The population’s finance and the consumer market 23
Small banks in 1999 25
Privatization in Russia increasingly looses its urgency. 27
Economy and politics in March 1999
The early presidential elections became the key event in Russia’s political life in March. The election rally finished, and now that allows several remarks regarding specifics of the elections and prospects of the country’s further social and political development.
The specifics of the elections was that the pre- election rally did not have a significant impact on the political and economic situation in the country. The unanimous support extended to the acting President by regional authorities, a high popularity ( still) of the new leader among the population, ( despite some drop, according to the polls held in March), stability of the economic situation ( continuation of economic growth, minimal inflation rate), the military actions in Chechnya as consolidating factor,- all these conditions have determined a significantly higher probability of the acting President compared to his contenders.
In such conditions, the executive power could afford- and it was interested in that- to implement an actual sound economic policy oriented to the improvement of the situation in the country in the future rather than aimed at timely benefits, such as the growth in the pre- election rating. With all the>
At the same time, still there is no economic program of the government/newly elected President. Proceeding from the circle of personalities contributing to the elaboration o such a program, it should be liberal, and one may guess the degree of that liberal nature. However, judging bills submitted to the State Duma, one may assume that it is intended to intensify the government interference in the economy, furthermore, the administrative interference ( for instance, the bills on privatization and foreign exchange regulation that passed the first reading). At the present stage of creating conditions for a sustainable growth, such a dualism presents for the national economy a greater peril than the absence of the integral concept of development back-upped by the respective legal acts. The remaining uncertainty with respect to the economic course intended also darkens Russia’s foreign trade prospects, which was shown, in particular, by rather a moderate reaction of the securities market to the election of Mr. Putin the President. It is hard to predict in every detail, whether the new administration of IMF shares the merely pragmatic views of business circles or it again opts to demonstrate a political support to the continuation of market transformations in Russia. The fall in the share of monetary settlements by payments for natural monopolies’ products and the non- fulfillment of other components of the IMF/WB structural program is pregnant, at least, with complications that are related to disbursement of next tranches of the financial aid.
One may suggest several explanations of the present Cabinet’s dual economic policy: firstly, the need to keep some space for maneuver showed the unstable position of the “ acting President”; secondly, the current absence of certainty with respect to the search for ways of the further development shows a tactical orientation towards the administrative resources as an alternative to “close connections” ( dependence) among the groups of influence for the period of the elaboration of a concept and strategic program of actions. In this case, the emerging liberal tends and the principle power’s distancing from the pressure groups ( which increase the probability of implementation of a consistent policy) may cause some optimism.
The new composition and first steps of the government would allow a more grounded justification of actual priorities and methods of the new President’s policy.
State of the federal budget
The monthly execution of the federal budget of the Russian Federation ( in prices effective as of January 1998)
Corporate profit tax
Personal income tax
VAT, special tax and excises
Tax on foreign trade and foreign trade operations
Other taxes, duties and payments
Total- taxes and charges
Non- tax revenues
Law enforcement and security activities
Services provided for the national economy
Servicing of public debt
Loans, redemption exclusive
Expenditure and loans, redemption exclusive
Budget deficit (-)
The data on the execution of the federal budget in January 2000 are represented in table 1. The deflation of indices was made using CPI. As the Table shows, the level of tax revenues and the general level of revenues in real terms are substantially superior to the respective index of January 1999, though inferior to the respective indices of December.
In January 2000, the level of revenues made up 17.3% of GDP ( for 1999 as a whole- 13.7% of GDP1, January 1999- 11.3% of GDP) and expenditure- 13.9% of GDP ( 14.8% of GDP for 1999 as a whole, January 1999- 11.1% of GDP).
The level of budget deficit was 3.4% of GDP (-1.2% of GDP for 1999, January 1999: - 0,1% of GDP)2.
According to preliminary data on execution of the federal budget, in February 2000 revenues made up Rb. 70.4 bln. ( 123% relative to the planned indices and 18.1% of GDP, the Federal Road Fund and the Federal Environmental Fund exclusive; considering the said Funds, the revenues made up Rb. 72.4 bln.), expenditure- Rb. 56.3 bln. ( 82.3 % from the plan and 16.3% of GDP), and proficit- Rb. 14.1 bln. In February 2000, the tax revenues to the federal budget by economic agents controlled by the RF MTC made up a. Rb. 43 bln, and the revenues of the targeted budgetary funds exclusive,- Rb. 45 bln. In January, the revenues controlled by SCC made up Rb. 25.8 bln., and those controlled by MinFin- a. 1 bln.
Real tax revenues to the federal budget, by the data of MTC (in prives of January 1998)
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