Opponents constantly reproach me that I talk a lot about the state and prospects of the world economy, but I completely ignore what is happening directly in our country. Saying, therefore, I am silent, saying that something good will not work, and burying the dollar and the global financial system is much more pleasant than digging into a native, foul-smelling heap of manure.
I thought about it and decided to correct this “flaw”. But I’m afraid I’ll disappoint at the same time the note-taking liberal alarmists and the stubborn hurray-patriots. Nothing to shout “fsёpropala” in Russia does not happen. Neither is there anything that could be immediately lifted to the flag and waving it in all directions, happily yelling about the victory over the "World Serpent." First of all, because a substantial part of our economy has been created by this very “Serpent”, and therefore it is ill with it. And you should not panic because when the smoke and dust from the collapsing building of the world economy settles, and the reality manifests itself in all its glory, it will immediately become clear that those who are able to live independently will be in a better position, as well as can offer the neighbors something vital they need. And Russia will inevitably be among those lucky ones. True, we will evaluate it from new positions. From today everything will be much darker than it seems even to today's "fsopropalschik."
To begin with, I allow myself a little light banter to, so to speak, tune the reader to one wave with the author.
Right now, everyone around is shouting about the ruble's untimely death, daily shaking the air by the announcement of the new anti-record of its course against the immortal dollar. The main question here is not even that such perverted masochism is heard in these screams. Like “let it be worse for me myself, but I was right, the ruble is falling, falling, falling !!!”. Well, on this basis, further, an uncontrollable fantasy rages on how soon Russian power will fall, having been unable to provide “respected” citizens with a regular portion of jamon and parmesan. But let's take a look at the situation from the point of view of a simple man in the street. Yes, some of it, the one that used to spend holidays in Turkey, Egypt and Thailand, the current rate of evergreen is not happy. Expensive, even too much, it became to maintain the usual lifestyle. However, the issue with Turkey and Egypt temporarily disappeared by itself and not because of the rabid dollar. But much more than this man in the street really cares about another question, namely, what happens to prices in stores. But there is nothing concrete about this except “prices are going up at a frantic pace” and they are not heard. And all because prices, in fact, are rising, but not so often and not as clearly as a dollar, and because to take them into account it is necessary to put a lot of effort. In the shops to walk, prices to track, a long time to watch. And this is work. And for the cries about the death of the ruble, nothing like that is necessary. It is convenient to sit on the couch and open the Internet.
At the same time, prices are rising, but at a completely different pace to cause horror in the reader. And even this is not so obvious. Prices are very different. It always amazed me why the same product of the same manufacturer in different stores should differ by 50 or more percent. And if earlier, when in absolute terms it was insignificant, I bought there, where it was not too lazy to call in, now I have chosen the places where the seller’s appetite looks the most moderate. As a result, not so much to spend and become more. I will come back to this topic, but for now.
Since the loudest screaming about the suicide of the Russian economy are those who have pinched the causal place the most, it would be a good idea to take a closer look, and who is actually such. Take a look at history. Over the past 25 years, Russia, speaking in normal language, has not gotten out of the crisis. In 90, this crisis first touched the workers of tens of thousands of industrial enterprises, which the new owners of life easily threw out of work, selling equipment and sometimes even the city-forming factories and enterprises were closed. Or they did not have a crisis? Was, and much worse than this. It’s just that the situation was not assessed by these unfortunate “scoop-losers”, but by the newly-minted speculative merchants and rekiter fraths, for whom the golden time has come. And they didn’t care about miners hammering off the asphalt at the “White House”; they chopped up the loot, admiring the prospects that had opened up.
Almost simultaneously with the workers, the crisis also affected the workers of the entire state administration system. Those who are more smart, still managed to sell to the newly-minted bankers and merchants, solving their problems with the state for a small share. And the rest had to suckle for a long time, or retrain with the dismissed hard workers in “shuttle traders”.
The “blessed” zero arrived, and the massive problems temporarily retreated. Of the brothers, who are smarter and managed to survive, “respectable businessmen and politicians” grew up, the people basically restructured and found a place in the small trading business. The state administration bodies were gradually restored, and the change of priorities from “official under businessman” to “business under official” allowed the employees of these bodies to feel almost like a new elite. There was a huge number of people with money. And along with them appeared the demand for previously exotic services and professions. And hundreds of thousands of enterprising young people, who were not lucky enough to grow up to the era of the “great hapka” and become owners of big business, rushed to conquer profitable and comfortable niches of middle and senior managers. And the country, because of the galloping prices for oil and gas, was bathed in money, paid out earlier accumulated and plundered loans of foreign “investors” at a fast rate and actively bought assets all over the world, regardless of need. Just because I could afford it. There was so much money that they reached practically everyone in various ways. About the pensioners and the disabled somehow, but the state took care.
The rapid growth of wages in business created gigantic demand for various goods and services, forcing small and medium-sized businesses, which satisfied this demand, to grow at the same pace. The lagging behind in the growth rates of salaries officials actively compensated for this lag by bribes and extortion. There was almost no unemployment, in a money-laden new parasitic economy, which didn't produce a damn, but actively consumed, anyone with hands and head could find a place. And everyone decided together that golden times had come. But this period was already the first bell of future troubles.
It must be said that, unlike citizens who are stunned from the “manna of heaven”, the state was already thinking about something at that moment. And behaved, oddly enough, much smarter. At least, financial security was ensured precisely at zero by relieving foreign credit burden, creating a safety cushion in the form of reserves, and stimulating the development of certain strategic sectors. It was in the midst and with the direct support of the state that Russia multiply increased food security, in terms of goods, it turned from an importer into a major exporter of food. The Russian metallurgy and the associated production of higher processing areas were upgraded to a super-modern level. Actively developed the construction industry. That is, while the population was in the euphoria of the “golden rain”, the state imperceptibly enough, but showed a fairly adequate vision of the prospects. But in general, this period was also a crisis. Mentality crisis, if you want. The problem is that a person, regardless of his status and occupation, is structured in such a way that as long as everything goes well, he will not scratch himself. And if it scratches when it detects any problems, it will try to solve them with minimal costs and the easiest way. And the easy way is the one that leads to solving problems and maximizing profit with the least effort. Why invest in production if trade with its fast turnover yields multiple large returns? And financial speculation, and generally allow you to have this profit without getting up from the couch. Why build a company that in far from the best objective conditions will always have competitive disadvantages, if any goods can be brought from abroad? And the extra money is much easier to invest in the construction of shopping centers and in the future only to cut coupons from tenants.
We went this easy way. The whole country and friendly united ranks.
A cold shower swept over the country in 2008, when a massive and consolidated attack on the financial markets tried to rob the country to the ground. Moreover, to rob not ordinary slave traders, but the state and large owners close to it. That is to rob the newly-minted Russian elite. And for the first time the elite felt for themselves a real threat and managed to “cheer up” and survive. She managed to repel the attack, albeit at the cost of substantial expenses, including from the state. At the same time, for the first time since the “catastroika”, this state has managed to significantly increase its share in the country's main financial and economic assets. That is, in fact, to carry out partial nationalization using purely capitalist methods. This again was a crisis, first of all a crisis of the world outlook of the Russian elite. She felt for the first time in her own skin that for the elite of the world is not an equal partner, but food.
This conclusion led to a rather serious split within the elite of our country.
One part, liberal and most of all frightened, is the strengthening of the role of the state and what is possible after this, if not the restoration of a certain version of socialism, then the strengthening of autocratic tendencies in governing the country, came out under the slogan "Katz offers to surrender." In the hope that the world elite will accept them, if not as a full-fledged partner, but at least in the role of Judas, and the 30 silver coins seem to be full-bodied enough to "adequately meet old age."
The second, which did not suit the role of feed for foreign “bumps”, decided to resist and prove to the world elite the full depth of their errors. And she began to actively use for this purpose the rest of the power of the Russian state. Well, and at the same time and gradually remove from the trough of all those who declared defeatist sentiment. So “the best finance minister of all times and peoples” flew out of the cage.
External economic recovery after the failure of 2008-2009 was so fast that it played a very negative role with the majority. All those who did not go bankrupt became confident that any difficulties were temporary and most importantly to endure and endure them. And in fact, in the business itself, nothing fundamentally needs to be changed. But, alas, this was not the only unlearned lesson. The population, which suffered its share of the losses from the crisis, made similar conclusions. And having lost in income, it was absolutely not going to lose in consumption rates. And the banks reached out for consumer loans. In recent years I happened to see a number of small Russian cities with an average salary in 10 thousand rubles and streets full of foreign cars, recruited on credit. Apartments with "Ukroevroremont", obtained in a bonded mortgage, the chance to pay for which there is in principle, regardless of the crisis. This behavior of the inhabitant temporarily revived the domestic trading market and added to its players a good share of self-righteousness about the temporary nature of any difficulties. Is it necessary to blame the banks for what happened? Not sure. They are busy with their business, and to get into a bondage is a voluntary matter. Do I have to blame the trade? Not sure either. If today the profit goes into the hands, is it worth refusing it? And it turns out, no one is particularly to blame, and the result, and even more so the prospects, are such that it is scary to even think about them.
Thank God, the state again behaved much more adequate than its own citizens.
Awareness of external threats forced to reanimate the army and the military industrial complex. This is someone who, and this sector has not felt a worsening of the conjuncture in recent years. Enterprises plow as much as three shifts. And not only to the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation, but also for export are selling well. It means that not only they suck from the state, but they also bring a lot to the state.
In parallel with the military industrial complex, a number of major infrastructure projects such as the APEC Summit in Vladivostok, the Universiade in Kazan, the Sochi Olympics, and the construction of the Vostochny cosmodrome were launched. “Progressive public” traditionally yells about the immense theft and corruption in the implementation of these projects. And probably partly right. If the whole society is built on “commercial” relations, if the favorite sport of the population is “a run from taxes” and the tax authorities are “hunting for a bribe”, then we should not expect this to be in principle ridiculous. Another thing is that the scale of this phenomenon is clearly exaggerated. And at the same time, the essence of these projects is completely different. To learn by stressing the entire state system and dozens of different privately owned industries to solve global investment and infrastructure problems. Work on implemented management technology projects. I am convinced that all these projects are not a goal, but a school. And the lessons learned in it, oh, how it will be useful in the not very distant future.
In recent years, we have a crisis again. Now the crisis of relations with the West, and at the same time its derivatives. The financial crisis due to the cutting off of our banks from low-interest foreign loans and the gaps in real assets that have emerged from this, the currency crisis due to the need to repay large loans previously collected in a short period of time without the possibility of refinancing. The crisis in the trade related to imports. And even here it’s not so much a matter of sanctions, although in them as well, as in the perfectly justified unpreparedness of business to import foreign exchange goods at current rates due to the multiple sagging demand. And the crisis in a huge number of citizens. Have taken on the chest loans more than they can carry. Those who have lost their job without a chance to find it, because the number of comfortable places in the offices with the task of sorting through papers and drawing beautiful tables and graphs is steadily falling, and more these people do not know how to do anything. In small traders, since an organized business has actively benefited their niche, and the state, which is experiencing a shortage of income, has remembered their existence. There is no crisis only for those whom he touched first - for industrial workers, gradually, albeit at low rates, enterprises being restored.
And in the state, despite the fact that only a lazy person does not predict his quick death and collapse, there is no crisis. See for yourself. The high dollar rate makes it possible to balance the budget in an acceptable framework in the face of a fall in the price of energy. Reducing the need for imports and the almost elimination of mass tourism dramatically reduce the country's need for currency. A certain budget cuts only increase the efficiency of the rest. At the same time, the state is increasingly taking control over one branch of the economy. It is just necessary to understand that everything that exists in the country, including the population, is perceived by the government solely as a resource for fighting on the external front with global competitors. And, wincing, it is necessary to recognize that this is quite an adequate perception of reality.
In the next part of this post we will talk about the nearest and not very promising, but for now a brief summary about the recent history.
1. Since perestroika, Russia has not gotten out of the crisis and is not going to get out yet. The crisis changes forms and manifestations, but remains our constant companion. At different times, different categories of the population and elites suffer from it.
2. There is nothing unusual in what is happening. There is a normal transformation of quite a living organism, which was given several different vaccinations in a row. The body is shaking, it is trying to adapt to the introduced poisons and viruses and develop an antidote and antibodies. And the state in the person of the power shows in comparison with the population in this respect an order of magnitude greater adequacy and correct understanding of the prospects.
3. With all the seeming problems and gloomy prospects, everything that happens is benefiting the country. There is no reason for panic and decadent moods, although the coming changes will affect everyone, most forcing to radically change their usual way of life.
The main thing is that each of us must understand that this time it will not be possible to sit out and endure. There will be no return to what was in 90's or zero. What would be the price of oil in the near or distant future. There will be neither previous relations with the West, nor the West itself in its usual form. There will be endless streams of all sorts of imports, acquired in exchange for oil and gas and allowing, in principle, not to think about the domestic production of anything. There will be no free and long low-interest loans from abroad. Neither from the West nor from the East. There will be no easy, safe and trouble-free trips around the world. And there will not be much of that which has become customary over the past couple of decades. But this does not mean that life ends. But what it will be, let's talk further.