0.8 p. p.

of GDP in comparison with the figures registered in the respective months of 2003 and made 20.2 per cent of GDP. Therefore, the surplus of the federal budget in terms of fulfilled funding in January through October of 2004 increased by 2.2 p. p. in comparison with the figures registered in January through October of 2003 and made 3.7 per cent of GDP.

Table The monthly execution of the federal budget of the Russian Federation (in % GDP, fulfilled funding).

X`03 XI`03 XII`03 I`04 II`04 III`04 IV04 V04 VI04 VII04 VIII`04 IX`04 X`Total revenues 19,4% 19,3% 19,5% 20,4% 19,6% 19,7% 20,4% 20,6% 20,6% 20,7% 20,6% 20,0% 20,2% Public administration 0,5% 0,5% 0,5% 0,5% 0,7% 0,6% 0,6% 0,6% 0,5% 0,6% 0,5% 0,5% 0,5% Judicial power 2,8% 2,9% 2,7% 2,7% 3,9% 2,9% 3,7% 3,2% 2,8% 3,0% 2,8% 2,6% 2,9% International activity 0,2% 0,2% 0,2% 0,0% 0,2% 0,2% 0,3% 0,3% 0,2% 0,3% 0,4% 0,4% 0,3% National defense 0,2% 0,2% 0,2% 0,2% 0,2% 0,2% 0,2% 0,2% 0,2% 0,2% 0,2% 0,2% 0,2% Law enforcement and safety measures 1,9% 1,9% 1,9% 2,1% 2,4% 2,3% 2,4% 2,3% 2,1% 2,1% 2,1% 2,0% 2,0% Fundamental scientific research and technological development promotion 0,3% 0,3% 0,3% 0,2% 0,3% 0,3% 0,4% 0,3% 0,3% 0,3% 0,3% 0,2% 0,3% Public services rendered to national economy 1,0% 1,1% 1,1% 0,5% 0,7% 0,8% 0,9% 0,9% 0,8% 0,8% 0,6% 0,7% 0,9% Social services 2,3% 2,4% 2,3% 2,4% 2,5% 2,4% 3,0% 2,9% 2,5% 2,5% 2,4% 2,2% 2,2% National debt service 1,8% 1,7% 1,7% 1,0% 2,1% 2,2% 1,7% 1,5% 1,4% 1,3% 1,5% 1,5% 1,4% Other expenditures 6,9% 6,9% 7,0% 5,6% 6,6% 6,1% 6,6% 6,6% 6,2% 6,3% 6,3% 5,9% 5,9% Total expenditures 17,9% 18,1% 17,8% 15,2% 19,7% 18,0% 19,7% 18,8% 17,1% 17,4% 17,1% 16,1% 16,5% Budgetary surplus (+) / deficit (-) 1,5% 1,3% 1,6% 5,2% 0,0% 1,7% 0,7% 1,8% 3,5% 3,3% 3,4% 3,9% 3,7% According to the estimates of the Tax Ministry, in October of 2004 the tax revenues of the federal budget made about Rub. 144.16 billion (without the single social tax). In real terms the revenues made 288.4 per cent of the level registered in January of 1999, while the respective indicator was at 248.per cent in September of 2003 and 254.8 per cent in September of 2002 (see Table 3).

Table Actual tax revenues to the federal budget, according to the data of the MTC (in % of the data for January of 1999)3.

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