turnover of GKO-OFZ market a month (billion rubles)
the overall value of outstanding GKO–OFZ (trillion rubles)
nominal surplus of the overall value of outstanding GKO–OFZ compared to the previous month
IBC – INSTAR rate (annual %) on loans by the end of the month:
turnover of IBC market a month (billion rubles)
official exchange rate of ruble per US dollar by the end of the month
official exchange rate of ruble per DM by the end of the month
average annualised exchange rate of ruble per US dollar growth
average annualised exchange rate of ruble per DM growth
gross turnover on the MICEX by USD and DM a month (billion rubles)
Arkhipov S.A., Drobyshevsky S.M., Lugovoy O.V.
Political and economic situation between August- September 1997
The period between the end of summer- early autumn 1997 manifested the completion of certain phase of this country’s economic development. Despite the absence of the envisioned growth, it is obvious that the Russian economy has stabilized, and the Government is pursuing its policy aimed for establishing and developing the prerequisites for growth, primarily for the national economy’s investment attractiveness. The recent statement made by IBCA concerning the possible reassessment of the Russia’s international investment rating and the news regarding the forthcoming completion of the procedure of restructuring the Russian debt to the London club have resulted in the rise in quotations of the Russian bonds up to 99% of their nominal value in August. Russia’s entering the Paris club should also assist to the growth in interest in investment to the Russian economy on the part of foreign investors. At the same time the GKO’s yield rate practically reached the respective rate of government securities of the countries, the credibility rating of which is analogous to the Russia’s one. The forthcoming denomination of Ruble should also get everybody convinced that the stabilization in Russia is irreversible and the government’s policy is continuous.
On the background of the struggle for the redistribution of property within the framework of the current stage of privatization, the government continues to separate itself from concrete financial groups and heads for providing its cooperation with the national business as a whole on the basis of strictly defined common rules of the game. The frantic banking war around the sales of the blocks of stock of “Svyazinvest”, “Norilsky Nickel”, “Rosneft” etc. were characteristic of the period between August- September. The business leaders assumed that they could enjoy the right to expect a “specific” attitude on the part of the government and were trying to use this right. In both cases, their expectations have been groundless.
The specifics of the current stage of reforms became the decisive counteraction of the government to any business leaders’ attempts to control the government. In addition to this, privatization gained rather a fiscal character than the previous social and political one. There are two reasons for this phenomenon: firstly, the success of the stabilization policy and the current stage of the political cycle in this country make the government significantly less dependent on business when compared with the last year’s situation. Secondly, the success of the stabilization policy leaves significantly less room for political maneuver than a year ago. At the same time the threat of the oligarchic capitalism, about which both domestic and foreign experts talk so much, has not yet become the reality for Russia. Firstly, the decisive position of the government struggling for its status of the supreme arbiter is the counteracting factor in this respect and, secondly, the oligarchy itself is not united, and the further intensification of contradictions within the oligarchy is inevitable, due to the new stage of redistribution of property.
The specifics of the period between summer- early autumn 1997 is that one may observe the start of the peculiar pre-election campaign of an unclear successor of the President. It seems to us that the current stage of the pre-election campaign is developing in two major directions. Firstly, there is the general process of concentration of power performed by the central executive power.* Secondly, in parallel to the above- mentioned process of the government’s separating itself from the financial groupings, one may observe the process of “autonomization” of the President as some “personification” of the public interest. At the same time, the system of “constraints and counterbalances” is aimed for working on the qualitatively new level: not so much to equalize fluctuations within the presidential team, as to balance among the influential groups of interests. The specific consensus among the members of the presidential team is based on the maintenance of the approximate parity of the forces within the team. Such a parity provides that the financial levers are distributed more or less evenly. At the same time the clear example of the manifestation of the afore- mentioned new factors is the signing of the Decree concerning establishment of the Central Depository, since the latter will infringe upon commercial banks’ interests, while the simultaneously issued the Ministry of Finance’s most recent instructions are clearly pro- banking. The process of the central power’s strengthening is intensified at the expense of separating and opposing the regional authorities of different levels to each other.2
Thus, the President’s role as “arbitrator” perfectly matches the task of mobilizing consensus among elites ( the significance of such a consensus for resolving the problems of economic growth we considered in the previous issue). At the same time one of the consequences of the start of the campaign may become the outlined unification and strengthening of opposition headed by Mr. Luzhkov. In September the latter made a number of critical comments while addressing the Budget-98 and, most notable, the government policy in the field of social sphere and privatization.
In general terms, it seems to us that the key problem of the socio- economic development is the problem of mobilizing the public consensus at the stage of depression, given that the strategic continuity of economic policy should be maintained. However, the outlined unification of opposition, tight budget-98, understanding that it should hardly pass through the State Duma, which take place on the background of a sharp drop in the level of tax collection, allow to conclude that there is a possibility for the intensification of political instability in this country.
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