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INSTITUTE FOR THE ECONOMY IN TRANSITION

RUSSIAN ECONOMY: TRENDS AND PERSPECTIVES

FEBRUARY 2000

MONTHLY BULLETIN

Moscow

2000

© Institute for the Economy in Transition, 1996. Licence, ¹ 021018 of 09.11.95

5 Gazetny pereulok, Moscow 103918, Russian Federation

Phone: (095) 203-88-16 Fax: (095) 202-42-24 E- Mail: todorov@iet.ru

Economy and politics in February 2000 3

The state of the federal budget 3

Monetary Policy 5

Financial Markets 8

Investment in the real sector 16

Foreign investment 17

Profitability of banking operations by results of the three Quarters 1999 18

The real sector: factors and trends 21

IET Monthly Trend Survey: February 2000 24

To the Concept of Creating Russian State Agricultural Bank 26

Food Aid to Russia 27

Foreign trade 28

Economy and politics in February 2000

The process of configuring of the newly elected Duma that continued through late- February allows several preliminary conclusions.

The configuration of the present Duma is different from the previous. Whereas the period of the radical social transformation, with its uncompromising political struggle is coming to an end, different groups and strata on the society have realized their own economic interests, which determined the retreat from a strict ideological opposition in favor of an organized lobbyism. The pragmatic stand taken by Unity and People’s Deputy factions, which has already manifested itself in their accentuated ignorance of ideology and entering in alliances both with the right and leftist forces, may serve as an illustration to the alleviation of intensity of the ideological struggle. At the same time, along with traditional factions that based on political parties, the new Duma shows the genesis of a number of lobbyist groups (agrarians, fuel and energy sector (Energy of Russia), which unquestionably will be very active.

Form the viewpoint of prospects of cooperation between the executive and legislative branches of power, such a positioning in the Duma potentially may entail both positive and negative consequences. On the one hand, the presidential rally increases the susceptibility of the executive power’s positions before lobbyist pressure. On the other hand, however, the pro-government factions in the Duma showed their ability, if necessity arises, to play the role of nucleus for crystalization, thus uniting the number of votes needed to block any undesirable decision. High chances of the acting President to be elected is the factor which counteracts and constrains lobbyists’ prospects ( as well as the prospects of populism). The consequences of the present decisions may remain problems of the today’s power.

In the conditions of a strong federal power, which is supported by the regions and enjoys a high rating among the population, the dependence on lobbyists and, especially, on any success of a populist policy is substantially lower this year compared with the 1996 presidential rally.

Nonetheless, there is a number of factors that do not allow a final ignorance of prospects of successful lobbyism at a scale being substantial for the economy. First, the continuation of economic growth, favorable state of affairs in the international markets help the sectoral lobbyists strengthen their positions. Secondly, one should take into account a high degree of interconnection between the power’s authority and the emergence of the military action in Chechnya and progress in the macroeconomic sphere ( the balanced budget, low inflation rate, the ongoing trend to the continuation of economic growth). Should any threat to the favorable image of the power arise, for example, because of a deterioration of the budget execution indices, it is not at all excluded that the power would opt to attract the national business’s resources to stabilize the situation. At the same time, the problems with paying off the debt arise (in 2000,the debt, indeed, has begun to grow), which may endanger the prospects of the increase of budget employees’ wages by non- inflationary methods. The prospects of tax revenues also can be questioned.

In such a situation, the signing of a series of Decrees on agri-industrial sector ( on establishment of Rosselkhozbank; on restructuring the tax indebtedness, penalties and fines; on urgent measures on holding the sowing and harvesting campaign), the situation around the aluminum deal; the non-interference policy that the government demonstrated in the notorious cases of the solution of problems of re-assignment of ownership rights by force may serve as an indicator of the potential readiness of the executive power to collaborate with groups of interest. However, it would be possible to evaluate the power’s ability to pursue a sound economic policy and follow the interests of the society as a whole only when an actual legislative process in the Parliament starts.

T. Drobyshevskaya

The state of the federal budget

Table 1.

XII

I

II

III

IV

V

VI

VII

VIII

IX

X

XI

XII

Revenue

Profit tax

2592

1061

986

2090

3264

2967

3007

2807

3937

3090

2693

5078

4647

VAT, special tax and excises

3

3

4

268

866

1104

1087

1056

913

890

1000

1394

Taxes on foreign trade and foreign economic activities

14811

9849

7998

9729

11375

8679

9957

11857

10345

11349

12729

12746

19737

Other taxes, levies and payments

3714

1631

2461

3036

3001

2604

4390

4625

2825

1164

3652

4418

4467

Overall taxes and payments

298

174

510

344

514

310

623

522

411

661

916

639

856

Total taxes and revenues

21416

12718

11959

15203

18423

15426

19081

20897

18574

17177

20881

23881

31101

Non-tax revenues

11736

1645

65

2753

2621

2394

5200

3458

1377

8082

3656

4929

8269

Total revenues

33152

14362

13383

16634

21044

18256

23854

24354

22623

22629

24534

28810

39370

Expenditure

State administration

1388

131

503

572

627

324

491

448

454

431

526

487

1526

National defense

5566

1562

2135

4343

3907

3606

3682

3776

3736

5619

5420

4008

9182

International activity

530

1050

866

1496

1230

7057

1870

1911

1792

1431

687

5574

Justice

557

17

126

119

219

115

158

195

125

147

172

169

608

Law enforcement activity

3408

302

1674

1645

2265

1772

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