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INSTITUTE FOR THE ECONOMY IN TRANSITION RUSSIAN ECONOMY: TRENDS AND PERSPECTIVES December 2004 MONTHLY BULLETIN Moscow 2004 Institute for the Economy in Transition, 1996. Licence, 02079 19 2000 .

5 Gazetny pereulok, Moscow 103918, Russian Federation Phone: (095) 203-88-16 Fax: (095) 202-42-24 E- Mail: todorov@iet.ru 1 Politico-economical developments of December 2004........................................................................... 3 Of the Course of Reforms in December 2004......................................................................................... 5 Budgetary and Fiscal Policy.................................................................................................................... 6 Monetary Policy.................................................................................................................................... 11 Financial Markets.................................................................................................................................. 14 Investment in the real sector of the economy........................................................................................ 25 Foreign investment................................................................................................................................ 27 The Real Sector of the Economy: Factors and Trends.......................................................................... 32 Oil and natural gas sector...................................................................................................................... 36 IET Business Survey: Industry in December of 2004........................................................................... 40 Russia: causes of meat price growth in 2004........................................................................................ 42 Foreign trade......................................................................................................................................... New forms of state support of innovation activities.............................................................................. Types of pensions and the issues of inheritance of accumulated amounts in the pension schemes of Russian Non-State Pension Funds............................................................... Stamp tax: an article of the Tax Code................................................................................................... Issues discussed at the meetings held by the Government of the Russian Federation on December 9 and 22 of 2004.................................................................... A review of regulatory documents concerning taxation, which were made public in November through December of 2004.............................................................................................. A review of economic legislation: December of 2004.......................................................................... Politico-economical developments of December In December 2004, the so-called YUKOS case came into its final stage. On 19.12.2004, an auction was held on the sale of the YUKOS major oil production unit - Yuganskneftegaz. The day before, the organizers of the auction received quite probable but still not seemed evident the U.S. Bankruptcy court ruling in the State of Texas, which warned economic entities, and Gazprom, in particular, against participation in such a procedure1. The Western banks consortium, for example an American J.P.

Morgan, refused to lend Gazprom a credit to the amount of almost USD 9 bn, required for acquisition of Yuganskneftegaz (though some European banks doubted the competence of the courts ruling, which key issues are either presence in the U.S. of a debtor-party American citizens or companies in conjunction with recognizing the Russian court improper for course of justice). So far, the courts decision is upheld by the first supervisory instance of courts supervisory instance, despite the fact that in the majority of cases the U.S. justice evades analysis of cases of such kind (for example, an emigrant and businessman from Russia, M.Zhivilo lost in the U.S. in 2001-2003 the case of confiscation of his property in all the courts instances).

As a result, the sale of Yuganskneftegaz from disputable and not quite logical, but still market operation, which essence is in attraction of funds by the company for acquisition of assets being in the state of suspension in a view to the following remission of existing debts (i.e. the scheme, realized, for example, by the structures of Roman Abramovich, Iskander Makhmudov, and EurazHolding around aluminum industry and iron and steel industry in 2000, but improved, because of participation, as part of concerned parties, of western shareholders of Gazprom), turned into fraud, which is rare today. The Gazprom subsidiary refused to participate in the auction (to the point, thereby a huge advance $1.7 bn is to be referred to the budget to the prejudice of Gazprom shareholders). The winner of the auction was announced not known to analysts the company Baikal Finance Group, which allegedly also granted an advance of such kind. Until January 11, 2005 the remaining amount is to be transferred, and it is obvious, as we predicted, the only resource for such an amount may be either the funds of state banks (with obvious breaking of crediting activities standards for one company), or billion dollars of budgetary funds, which in this case are granted even not to the world known state-run company, but nobody knows to whom.

However, Vladimir Putin stated that he knows the owners of Baikal Finance Group, which obviously is a ground for assigning them the state funds. But, it is apparent that judicial perspectives for those owners in foreign courts are extremely doubtful and much worse than for Gazprom. At the same time (with annul of the backdated taken decisions on establishing Gazpromneft, participation of Gazprom in the auction), perspectives are broadened to estimate the actions of Russian powers and concrete officials as criminal. In fact, Russia is on the verge of a new Noga case, but on a larger scale and in conditions, when the political motivation of foreign governments is by far less kind. Quite probable (though not obvious after what had happened) that the legal scheme scenario on Yugansneftegaz becoming a part of Gazprom will only slightly reduce those risks, but will not remove them.

The officials consider as an alternative the merger of Yugansneftegaz with Rosneft.

It is fair to say that in December 2004 attempts were made to somehow sweeten the pill for business - thus, Alexei Klimov, the head of interregional tax inspection No.7 had been dismissed who raised claims for Rb 4.4 bn rubles for 2001 to Vympelkom. The economy minister G.Gref spoke of possibility of drawing a line under the past tax collection situation of the company after requesting relevant bodies to carry out a routine tax inspection. But, even if principally approved, it is too early to say of its realization, and the level of credibility to Russian powers is also not sufficient to take such proposals seriously. So, in our opinion, we should expect strengthening of the emerging tendency towards redistribution of property using power structures.

In December, the RF Government once again returned the medium-term perspective program of socio-economic development for follow-on revision. G.Gref also explained lowering of the level of According to different estimates, the investors, in particular, the U.S. natural persons and hedge funds held up to 20% of YUKOS shares. At present, the depreciated shares of the company (which was made bankrupt by authorities), being affected by political factor (no matter how improbable its changing may seem) are not of special interest, but still attract, as any security, an interest of stock gamblers..

credibility in a dialogue between the power and business, by "absence of serious achievements in carrying out key reforms", among them he marked gas industry, the healthcare and education reform. In our opinion, the discussion on the RF Government Program is first of all the result of rudimentary attitude to the content of the Program as of the form of economic discussion or the effect on the power taking place at the beginning and in the middle of the 1990s. The same is true for the program of reforming electric-power industry. The RF Government had not moved forward at all as regards privatization of generating stations, as, probably no decisions have yet been taken concerning the future owners of these assets, likewise no assurance exists as how to sell them.

The substantial information that is worth mentioning is adoption by the Federation Council and probable signing by V.Putin a package of 17 draft laws for creation of the market of affordable housing. The draft laws prohibit free privatization of apartments since 2007, declare more simple access to mortgage credits (never have decided on putting up the risks of share participation in housing construction to commercial banks), simplification of agreement procedures for construction (25 instead of 153, which, all the same, is too many). Obligatoriness of auctions on the access of builders to land plots is provided for since 01.09.2005 (instead of that initially prepared on 01.01.2005), though it is poorly formulated with preservation possibility for declaring principle. Also not solved is the issue of allocation of funds for eviction of nonpayers (nonpayers of rent and communal services for more than half a year are to be evicted to municipal housing by standards of hostel, but such housing is not available), with regulation of an access to the market of housing and utilities infrastructure services.

Thus, one may state an adoption of next not actual package of documents.

December 2004 practically completed regional elections2. Elections of the heads of executive power took place in Ulyanovsk, Khabarovsk, Volgograd, Kurgan, Bryansk, on Kamchatka, and in Khakassia. Except for Kamchatka Volgograd, always the United Russia candidates achieved victory, though it was not so easy for them (a clear-cut victory had been achieved only in Khabarovsk and Khakassia). Competitors have had to be withdrawn from elections (Ulyanovsk, Bryansk), strong consolidation had been observed in the second round against the governor in power seemed not very strong oppositionist (Volgograd, Kurgan). In fact, despite epidemic entry the United Russia recently all the more governors, it may be concluded that belonging to the United Russia is not in itself a guarantee of success where there is a strong opponent, and in annulment of elections there is a considerable reason.

As regards completion of a cycle of elections to regional bodies of legislative power, here the situation for a ruling party is much more favorable as a rule, it occupies the stable first place with not a bad distance from CPRF or Rodina. The lists of SPS showed not bad ability to be elected to legislatures, but real revelation were the lists of the Pensioners Party, which failed in no case during their participation in the elections. In the majority of cases a tendency became evident towards failure or non-participation of LDPR or Yabloko lists.

As regards politics, it is worth noting the completion on December 12, 2004 of the plenary session of the Civil Congress "Russia for Democracy against Dictatorship". Later one may judge from concrete results of working on positive proposals of the program, in the meantime the Congress represented a personal presentation of well-known but not too popular politicians (G.Yavlinsky, B.Nemtsov, I.Khakamada), with declaration of mutually exclusive theses from struggle with liberal reforms and for revision of the RF Constitution to fight against communists and national socialists as major priority. The only original proposal were G.Yavlinskys initiatives, who stated joining the Yabloko party of all honest3 democrats as the way to integration of all democratic. No new ideas were suggested in the sphere of political tactics, not to mention of strategy. More than that, there was a discussion on apparent question of attraction of people for the defence of democratic freedoms and against bureaucratic arbitrary rule, as, in the opinion of some, people may express protests in Russia only setting up national socialist battle-cries.

National socialists did not take long to address in the central electronic mass media as a parallel so-called All-Russia Congress on the protection of the nations and citizens rights, held by Rodina party. The central theme of the congress was a call for the need to struggle against the USA and oli Last elections are left the governor of Nenets Autonomous District to be held in January 2005.

Dishonest, evidently, will be recognized by the party organization as no-good.

garches (not all of them but those who made their fortune at the beginning and mid-1990, i.e., using dishonest methods). It is indicative that the first mentioning of the Congress was announced only in presence of the first and second TV-channels. Though, no nationalism was demonstrated by the participants of Rogozin congress. They tried to substantiate the unfairness of reform of the 1990 and justify redistribution of property. And this is no wonder, as according to designed plan, Rodina is to force out the CPRF the last relatively independent on Kremlin parliamentary party from voting area. It is characteristic that such notable figures of the Russian Centrist Party, as A.Kuraev, took part in Congress.

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