The capitalist industry of Russia. A long jump or running in place?


Valentin Serov. Peter the First

Once entered and still have not left


As it turns out, no one is ready for the implementation of the reindustrialization project: neither the state, nor the elite, nor business, nor even the current able-bodied population that grew up in the post-industry era. But time passes, and other countries do not stand still.


The problem of industrialization and its closest relative, reindustrialization, is not at all new to Russia. Since the country entered into close contact with Europe, the topic has not left the agenda. The father of Peter I, Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, took care of her. It was with him that the first warship Eagle was built according to Western European standards. Dutch masters were invited, who created the ship.

The son of Alexei Mikhailovich, of course, did not want to dwell on individual episodes. He longed for more - to turn Russia into a European power, firmly stand on the Baltic, enter the Black Sea, etc. And for this it was necessary to solve three key tasks: technology, personnel, investment. With the first two, he acted very reasonably. For technology, especially in military affairs, he personally went to Western Europe. Many masters were invited to Russia. Young boyars went abroad to study.

But the investment issue was resolved exclusively in the Russian format. The ruler of all Russia did not borrow economic principles, investment mechanisms from the West. Everything had to be turned in an emergency mode, and this required a strict concentration of resources. Hence the impact on the boyars with shaving beards, and the unprecedented pressure on the Orthodox Church, and the increased burden on the peasantry with the corral of a large number of people in the swamps of the Gulf of Finland.

Ineffectively, many people died? Nonsense! The result is: the “window to Europe” has been cut through, victories have been won, St. Petersburg has been built. But the rush, the extreme cannot be eternal. After the death of Peter I, the spring straightened, the country fell into a nap. This can be judged even by the pace of construction of warships - they immediately fell sharply.

Then there was the "golden" era of Catherine the Great. The expansion of the territory of the state, access to the Black Sea, the construction of Sevastopol, Russia significantly supplanted the Ottoman Empire. But time passed, and after the great victories over Napoleon, a grave hangover from the Crimean War broke out. The technological gap between the countries of Western Europe and the Russian Empire became clear.

It was necessary to reform, industrialize, finally, change the economic foundations. The Crimean War, no doubt, spurred land reform and the liberation of the peasants from serfdom. But another half-century passed - and again a terrible shock, this time on the eastern flank, in the Russo-Japanese War. The rising Pacific "star" showed everyone who she intends to become.

The economic heyday of the country at the beginning of the 20th century ended with the First World War. But Russia was predicted a very bright future. In a short time, a huge number of factories and plants, railways, bridges, ships and ships were built. Cities grew, the country became the largest exporter of grain. But all this was crossed out.


A new wave of industrialization swept the renewed country already in the 20 — 30 years of the 20th century. But this was already a different era, other methods of creating and developing industry. The Russian peasantry ceased to be a hegemon, having fallen into an unconditionally subordinate state. But without this industrialization, the country would not have survived the bloody Great Patriotic War.

Not so bad, but not good either


The country still lives in the post-Soviet trend. The USSR has long been gone, but its former greatness constantly reminds us: instead of realizing the realities and moving forward, we are heading into the future with a constant half turn back. Yes, the collapse of the Soviet Union - it was a disaster, not only in human terms, but also economically.

As Russian President Vladimir Putin noted in one of his articles,
“In the process of market, largely spontaneous transformation, the most liquid industries related to the export of raw materials and semi-finished products survived. In fact, the country has experienced large-scale deindustrialization, loss of quality and total simplification of the production structure. Hence the extremely high dependence on imports of consumer goods, technologies and complex products; from price fluctuations for major exported goods, that is, from factors that Russia, by and large, does not control. ”



The article was written at the beginning of 2012, but can we say that since then the situation in the country has fundamentally changed? You can, of course, blame crises and sanctions, but, unfortunately, no. Economic sanctions for Crimea followed two years later, but Russia preferred to maneuver between them rather than in a tough format to move on to an overdue task, which can be called "Reindustrialization 4.0."

Of course, one cannot say that there is no industrial policy in the country at all. It is, but the results are noticeable only in individual "forced" segments. This is primarily about import substitution in the agricultural sector and the military-industrial complex. The introduction by the government of the Russian Federation of counter-sanctions in response to Western sanctions has indeed led to a revival of domestic agribusiness. Success is noticeable in poultry, pork and grain production. In the first two categories, the country is close to autonomy, that is, imports are minimal. In terms of grain exports, Russia has even become a leader in the world. The greenhouse segment came to life. The vast majority of cucumbers and tomatoes are now of domestic production.


But if you look from a wide angle, then there is not so much joy for our agro-industrial complex. Quite quickly, the growth rates in the industry began to fall and now fluctuate around 1%, that is, in the area of ​​statistical error. The agricultural sector began to develop quite actively only in a number of regions, which in general do not determine the general "temperature".

Another “forced” segment is the military-industrial complex. The defense of the country is a topical issue. The army receives new weapons, ships, submarines are being built, and the Strategic Missile Forces are being modernized. But the main trend of recent years in the defense sector is the almost forced backlog of gaps caused by the total breakdown of military cooperation with Ukraine.

From time to time we hear that the production of such an analogue of the Ukrainian engine is now established in Russia, and there the replacement production of the Ukrainian aircraft began, etc. But what's next? The military-industrial complex takes its place in the country's industry, but there is no reason to talk about some breakthrough and influence on the entire industrial policy of the country.

In general, the development of industry in the country is perceived with alarm. On the one hand, the authorities advocate the development of special economic zones (SEZs), territories of priority social and economic development (TOSED), and a number of benefits and preferences have been determined for their residents. But on the other hand, the overall investment climate has been in a “frozen" stage for years. Thus, investment in fixed assets in the Russian Federation from 2012 to 2017 did not grow, and in 2015 even fell by 10%.

Take the current situation. According to Interfax, investments in OK in the first half of the 2019 year increased by only 0,6%. At the same time, the Ministry of Economic Development estimated the dynamics in the second quarter as a whole at about zero. At the end of the year, economists forecast investment growth at 1,6%, in 2020 year - at 3,2%. The Ministry of Economic Development clearly does not like such parameters. This year, he expects investment growth of 3,1%, and in 2020, as much as 7%.

State, where are you?


But such indicators can not wait even in the more distant future. The problem is that after the 2014 crisis of the year, caused by both falling oil prices and the imposition of Western sanctions, the government threw all its efforts into restoring macroeconomic stability, budget equilibrium and lowering inflation.


All this resulted in a severe cost cuts, especially in the investment sector. The result of fiscal consolidation was a decrease in federal budget spending by about 2,5 — 3% of GDP. Investment costs and financing of long-term development projects were seriously reduced. The share of federal targeted investment programs (FAIP) in the structure of federal budget expenditures decreased from 7% in 2012 to 2,8% in 2017. The share of budget investments in the expenditures of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation fell over the same period from 16,1 to 12,3%.

Moreover, by the beginning of 2018, the consequences of the crisis were largely overcome. And it seemed that the time had come to move on to a large-scale investment offensive by the state. This would serve as a trigger for other market participants. As the head of the Ministry of Finance, Anton Siluanov, recently noted, enterprises have now accumulated about 30 trillion in their accounts. rubles. But they do not work in the economy - the business is not sure that investments will return handsomely.

Huge amounts of money remain “frozen”, as the state policy in the public sector has not changed at all. According to the deputy director of the Institute for Economic Forecasting of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Alexander Shirov, no significant changes in the budget strategy have been seen so far; in Russia, budget planning tactics deliberately exclude the budget from the operational management of the economy.

As a result, the authorities formed a huge "pillow" of financial security, which does not bear fruit. The federal budget has an impressive surplus of 3,8% of GDP (3 trillion rubles). The volume of the NWF exceeded the statutory value of 7% of GDP. And the foreign exchange reserves reached an impressive 600 billion dollars.

But it is hardly worth expecting that at least part of this wealth will pour in the golden rain on the investment field of our country. The entire economic block of the federal government is in the Procrustean bed of neoliberal principles, for which economic growth is secondary. It should arise as a result of a properly tuned market and service institutions.

But what kind of adjustment can we talk about when budget consolidation resulted in a significant increase in taxation? And this is not so much an increase in the VAT rate as a toughening of the administration of tax collection. Tax authorities were able to implement mechanisms that led to an intensive increase in tax revenues from businesses, which in the aggregate is close to stagnation rather than development.

And various initiatives like the abolition of the single tax on imputed income (UTII) add fuel to the fire. Say, he has already worked out his own, other analogues have replaced: the main, simplified patent. The Ministry of Finance demands to remove UTII, indicating significant budget losses and the successful rejection of this tax, for example, in Moscow.

However, the capital is not an example for the province. In addition, in 2018, UTII were used by 262 thousand organizations and 1,8 million individual entrepreneurs. This is a large layer that can be in a stressful situation. It is no coincidence that the business ombudsman Boris Titov urges us to extend the UTII to 2024 years.

It is clear that in such relations between the state and business, the latter will never begin to be the first to take active steps in the investment field. And therefore, the urgent project of reindustrialization of the country may remain lying on dusty shelves.


Another important factor contributing to this is the complacency of the state’s elite. She sits densely on natural rent, partially exporting resources abroad, partially investing in various speculative projects in two capitals. Professor of Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov Natalia Zubarevich clearly showed what the real situation is now in the country.

So, the regions that are leaders in contributing to the country's budget are as follows: Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug (26%), Moscow (12%), Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug - 10%, Saint Petersburg - 7%, Tatarstan - 6%. Now for the investment. In the first half of 2018, a little less than 15% of all investments in Russia went to the Tyumen region (that is, to the same Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug). Moscow received 12,5%, Moscow Oblast - 4,5%. In other words, almost a third of all investment resources went to the development of the main oil and gas region and the metropolitan area.

All these figures lead to disappointing conclusions: re-industrialization in the country will be constantly postponed until later. The federal government will by all means hide the airbag from the country's investment needs. The elite is not at all interested in harnessing a cart called the "industrial reanimation of the country", and private business will operate only in the immediate investment field.

The probability is too high that reindustrialization will turn into separate "fragments" like the same import substitution in the agro-industrial complex or closing separate gaps in the military-industrial complex. And time goes and goes, other countries, sorry for repeating, do not stand still.
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