Finance is considered a matter of inaccessible to mere mortals. “Professionals” who own the secrets of money circulation and banking regulation have long been formed into some kind of closed caste, the controlling ministry of finance and the Central Bank, which are so tightly welded and organized that even other structures of the government have to give in to them.
The stubborn reluctance of financiers to allocate money to the social sphere led to the fact that the relevant presidential decrees were simply failed. Openly declare that these decisions will not be implemented, no one, of course, did not want to, but an approach was chosen, in essence, much more dangerous. Responsibility for the implementation of decrees shifted to the regions, and the regional administrations were not given money. As a result, by the end of this year, 60 percent of the subjects of the federation were on the verge of bankruptcy.
Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization, which was aggressively lobbied by the same financial circles, turned into a massive closure of enterprises, wage delays and disruption of local budgets. But the “team of professionals”, formed by the previous Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, looks at what is happening with the Olympic tranquility.
Kudrin himself, having left his post and not bearing responsibility for the consequences of his policy, continues to haughty existing administrators, sharply condemning any attempts at least to do something to improve the situation of the real sector.
A typical example is the situation with the problem of offshore. In this case, the Russian ruling circles are following the general discussion that began among the G-20 governments. The policy of financial deregulation that has been pursued in developed countries over the past two decades has led not only to massive capital outflows, but also made investments in the real sector much more expensive than before. After all, on the one hand, it is necessary to ensure the profit of all kinds of intermediaries ensuring the functioning of an offshore economy, and on the other hand, the state from which funds are withdrawn loses taxes. At the same time, no one relieves him of obligations, including to the business that takes money offshore - building roads, infrastructure facilities, ensuring security, and so on and so forth.
The specificity of the Russian economy is that a significant part of private sector investment comes from the same offshore. In other words, the money goes abroad first, then comes back here, since there is no other application for them. Paradoxically, this gives the Russian authorities potentially serious control over the movement of capital: once the offshore bourgeoisie is interested in our market, it can be forced to adhere to more stringent rules.
However, so far no serious measures have been taken. This time, we are finally offered a program of action. In a message to the Federal Assembly, Vladimir Putin said that the income of companies registered in offshore and owned by the Russian owner should be taxed according to the Russian tax rules, and tax payments should be paid to the Russian budget. Companies registered in foreign jurisdiction will not be able to use state support measures, including loans from Vnesheconombank and state guarantees. In addition, for providing deliberately inaccurate, incomplete information about the situation of banks, insurance companies, pension funds and other financial organizations will be criminalized. These requirements apply not only to private business, but also to managers of state-controlled companies and development institutions.
These measures immediately provoked a protest by liberal economists.
Kudrin made a brief and categorical verdict: “Unfortunately, the proposed measures for deoffshorization in our conditions are unlikely to reduce the withdrawal of capital. They are correct for state-owned companies. ”
In other words, state-owned companies should be banned from tax evasion, leaving this right exclusively for the private sector. A wonderful example of "class consciousness"! Let them be in conflict with logic - why are the same measures permissible for state-owned companies and unacceptable for the private sector? After all, in accordance with the market logic imposed by the same Kudrin and his associates, who still control the Ministry of Finance, all companies, regardless of the form of ownership, live with us according to the general rules. According to the rules of the neoliberal system.
Speaking about the measures proposed by the president, Kudrin said that this "a tactical reaction to problems, we need a strategic plan for its withdrawal from stagnation." It is difficult to argue with the latter. I would just like to know what plan Mr. Kudrin offers us? Didn’t the policy that fostered the mass withdrawal of capital to offshore develop and flourish with him? And did not decisions were made with him that contributed to the exacerbation of the economic crisis in Russia? We had a recession in 2008, when Kudrin was still at the helm of financial policy and was one of the sharpest in the world. By and large, the whole strategy of Kudrin and the liberal experts boils down to two points: 1) do nothing and wait for the market to fix everything; 2) strengthen market factors, minimize government regulation, privatize everything that remains state, in the expectation that the market will fix everything. (See item 1).
The fact that it is this policy that predetermined the urgency and unprecedented delay of the current crisis, both in the whole world and in Russia, does not affect the thinking of our liberals.
From this, of course, it does not follow that the recommendations of the president are the ultimate truth. A number of questions remain concerning the practical methodology for the implementation of this program.
In order to radically change the situation, it would be possible to propose more aggressive measures, up to a total ban on the return to the country of funds transferred to offshore companies - which would sharply reduce the outflow of capital.
But the discontent of Kudrin and other representatives of the financial bloc was not at all caused by insufficient radicalism or insufficient effectiveness of such measures. If that were the case, they would make counter offers. It is, in fact, that these people not only do not seek to “deoffshorize” capital, but on the contrary, defend the interests of the offshore bourgeoisie, ignoring the problems of the state and workers in the real sector.
The only thing that really cares for them is the stability of banks and organizations through which money scrolls. But here, preference is given to several major financial corporations. In an effort to protect them from the possible effects of the crisis, the Central Bank, headed by Elvira Nabiullina, another bright representative of the same “team of professionals,” began clearing out the average banks, first of all regional ones. As a result, a wave of local crises swept the country — from Tula to Kaliningrad, thousands of people were suddenly deprived of access to their savings. Crowds of frightened depositors were gathering at the door of the banks still working, panic arising. Additional expenses fell on the state: it is necessary to fulfill deposit insurance obligations.
The biggest problems were caused by the closure of the Master Bank, through which many companies throughout Russia made their non-cash payments. For several days, their work was practically blocked - with obvious consequences not only for these organizations, but also for the economy as a whole.
In essence, trying to prevent a financial crisis with the help of preventive sweeps in the banking sector, the Central Bank headed by Nabiullina provoked it. And, in any case, brought closer. The reliability of many financial institutions has been called into question; the whole area is in the zone of turbulence. Instead of strengthening mutual trust in the financial sector, these actions of the Central Bank caused the opposite effect. The interbank lending market is paralyzed. At this very moment, at a meeting of the Federation Council, the words of Finance Minister Anton Siluanov are heard that support for Rosselkhozbank may be suspended, and shortly before that another system bank, VEB, was hit. At the very moment when the developers of Olympic facilities threaten to default on their loans.
The minister clearly relies on the recommendations of liberal economists, who see in banks only organizations that exist for profit. If the debtors with whom the bank works are in a difficult situation, and there are problems with the return of loans, it is necessary either to squeeze money at any cost, or to close the bank itself as ineffective. At the same time, the economic and social function of banks supporting the reproduction of not only individual enterprises, but entire industries and regions is completely overlooked, as is the case with RSBB.
The difficulties of the bank are caused by the objectively worsening situation in which our agriculture finds itself. It was touched not only by the global economic crisis, which led, among other things, to a sharp rise in the cost of loans. Russia's accession to the WTO happened on far from the most successful conditions for Russian producers.
In a situation of instability in global markets, protectionist measures are as justified and necessary as quarantine during an epidemic.
However, the WTO rules not only limit the ability to support domestic producers, but also make this support extremely expensive and ineffective where it is still allowed. By minimizing the use of prohibitive and restrictive customs tariffs, the WTO offers the government to compensate enterprises in small amounts with subsidies - in other words, to spend money instead of receiving them. It is not hard to guess that this did not increase the funds in the state budget, there is not enough money for everyone, they simply do not get to many manufacturers. Defending direct subsidies as the only or main form of assistance to agribusiness, the Ministry of Finance forgets that such assistance can be obtained only by large farms. Small and medium-sized businesses face death, and with it the emerging class of farmers will disappear from the social map of Russia.
In such conditions, on the one hand, the clients of the Russian Agricultural Bank face increasing difficulties, and on the other hand, the need of the agricultural sector in a state bank that is able to provide businesses with affordable credit and treat their problems with understanding is rapidly increasing. In fact, RSHB is almost the only instrument left in the hands of the state to maintain and develop the agrarian sector after Russia’s accession to the WTO.
Leaving agricultural producers alone with the market means not only taking the risk of numerous bankruptcies, but also undermining the economy of entire regions where production, employment and social structure depend on agriculture. While economists talk a lot about the threat of a chain reaction of bankruptcies in the financial sphere, for some reason they are not afraid of the danger of exactly the same collapse in the real sector, although much more people depend on it.
Throughout 2000, Russia's agriculture, which had traditionally been a weak link in Soviet times, had achieved some success. It is enough to remember that our country has become an exporter from the grain importer, and the agricultural sector enterprises have learned to do without the annual mobilization of millions of citizens to harvest potatoes or beets. However, the current achievements are now under threat, and with them the food security of Russia.
Of course, liberal economists are not too concerned about such problems. And if for the sake of stabilizing the financial market, in their opinion, they have to sacrifice the agrarian sector, the welfare of some regions of Russia, farmers, or even question the interests of the state as a whole, then so be it. The financial market is perceived by them as a kind of deity, to which they are ready to make more significant sacrifices. But the problem is that even at such a price the goal they set is unlikely to be achieved.
It is unlikely that the refusal of state support of the Agricultural Bank will strengthen the financial market of the country, strengthen mutual trust in it, make credit more accessible or reduce the risk of a crisis. Rather, the opposite. In the end, a blow to such an important market participant will only increase nervousness and provoke a wave of negative expectations: who will be next? All this only exacerbates tensions in the banking market, creating the threat of a new systemic crisis in this area. It turns out exactly what they wanted to avoid.
The “team of professionals”, having memorized mantras from poorly translated American textbooks, categorically does not want to learn from its mistakes, or even from the experience of the United States and the European Union, where exactly the same measures have already led to an aggravation and prolonging of the crisis.
The crisis of the Russian economy is largely objective. But the way in which they are trying to fight him makes one recall a famous saying about a medicine that is worse than a disease.