In the ranking of countries in terms of corruption in 2012, prepared by Transparency International, Russia ranks 133 out of 174 possible. The foundations of the current corruption system were laid in the beginning of the 90-s by the “liberals of the Gaidar appeal”, and it is inseparable from the neoliberal economic course that the government follows to this day. However, in the conditions of the global financial and economic crisis, the neoliberal corruption model of the Russian oil spill does not allow maintaining even the minimum rates of economic growth necessary for maintaining social stability. And this economic model will be torn down by fighting corruption. This opinion is shared by the president of the consulting company "Neocon" Mikhail Khazin, an interview with which publishes the "First anti-corruption media." It is worth listening to the words of a well-known economist, if only because he was one of the first Russian theorists to quite accurately describe the course of the world crisis even before it began in the current, “open” phase.
- Now an anti-corruption campaign has been launched in the country. Moreover, it is regulated by the National Anti-Corruption Plan, the latest version of which was adopted last March. The plan was signed by President Dmitry Medvedev. So the anti-corruption policy is proclaimed, in fact, the national course. President Putin also strenuously tackled corruption. How do you feel about the anti-corruption policy of the leadership of the Russian Federation?
- Let's face it. Politics is the art of the possible, the art of compromise. As long as there is no categorical need, there are no sharp movements — and a major anti-corruption campaign is always sharp movements — no one will do it. That is, in other words, if an anti-corruption campaign has started in the country, this means that you can’t do without it, something is very bad.
It should be noted that Russian economists of the illiberal orientation have long given a clear and precise explanation of the causes of the problems. The fact is that the Russian economy is arranged in such a way that in order to avoid social and political upheavals, it is necessary that economic growth rates be not lower than 5-6% per year. This is not a unique situation, in China, for example, this figure should be 8-9%, which, of course, is extremely high in modern times.
But for today's Russia 5-6% in the framework of the liberal policy pursued by the current government, this value is unattainable. Liberals say that economic growth is 3% and this is a potential maximum, in reality, today, at best, zero, and maybe a negative value. It is difficult to say for sure, because GDP, like any other accounting indicator, can be slightly varied, within the limits of somewhere 3%.
And what to do in such a situation when growth is insufficient, which means that “sweet gingerbread is again not enough for everyone”? It is necessary to somehow deal with the choice of who should be given a piece of cake, and who should not be given. An anti-corruption campaign is some kind of choice. The campaign is launched against those officials (more precisely, posts) whom the elite considers impossible to “feed” further.
Note that the economic system of the country, which was built in the 90-s with the help of American advisers through privatization (the most famous of these advisers, Jeffrey Sachs and Anders Osland), was thoroughly corrupt. It is clear that no one can stick a finger at anyone - there will be grounds for corruption cases. The fact that now the anti-corruption campaign is going a little "live" than before - a consequence of the economic crisis.
- On what basis are "choosing" new "victims" of the campaign. After all, according to almost the joint opinion of experts, it is possible to imprison practically any official on corruption charges. Why, for example, last week, it was precisely Nikita Belykh who took the governor of the Kirov region?
- I think that Nikita Belykh is not the same person without whom the current government cannot do without. Moreover, I strongly suspect that there are quite a few such people. Nikita Belykh is a project of the former head of the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation, Alexander Voloshin, who wanted through Dmitry Medvedev who held the presidency to show that Putin no longer controls the appointment of the governor's corps. Thus, Belykh is not a person who is somehow of interest to today's Kremlin. Not to mention the various scandalous stories in which he was implicated: with Alexei Navalny, with Masha Gaidar, etc. Accordingly, he is the optimal target for an anti-corruption campaign.
- You called the name of Navalny, who was an active participant in the protests on Bolotnaya Square. How much does this all have to do with the swamp protest?
- It’s no secret that the so-called “swamp process” was organized by the liberal part of the Russian political elite, that is, in essence, by the part of the group that built the corruption regime in 90-s, although today the corruption regime is associated in the West with the security forces grouping. I remind you that before 1998-99, the security forces had no opportunity to influence political decisions in the country. In fact, they began to again attract Valentin Yumashev to government. It was a period when corruption schemes were already in full force. The security forces have integrated into this scheme. It would be strange if they did not integrate, because those who were not built in would be driven out of power with an iron hand. I know this very well, because, being in the civil service, I tried to stop frankly corrupt schemes, which, in general, was the reason that the entire economic administration of the President of the Russian Federation, in whose leadership I worked, was virtually eliminated. Recall that the former head of the Presidential Administration Nikolai Bordyuzha was expelled in the same way, and there are many more.
The “liberals” built up the corruption regime in the 90s, and the security forces only built into this scheme
Since 2000's, two groups have clearly formed in the country. They are “liberals”, a large grouping that includes liberals of the Gaidar draft, such as Anatoly Chubais, Vladimir Mau, Alexey Ulyukayev, Sergey Ignatiev, etc., as well as liberals of the later draft, including the current political leader of the liberals, Alexander Voloshin and ideological - Alexei Kudrin. It also includes numerous oligarchs who became beneficiaries of privatization. This is one group, it has common political goals, although inside there may be people who cannot stand each other. And there is a group of "siloviks", which is also politically united, although inside there may be people who hate each other.
- These groups coexist for a long time, and if they fight among themselves, it’s rather a positional one ...
- Until some time it was. And then Putin announced that he would run for a third term. For the first two terms, he went with a mandate from the elite, as a hired manager, as a general director, who was hired by the board of directors to solve a number of specific tasks, primarily two main ones. The first is to ensure, as far as possible, conflict-free resolution of intra-elite disputes, that is, to act as an arbitrator. One of the reasons why Putin was chosen for this role at that time was his experience of arbitration in St. Petersburg, the criminal capital of Russia of the 90s.
The second task that he had to solve was: not to allow intra-elite conflicts to fall to the level of society. Stories with compromising suitcases were deemed wrong. This jeopardized the entire corruption system as a whole. It was said: corruption - “this is our all,” but the people should not know about it. And Putin’s task was to implement these tasks.
For this, a resource was needed to give compensation to those who lost. Roughly speaking, people said: “Guys, if you lose, then you are given a piece and you will not be beggars, so you don’t need to go all-in.” But if you resist, then there will be real trouble. " At the beginning of 2000, those who wanted to stay above everyone and did not agree to accept what is called the “hostel rules”, these are the three - Berezovsky, Gusinsky and Khodorkovsky, were exterminated, with full elite consensus. This is not Putin destroyed them. This is an all-elite solution: we do not need people who behave this way.
The “extermination” of Berezovsky, Gusinsky and Khodorkovsky is the result of a consensus of the elite. This is not Putin destroyed them
Then Putin decided to leave the post of president. He held a casting among the elite, the board of directors, who called him. Casting ended in victory for the liberal representative Medvedev. Medvedev was weak, and Putin decided to return. But he decided not to return with a mandate from the elites, but with a mandate from the people, because a hired general director cannot dismiss members of the board of directors, that is, shareholders. For this reason, he needed the mandate of the people to clean the elite. Cleansing the elite is an inevitable thing in the current crisis, and from this point of view, Putin’s logic is clear - you need to become a “cleaner” yourself so that you don’t clean out yourself.
- And nevertheless, is there any economic need for cleaning, besides the logic of the struggle of groupings?
- Somewhere from the last third of Medvedev's term, the economy does not allow “feeding” all this elite. It's impossible. It became clear that in the case of a direct political clash, either one or the other group would lose. For a long time Putin played the role of arbiter between these groups, but when it comes to “either one or the other,” he would prefer rather the siloviki. This became finally clear after the “liberals”, in many respects, lost their external cover, after the change of the Obama administration.
As a result, as a result of the “swamp process”, Putin came under very tough pressure. What is a “swamp process”? This is a performance of a middle class, who felt that the economic crisis worsens his situation, and he may lose the opportunities that he received as a result of 2000's economic growth. But since the middle class in Russia is not politically represented, he was forced to speak under the slogans of the liberals. But the goal of the liberals was not at all the improvement of the living standards of the middle class (they don’t give a damn about it), but the political struggle with the siloviki, the control of Putin so that he could not “reduce” the liberals.
Liberals did not like the option of getting Putin a mandate from the people. They understood that they would be objects of this cleansing. Therefore, they decided to take advantage of the energy of the middle class political protest, the “swamp process” in order to make Putin illegitimate, to call into question his mandate from the people. However, the people recognized Putin’s election victory. Putin received his mandate for cleansing elites. So, in this situation, you can donate is not the most interesting people who can be neglected. It is clear that the liberals will not stop at what has been accomplished - they will continue to resist.
- What will it be expressed in?
- We see the continuation of resistance on the example of the recent Davos meeting, at which three scenarios for the development of Russia were presented. All three scenarios are the liberals turning to the world elite with an explanation of how Putin can be overthrown. Either you lower world oil prices, and the regime collapses, or you start financing regional elites as opposed to Moscow, or you start somehow financing the middle class as opposed to the Kremlin. That's all the options.
I note that the “marsh process” collapsed in a natural way for a banal reason, because the people as a whole are extremely negative about liberals. It is no secret that in Russian society the word “liberal” is synonymous with the word “thief”. In this sense, no social movement headed by liberals has any chance of any successful development. This is their own fault, because everyone sees the results of their activities. This is a reform of education, health care, etc., everything failed.
In Russian society, the word "liberal" has become synonymous with the word "thief"
- Many experts speak about the failure of liberal reforms, but despite the political opposition to these reforms, they continue ...
- So far, yes, but it should be noted that the liberals still control both the government and the Central Bank. Now there is a desperate fight for the post of chairman of the Central Bank. Ignatiev leaves in the summer, and, accordingly, everyone understands that if a manager is appointed to the post of Central Bank chairman who offers an illiberal alternative to economic reforms, then the entire liberal group will “fly out” very quickly. The security forces are also interested in this, and if so to speak, the people, because part of the money that the liberal part of the elite receives through corruption schemes can be directed to the development of the economy.
- You are analyzing the intra-elite alignment in Russia. But after all, this struggle is superimposed on external, global events, the unfolding of the global crisis ... Will this whip up the situation?
- It is very interesting. The fact is that after the case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn the world financial elite split. Previously, the global financial elite supported liberals in Russia. Actually, they are their offspring. I recall that privatization deals were directly overseen by the Clinton administration. But the whole problem is that after the Strauss-Kahn case, when it became clear that the global financial elite would no longer be allowed to steer uncontrollably in the world, problems began. And after the elections in the USA - this is an important circumstance - there are practically no people left in the Obama administration with whom the Russian liberals would work. In other words, they hung in the air.
One of their main trump cards, that they could ensure the coordination of their policies with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with the administration of the President of the United States - he disappeared. Roughly speaking, they have no one to call. In this situation, their positions are very weak. Not only can they not provide economic growth in Russia. Putin’s demand for the government is 5-6% growth per year, and liberals speak aggressively and are supported by the IMF, liberal corporations, for example, Bloomberg, no, 3% are not higher, although in reality there is no. And then Putin needs 5-6%. I already said why. Because this is the minimum that provides more or less normal social stability. And in this situation, Putin ordered the Academy of Sciences to prepare an alternative economic development plan. I do not know what the Academy of Sciences will write, the term is set for March. But I understand very well what the mechanism of this growth is import substitution. Very conditional. Russia buys imports of goods on 300-400 billion dollars. If 200 of them is replaced by domestic production, and this can be done even with the membership of the Russian Federation in the WTO. I draw your attention to the fact that joining the WTO is a sabotage of the liberals, so that it is impossible to arrange economic growth at the expense of import substitution. So, if 200 billion additionally stays in Russia every year, this is enough to ensure an investment process of the order of 2 trillion dollars. And 2 trillion dollars is about 70% of Russia's GDP. That is, it will be possible to ensure the growth of 6-8% by about 10 years. And this will be quite enough for the economy to function more or less normally. It will be possible to talk about development, inertial processes, about entering the world division of labor with Russian goods. But at the same time, those foreign producers who patronize the liberals will suffer significant damage. This situation, of course, is very dangerous from a political point of view: the liberals have no other way out, they must fight to the end. And in this sense, we can say that the anti-corruption campaign is just a manifestation of a political battle.
Mikhail Khazin: Putin received the mandate of the people to clean the elite
- Mikhail Chernov