The stable demand for the hard currency,having broken the trend characteristic for the autumn and winter 1995 to thededollarization of the economy reflected basically the expectations of thepopulation inclined, in the conditions of political risk, to hard currency andnot on the more profitable GKOs. This process also confirmed the rationalcharacter of the activities of the economic agents adequately estimating thecapacity of the power to support the general macro-economic balance before theelections but doubting the post-elections stability of the governmental course,notwithstanding whether due to the results of the elections (i.e., potentialvictory of G. Zuiganov) or exhaustion of the hard currencyreserves.
Fiscal behavior of enterprises
The crisis of the taxation system was onemore important phenomenon of the pre-elections economy. The problem of thetaxes non-payment did not come from 1996, either from the political (reactionon elections) or purely economic (mass actual collapses of enterprises and lackof money to pay the taxes) viewpoints. An attentive study of the tax arrears ofthe past years indicates the close links of this phenomenon with the politicalcrises in Russia in general and the weakening of the Federal power, andlimitation of the field of its possible manipulation in particular.
Beginning from the summer 1993 and up to themiddle of 1994the volume of arrears was sharply growing: it grew from the levelof about 6% of the monthly GDP to 21% of the monthly GDP in June 1994. Besides,the monthly variation of the arrears growth grew. Further on, the relativestability of the share of arrears in the GDP was observed till the beginning of1996.
The significant growth of the tax arrearsbegan in January 1996 due to the two interrelated circumstances.
Firstly, the electoral campaign of theacting President (in January it was already clear that B. Yeltsin would takepart in the elections) could not be accompanied by stricter actions of theexecutive power to the future voters. I.e., no decisive measures relative tothe arrears were not foreseen. Moreover, by the non-payment of the taxes, theGovernment obtained the new mechanism of the electoral softening of themonetary policy, characteristic for the market economy countries
Secondly, the fiscal behavior of enterpriseswas influenced by the clear enough demonstration of sympathy by the CPRFideologists to the non-payers of taxes to the “Government of nationaltreason”10.This, combined with the reality of presidency of G. Ziuganovsupported the relevant economic attitudes among the economic agents. It wasunderstandable that in the event of victory of the CPRF the arrears would be,most probably, written off (this was fully within the ideology of the leftforces on the necessity to help enterprises with replenishment of thecirculating assets). Even in the event of victory of B. Yeltsin it was hardlypossible to expect prosecution for the undue fiscal discipline11.
So, enterprises, waiting for the elections,reduced the transfer of taxes to the Budget hoping for both the possibleindulgence with the populist purposes during the electoral struggle, and theprobable fiscal amnesty in the event of victory of the communistforces.
A certain reduction of the State incomeslevel in the first months of a year was characteristic for Russia since199212. However, in 1996, the incomes were just falling down. In January1996, compared with January 1995, the tax inflows to the Federal Budget reducedby 3.5% of the GDP (from 10.3% to 6.8%, see Tables 1.2 and 1.9), due, first ofall, to the profit tax (by 1.5% of the GDP) and the taxes on goods and services(by 1.2% of the GDP). The tax inflows to the consolidated Budget reduced from21.7% of the GDP in 195 to 14.4% of the GDP in January 1996.
In the first quarter of 1996, the incomes ofthe consolidated Budget were only 69.7% of the planned, incl. 62.8% for the taxinflows. In the first quarter of 1996, the tax inflows stayed at the level ofJanuary and February 1996 (16.4% of the GDP), i.e., by 29% lower than in firstquarter of 1995 (23% of the GDP). In the second quarter-year, the situationwith the taxes continued being determined by the coming Presidential electionsand was characterized by the low tax inflows: 17.9% of the GDP in the firsthalf of 1996 against 24.7% in the first half of 1995 (see Fig. 1.8). Thereduction of the inflows to the Federal Budget went on similarly. In January toJune 1996 the payments to the Federal Budget made 7.7% of the GDP against 10.8%of the GDP for the first half of 1995.
Dynamic ofarrears to Federal Budget of Russia in 1996
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