Kudrin - RBC: "The main problem is the complete lack of trust in politics"

The anti-crisis measures announce by the government will exacerbate the problems in the Russian economy, and the subsequent decline in GDP and stagnation may last for many years, believes chief critic of the government, the head of the Committee of Civil Initiatives Alexey Kudrin.
Origin source
In an interview with RBC, he urged to abandon the inflated promises and take "demonstrative" actions that would back the confidence of business to economic policy of the Cabinet. But he admits that can not do without high-profile resignations in the government and the top management of state companies

The crisis for a long time

- You recently reported disappointing economic outlook for 2015. How, in your opinion, the crisis in Russia will be prolonged?

- It will be quite lengthy, but can last much longer stagnation, when the economic growth rate will be within +/- 1%. This is due to the very bad economic structure that does not meet modern challenges, weak growth and financial incentives system overloaded sorts of obligations and has no safety margin for increasing investment. added penalties to this. Wait outside stimuli would also be strange - in China, for example, is expected some slowdown in growth in the next 3-4 years. If we do not reform the economy and the reduction of sanctions will not get the level, then we are waiting for the negativelye or low growth rates, four, maybe more.

- Officials of the Government recognized that the authorities do not have a strategic plan to overcome the crisis - they are engaged in "putting out fires". Is the current situation of a long-term plan is not possible?

- Not everything depends on the Ministry of Economic Development or the Ministry of Finance, or any other ministry. I have a feeling that at all levels, including at the level of first-person, no objective assessment of challenges that confront Russia. There is a feeling that the 2-3 years will help to hold the Reserve Fund, and then the economy will go up within a certain cycle. There is an assumption that the adopted three years ago, the military program can provide expense, although it is obvious that in the past it was impossible to carry out, especially at a time when oil prices are low. The announced reduction in government spending does not affect defense and social articles. As a result, the structure of public finances worsen: will shrink those areas that are associated with the rise of the economy, the infrastructure, the quality of imagesAnia and training the workforce, the quality of treatment and care. Among the anti-crisis measures may even be decisions that will prolong the stagnation.

- That is, the Reserve Fund will not help us, it turns out?

- Deficit, of course, can be covered by the Reserve Fund, it is also to mitigate the shock of lower oil prices and created. But this does not mean that if we have it, it is necessary to keep all the old plans to the same extent as in the oil price of $ 100. In the long term the oil price will be around $ 75-80. Therefore, we must recognize that the overall level of commitments taken previously overestimated and should be reduced. We must move to a more modern structure of the budget, which would work on growth. It should not momentary plugging holes as, for example, has often been in 2008-2009. Then there was the shock of the global economy, and we had, without thinking twice, to spend money. It was not around much so verified and may be ultra-efficient program, but due to circumstances she worked at the time. Now go and repeat it would be a mistake.

- But the Govermentto want to build on it and start it to support strategic enterprises. External markets are closed, so I have to do it at the expense of issue, right?

- Old commitments unpleasant to refuse. From some - for military and political reasons, the other - on the socio-political. And because now money is not enough, then addresses the issue of monetary policy easing, to grant loans on more favorable terms, which are at variance with the requirements of the market situation with regard to the risks of inflation, pressure on the exchange rate. The scales can (this has not happened yet) tend to be more issue. This is, in general, would unbalance the macroeconomy. While we will solve individual problems of individual businesses and industries, for example, giving preferential long-term loans to defense industry, we support the stagnation of the economy in general. Inflation will be higher, respectively, the loan rate for ordinary enterprises is too high. And in fact they provide the economic growth - last year the total investment in the country was about 13.2 trillion rubles, and.s are only 20% - state.

- Policy of import substitution will help overcome the crisis?

- When we say the word "import substitution," we kind of nice - we will produce the same and of the same quality as everything we buy is now abroad. Medical equipment as in Siemens, drugs - like Novartis, cheeses, both of Switzerland. But we must be aware that this import substitution due to devaluation. First, it is the rise in prices on the domestic market to Western counterparts. Due to this, Russian companies will be able to raise the prices of their products are still uncompetitive, to mobilize additional revenue to invest in its new production and in five years or ten to get close to the western kinds of products, most of which are not exactly the best import. That is, everyone should understand that I - every citizen of Russia - by high prices and declining living standards will provide import substitution. The second rule is that Russia alone can not produce the whole range of technological products. the top 10countries of the world in the past year spent on technology and innovation $ 1.6 trillion, Russia -. $ 38 billion if we take a force in the creation of unique, tomorrow will consume products in the same volume, but only at great expense. Now countries are trying to not create a whole range of technological products, and become the first in something, and thus enter into the international division of labor.

- Do you consider the lifting of sanctions prerequisite for overcoming the crisis? What, from your point of view, they will act?

- Sanctions for long. I talked a lot with business, they believe that since the problem of the Crimea is not yet resolved, the sanctions remain. Their abolition would mean the West's recognition of the current status of Crimea. But I guess that if mutual compromise, for example, if we can resolve the problems in the south-east of Ukraine, we will have a reduction of sanctions is not the most important and the most painful.

- The economy will be able to adapt to long sanctions?

- With the right economic policies, rather than as it is now, in such circumstances, the economic growth we canbut secure. But as a whole to become more competitive, we can not. It is often said that we will rely on our own strength. But similar countries, such as China, Brazil, India, will enjoy the full range of opportunities of the global economy - technological and financial - and Russia will be limited to them. This means the degradation of a number of industries. In the coming years we will be able to achieve spectacular success only in some local areas, especially in the defense sector.

Fire flooded money

- Adopted in December by the Bank of Russia measures to stabilize the ruble have been sufficient? As far as they were right?

- If we had only one problem - the decline in oil prices - the Central Bank is likely to be managed, though it would be difficult. But we are experiencing multiple problems with sanctions. Plus, there are factors that can not be reduced to sanctions. There are fears that under the new complexities of Russia can change the internal rules, for example, to impose restrictions on the movement of capital. If you add up all the factors - under-reformed eConomy, lower oil prices, sanctions and bad expectations for the development of the investment climate, - together they have such a strong pressure on the ruble, which, of course, the Central Bank can not compensate. In this sense, without a government, and the president can not do. Until they joined the market have difficulty. They can now change the business mood. The rhetoric in the style of "we will be isolated and will do everything as soon as" frightening, in the phrases "we can handle!" Seen some shapkozakidatelstvo. Not only the anti-crisis measures ( "and will help you and will help you"), and the development model. If it is not, the pressure will be maintained.

- Still have to resort Under what conditions to capital controls?

- We once went to the free movement of capital, the expectation that we will carry out a very rational, modern politics. It turned out that this provides new opportunities for the economy. But the flip side of the coin is that when we do not respond to calls, bad expectations eluted money. In this situation, the correct behavior - stick to the output of the script fromtion. If you consistently create an isolated system, once the need to introduce and exchange restrictions. This, unfortunately, will mean a transition to a different, lower level of economic development, with a more serious state participation and overbearing regulation. I would say, I am the return of ten years ago. But it may be at some point inevitable. I see that now in the government and the president are fighting these approaches, there is analysis of the situation, listened economists. Not yet made a choice in favor of one of the strategies to defeat the elements of reaction, response, and gradually create a more isolated economy.

- The Bank of Russia was forced to take the unprecedented step - a sharp rise in rates. Do you expect in connection with this financial crisis?

- Raising rates - a classic measure of the situation. There is a widespread misconception about the role played by the emission of money in the economy. It provides about 15% of banks 'liabilities, the remaining 85% provided from other sources: deposits, interbank loans, banks' own funds. An increaserates of up to 17% in principle does not change the price of 85% of the main sources for lending to the economy.

- But it would be naive to expect that the increase in the key rate will not lead to an overall increase in rates ...

- The rate of inflation in the economy picks up. Money can not be issued at interest below inflation, otherwise the bank will lend at a loss. Inflation, rather than a change rate of the Central Bank - the basic foundation of raising the average rate. In this case, the Central Bank raised the rate to limit the use of new emission means for currency transactions. It is believed that raised late and that it was necessary to raise higher. Then the effect would be greater. But if the Central Bank goes on soft loans for the industry, and these efforts will be reduced to a minimum. Long money businesses fall on account of the same bank, and immediately - on the currency market. Thus, the emission will cause a further decline in rates or higher inflation. The authorities must give up this issue in order not to cause further deregulation of macroeconomics, and any measures to support the real sector to carry through government guarantees or directyamye budgetary infusions. Including, perhaps, from the National Welfare Fund, it is enough. What the government has in store, only to it and has the right to use. And the Central Bank needs to think only about the cash position, course, and inflation, rather than the support of individual branches.

- What consequences will come if, as expected, S & P agency still reconsider Russian country rating, dropping it to the junk level?

- I predict the deterioration of Russia's rating in 2015. Thank God it did not happen at the end of the year. Changing investment rating on the trash, the agency actually states: "For this country to work on normal, civilized conditions is impossible. Any investment in this country you should weigh 7 times longer than in a normal situation. " Plus, in many loan and bond agreements have covenants to assign the case to the state junk rating. These credits can be redeemed. When these conditions are discussed, no one did not expect that a country so changed and so worsen the investment climate. When this happens, marketsOK simultaneously prosyadet very seriously, and will increase pressure on the ruble. Part of the shock is already actively "selected" by the market.

- So we can expect a repetition of the "black Tuesday"?

- I hope that the "black Tuesday" will not happen again, because it will not be the main pressure on the exchange rate and the stock market.

- And how you think, there is a risk that Russia will no longer pay the bills and restricted default will be announced?

- I think this is unlikely. The default - is an extreme measure, much steeper than the introduction of foreign exchange controls. If this happens, if the government does not allow the business to pay its debts, with counterparties will not guarantee that putting the goods in Russia, they will get money for it, then there are risks even for usual trade will increase considerably. All will deliver goods only with prepayment. This stop trade of the country, despite the fact that we are dependent on imports for 50%. In 1998, when this measure was implemented, some companies, clenching his teeth, continued payments to maintain the reputation. It is better, if you choose, toLed exchange controls. This mode permits the export of currency existed until 2006. Before you take the currency out of the country (as a rule, capital gains), you should reserve it for special accounts with the Central Bank (quarantine) and to substantiate the reason for removal. All our oligarchs went to the Central Bank for obtaining permits to invest in the privatization of enterprises abroad.

Russia-2015 to Kudrin

2-4% (depending on oil prices) may make a reduction in Russia's GDP in 2015.

If oil prices return to $ 80 per barrel, the decline in GDP in 2015 "will be between 2% and more," if prices in the next year at $ 60, the "GDP will fall by 4% or more."

12-15% can make in 2015 inflation.

"We are moving steadily to the double-digit inflation. Subsequently, it may decrease the effect of the devaluation of the transfer prices will gradually decrease as the market stabilizes. "

2-3 months is needed for the stabilization of the ruble in 2015, primarily due to the reduction in imports and, consequently, demand for the currency.

"We need 2-3 months thatI would rate stabilized and defines the basic fundamentals. "

In 2.5-5% reduced real disposable income.

"For the first time in 2000 during the reign of Putin and Medvedev will decrease the real income of the population in the next year. level reduction - of 2 to 4.5%. "

About 40% will be a decline in imports in 2015, the greater risks will be subject to the import of investment character.

"It will slow down the modernization of Russia. We must understand that access to modern technologies will become much more difficult at times. "

How to save the economy

- Hopefully will not come before. How, in your opinion, it is necessary to save the economy that has not reached a radical restrictive measures? The government, for example, said that while there are "untouchables" of the company, a normal investment climate is meaningless to talk ...

- Of course, the market needs to understand that there are no areas where there are no common rules for all. Then, the state company will not ask for money from the state, simply because otherwise it would have to reconsider its andvestprogrammu. Or if it is to fight for them, it would be possible to ask her: "Do not you have reserves for the sale of assets and the restructuring of its investment program? So you worked well with the banks? "Any support from the state must be the same for all.

- No what else does not?

- The main problem - a complete lack of confidence in politics in general. No strategy, but there is no daily politics. How decisions are made haphazardly: the trading fees, deofshorizatsii, pension savings, for additional control over the tax accounts in foreign currency, according to the powers of law enforcement officers, etc. Investors are very tempted, they weighed all these decisions: this is not clear, this is scary, this is going to work against, this will increase the administrative or law enforcement pressure, but targeting - such good preservation of capital movements - too. For the medium-term situation is greater disadvantages than advantages. So the investment will shrink. So for starters, you can not limit ourselves to the end even deliberate strategy, but at leastemonstrativnymi measures, sometimes even with brute force, to improve confidence. Otherwise, other serious measures seriously no one will appreciate.

- It's what?

The return of pension savings, for example, could become such a significant event, and most importantly, it is very helpful to the market. Now this money is spent by the Ministry of Defence, through social spending, wages. It's a bad way to go. A good way - through the market to bring them to those who need it for business development.

- Well, what else?

- The pressure of law enforcement: half-measures - there podsokratili there some registry checks invented for inspecting introduced still other reviewers - do not work anymore. At the time, we introduced a mandatory court decision on measures of restraint, so now the court automatically issues a resolution as a preventive for business in the event of the application of the investigating authorities. And it would work if released most of the sitting for economic crimes, with the exception of a limited number of compositions and tough holding this line. Especially after Evtushenkova. I have several friends Passedand in recent years this way: come the security forces, put the economic requirements, the requirements are accepted - and all taken away. It has become so common, that it is necessary to put strict barriers ...

- Do not you think that this practice is inherent in the current socio-political formation? If at the top, for example, to understand Yevtushenkov, as low as possible to stop this practice?

- When there is a "business Evtushenkova" for the return of property, it is perceived as a line of conduct - as "permitted". Law enforcement agencies and the judiciary at the lowest level are largely account for this, it is believed that this is possible, and it needs to be changed. In general, it is quite feasible steps. Further, the control functions of the state should be significantly reduced, since we can not build a better administration. I once went to one region, they tell me: "We have a very successful company, control authorities are taking place one after the other, to come to us. C each in turn we agree. " I called the only two areas of approximately tenTKA. One problem - it is access to resources in the region, allowing functions of power. There are whole areas which do no one touches, such as the customs system. 155-th place in the world for the quality of customs procedures of about 180!

- In the zero years and much has been said about the need for judicial reform, public administration reform. But it's all been done for various reasons ...

- Why do not? Every three or four years was adopted the state program. Something, by the way, was introduced. All kinds of board of judges, increasing the financial independence of courts. But it turned out that everything depends on the tacit administrative subordination. And the selection of personnel to go with the condition that the courts will be quite manageable. To stop this practice, not enough financial investments, legislative changes or changes in the structure of the destination. This requires political will - when prosecutors will monitor such cases and not to promote the power to maintain the status quo. If the government feels a monopoly, it is not politically threatened by the change in the coming years, and the courtobey, because there are human beings, they do not want to lose their jobs.

Who will start the reform

- It requires staffing decisions?

- The personnel changes in key positions are required. Need a change of a certain number of heads of state-owned companies in order to reduce corruption, there is, to increase the transparency of the work and to limit the administrative burden on the market.

- Only in state-owned companies or in the government too?

- And in the government and in state companies. But the government is no longer the case in the problem of incompetent staff (there are many - professionals), simply do not have a single unifying policy. Nobody will remember that a year ago, decided to, in fact, the prime does not ask for the programs and principles that have been adopted earlier. It announced it was: not to raise taxes. A slip solutions. As a past prime minister may take a decision on the introduction of the collection or increasing insurance premiums, when he announced that the policy of the government - is not to raise ?! Since the government does not create policy and follow it, each following decof becoming a spontaneous, canceling the previous ones, arbitrary. I is fully tested on itself. But more and more. This including influenced my final decision to leave the government. In the appendage to the personnel reform needs a large fiscal maneuver, and, in fact, anti-crisis measures, but they must be different from the ones we used in 2009. This time a big blow not single-industry towns, and in major cities. The last time state employees in oil skate, now would be difficult. The situation will be much more difficult. For 15 years there was no decline in living standards, will be this year. Some social groups fail even stronger.

- Whether in crisis receive the political will to deeper institutional reforms?

- Maybe, but this is unlikely. Administrative control was adopted as a more effective strategy to ensure stability. Large burden on business - it is like a forced fee for such a choice. To review this concept, I do not see the political will. On the contrary, in conditions of growing external and internal problems suchhandling administrative law enforcement system, in my opinion, even greater demand.

- The increase in protest activity due to lower living standards can affect the installation of the power?

- The accumulation of negativity can result in something more serious, but so far it can not be traced. And is not necessarily expect from the authorities of any liberal steps. Now the problem can be attributed to external factors, so those who are trying to challenge the actions of the authorities can easily be disagreeable.

- That is, if the institutional restructuring and possible, it is already beyond 2024?

- I admit that such a reform will start earlier. As a rule, in other countries it took place with the change of power. We have, by virtue of our devices as possible while maintaining the first person and the change of command.

- A reverse option - Russia is possible coup d'etat?

- It is unlikely. I just know the technology works authority.

- Is it possible in Russia, the third option, when from the very bowels of the elite group leaves Refrmatorov?

- The potential for this is, but he is very weak. And I'm not referring to the officials, there are such people in the business. They are well aware of all the country risks, the negative aspects of partial isolation. Most business built with his own hands. I am inspired by conversations with them.

- These are businessmen who want to stay in Russia?

- Yes, they want to stay in Russia, although suffer, fear, worry.

When Alexei Kudrin, who served as finance minister from 2000 to 2011, which is the longest period in this position, Russia sharply reduced the external debt and has accumulated a stabilization reserve, which now wants to take advantage of the government during the crisis. In the 2000s, the Ministry of Finance held a large-scale tax reform: it was introduced "flat rate" of income tax to 13%, lifted sales tax reduced rate of VAT and income tax, abolished internal offshore zones, etc. As a result, the tax burden on business has declined.

Alexei Kudrin resigned from the post of finance minister in 2011 after criticizing the government's budgetpolicy, and later rejected the opportunity to enter into the new composition of the government of Dmitry Medvedev, if he offered him the post. But Kudrin - "useful and necessary to us people" - so then said about him, Vladimir Putin. As head of the Committee of Civil Initiatives, he became one of the close to the Kremlin independent experts. So, last spring he prepared for the administration of the President of the sanctions effects scripts in connection with the crisis in Ukraine. Keeping direct access to the president, he nevertheless did not give up criticism of government policies. In November 2014 he made a resignation of the government, and then there was a rumor that he can soon take the chair of the Prime Minister. Kudrin himself this information does not comment.