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INSTITUTE FOR THE ECONOMY IN TRANSITION RUSSIAN ECONOMY: TRENDS AND PERSPECTIVES February 2006 MONTHLY BULLETIN Moscow 2006 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 1 Political and Economic Developments of February 2006....................................................................... 3 Budgetary and Tax Policy....................................................................................................................... 5 Monetary Policy...................................................................................................................................... 9 Financial markets.................................................................................................................................. 13 Efficiency of bank operations in the first 9 months of 2005................................................................. 23 The Real Sector of the Economy: Major Factors and Trends............................................................... 26 The State of Affairs in Industry in February 2006................................................................................ 31 Foreign Trade........................................................................................................................................ 32 Priority National Project in the Sphere of Healthcare: Goals and Risks............................................... 36 Military expenditures in the 2006 Federal Budget................................................................................ 38 Privatization and federal property management: some results of the year 2005.................................. 42 The peculiar features of passive investments on the Russian stock market.......................................... 48 Issues considered by the RF Government at its sessions on 2 and 16 February.................................. A review of budget legislation introduced in February of 2006............................................................ An overview of normative documents on the issues of taxation, adopted in January-February 2006........................................................................................................ An overview of economic legislation adopted in February 2006.......................................................... Political and Economic Developments of February February did not see a lot of events, though there were many commentaries and suppositions primarily thanks to Vladimir Putins press-conference, given by him in the last day of January, and speaking (on February 7) of the deputy.Head of Presidents Administration Vladislav Surkov before the listeners of the Party Studies and the Personnel Training Center "Single Russia", officially later confirmed and published.

In late January Vladimir Putins press-conference was held. First, Putin tried to argue against estimation of the things that happen in Russian economy as nationalization. He estimated the acquisitions of Gazprom and Rosneft as market-based and wished that those companies be developed as big multinational companies, having compared them with European or American ones1. As concerns Avtovaz, what was happening at the plant could be justified as taking care of working places and the modernization of production. Putin wished that TNK-, Lukoil and Surgutneftegaz be exclusively private companies. Also, V.Putin readdressed the issues of the future of "ALROSA and Norilsk Nickel to the management of the companies. However, it became clear in February that its the State that is to answer the issues of their future. Thus, we believe that the announced by G.Gref's initiative of repurchase of ALROSA 11-13% of shares from the minority shareholders, in order to bring the federal share to control one2, may become rather an important action. Actually, the present owners of ALROSA became reconciled to the repurchase of their company at value that exceeds the market price.

Its natural that the theory of non-nationalization causes no more trust than promised nonbankruptcy of YUKOS acquisition of Rosneft by Gazprom. Because Surgutneftegaz, for example, is very similar by its structure of crossholding to Avtovaz. Furthermore, the maintenance of three private oil companies does not mean a refusal of the course to nationalization in general (for example, in January the deal was cancelled on acquisition by VTB of St.-Petersburg Promstroibank), which more likely means a minute's rest for business. One should pay attention to another thing. The situation when the countrys leader is asked personally what is going to be private, and what not clearly shows that problems exist in the country with the institution of private property.

Most of economists and observers did not pay attention to the fact that Putin insistently and positively valued the presence of Gazproms minority shareholders and assumed that Rosneft will soon also have a great deal of them (he meant the planned IPO for summer). In our opinion, such Presidents statement appear quite adequate to Kremlins long-term political strategy. The existence of influential, but minority foreign co-owners makes them co-defendants on the risks of corporations that are controlled by government assigned managers. Though, in this case they do not acquire any rights.

except for payment of dividends, which they can perfectly well refuse of. One can agree with V.Putin indeed, IPO (or its absence) of Rosneft will show, if acquiring companies, that were deeply involved in the property redistribution over the last few years and managed by the Russian State, was for western investors attractive, while for western legal system possible. However, the dismissal in early February of the first vice-president of Rosneft, S.Alexeev, who supervised just IPO, as well as the following chaos hypothesis of different variants of placement of shares under the conditions of poor financial position of Rosneft, makes IPO plainly dubious. Maybe the only believable variant could be placement of shares on the domestic market, but this also will not suit it does not solve the problem of Yuganskneftegaz legitimation, and from the perspective of drawing profit for management it clearly does harm by transforming the government company to something half-public.

While in his speech Putin spent much time concentrating on economic issues, Surkov highlighted the recent history of Russia and political process that could be characterized in terms of necessity to maintain the Single Russia party dominance during 10-15 years (!), for which purpose it must conduct an ideological struggle, and not rely exclusively on the power. According to Surkov, the major There was a specification sounded in V.Surkovs report that those are to be just multinational, and not over, super-,or trans-.

ALROSA, controlled by a conglomerate the government of Yakutia, municipalities and the management, is successful in its fight against the attempts to take away property from them even since 2002. The appointment a president of the company A.Nechiporuk, considered a placeman of A.Kudrin, did not change the situation.

trouble of the Soviet power was in that it could not generate a responsible elite, probably the one which, once coming to power continues to stay in power for fifteen years. However, together with few sorrows of inefficiency of the Soviet economy, the report contains also the statements of presence of democracy in the USSR, the role of the USSR in the development of democracy in the world, as well as considerations on insufficient democracy of the western countries. The 1990s were the years of weakening the State and the dictate of oligarchy, which exercised total control over the ministries, regions and parties. And now, according to the official version, the policy of stabilization and democratization is conducted. There are two forces, being the supporters of return to the past, that try to hamper this process, - these are advocates of restoration of oligarchy, just like in 90s, and the supporters of isolationism, being almost Nazi. Perhaps, neither of official reports of a big officers contained of late such an attempt to introduce a new terminology, that overturns the common words meaning, just like in books of George Orwell, this primarily concerns the meaning of the work democracy.

Let us dwell on one of examples (though there are dozens of them) V.Surkov said in his report that abolition of election of governors led to raising of the role of political parties (!)3.

In February the propaganda campaign against "fascism of political parties was at its peak at the state TV-channels insufficiently loyal to Kremlin - this time it was directed not only against Rodina, but also against SPS and Yabloko. To blame SPS in fascism there was a provocative enough statement (having nothing in common with SPS) of some young skinhead who, most likely was specifically hired for this purpose, in the presence of the head of SPS, N.Belykh. Despite all its absurdity, the provocation played its role the opposition parties began to excuse, while N.Belykh together with Single Russia, V.Zhirinovsky and a number of formations, considered by the RF Ministry of Justice as political parties, even signed the anti-fascist pact. D.Rogozin could not protect by excuses his leading position in Rodina. The next congress of Rodina is planned for May this year, where he most probably will peacefully pass the power to the head of the Executive Committee of Rodina, big entrepreneur A.Babakov, who was up to now a sponsor and associate of Rogozin (though an attempt to enforce Babakov to elect co-chairmen from among Kremlin representatives cannot be excluded).

On the other hand, the power took a number of regular political pressure actions prior to the cycle of regional elections planned for March 12 in the majority of cases it was Rodina who suffered (its lists were removed from elections in most of regions, including (under absurd pretext) the presence of undocumented information of the absence of quorum at the party conferences), there were also other dangerous brands that were removed from elections, such as, for example, headed by popular local politician I.Rudnikov in Kaliningrad oblast Narodnaya partiya (they proved to be blamed for stirring up social discord, having criticized the work of militia).

In our opinion, the March regional elections will be an attempt for Single Russia to receive over 50% of voices in all the regions, which cast some suspicion on practicability of the participation in such elections of opposition at all. On the other hand, they can produce an inverse effect. Virtuality or, strictly speaking, exaggeration of the number of Russian political parties is really not a secret. However, this is the threat that was realized too early by the power and by which it stimulates creation of the real opposition party structure. As, alone, the current semi-virtual structures have not sufficient resources for the creation of such a party, this, in turn, stimulates their integration including well reputed in the opposition antiauthoritarian movements of post-Soviet space syncretic right-left platform.

February demonstrated another new element of propaganda war, that was not used earlier namely, appeal to religious component of anti-Western rhetoric. As is known, caricatures for the revered by Muslims prophet Mohammed, that were published about a year and a half in a number of European countries were used afterwards by Islamites and a number of Middle East governments, that sympathize with them as a reason for organization of pogroms which caused the response reaction of solidar Earlier, parties could nominate their candidates at direct elections, but now its the President who appoints governors. He can dissolve a legislative assembly in the case it refuses to approve the nominated candidature, while parties (not all the parties but only the one which won in the proportional part of mandate distribution) may only advise the President, who is not necessarily obliged to agree with them. Moreover, in his January speech Putin categorically rejected the initiative of party government, which meant the first step on the way of Single Russia to a new CPSU i.e. concentration of power authorization to the detriment of other government institutions.

ity of journalists and socially disposed citizens in the form of further reprinting of caricatures. The same also took place in Russia, however, criminal cases were opened against journalists who reprinted caricatures, and the two of three newspapers (belonged to municipalities) closed. In fact, the Russian television supported pogromists and also disseminated incorrect information about the excuses of the European Union before Muslims4. The actual head of Chechnya R.Kadyrov announced on prohibition against activities of the Denmark representative offices in the republic, which was denounced afterwards under the pressure of the authorized representative of President in the Northern Caucasia D.Kozak.

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