The reforms of the next Putin are already outdated

Economists consider the strategy of import substitution to be erroneous in Russia.
Russia enters 2018 with vague prospects, writes the chief economist of Alfa Bank, Natalia Orlova: the growth trajectory is unstable, the "reform period" has come with a "period of silence", the geopolitical context of optimism does not inspire. The new year is unlikely to change anything: the government will solve problems with the budget, the Central Bank, lowering the rate to 7.5%, take a pause, sanctions will strengthen the volatility of the ruble - there are no prerequisites for accelerating the economy. "The Ray of Hope" - the reforms announced by the market after the presidential election, Orlova said.

Three key strategies are currently being discussed: the Ministry of Economic Development proposes to stake on the growth of investment, non-primary export and labor productivity, CSR Alexei Kudrin - on growth of aggregate factor productivity and investments in the most productive sectors, Stolypin Club of business ombudsman Boris Titov - to support a moderately weak exchange rate and stimulating demand for import substitution.

But the logic of any strategy is broken about the changes in the global market, warn experts in the Questions of Economics, RASHiGS Georgy Idrisov, Vladimir Mau and Alexandra Bozhechkova. Investing in long-term projects in conditions of technological uncertainty is fraught with great risks: technologies may become obsolete even before the product enters the market. Investors will switch to short-term projects, the authors believe, and from capital expenditures - to operational ones, for example, it will be easier for them not to develop infrastructure, but to purchase services. The average cost of investments (with the participation of foreign capital) in projects of new manufacturing enterprises has decreased in the world since 2003 by 46% - from $ 73.7 billion to $ 40.1 billion by 2016.

 The strategy of import substitution in these conditions from the point of view of investment is meaningless, experts of the Russian Academy of Science believe, it is necessary to deduce the private sector to "world records": to concentrate all the resources of enterprises on the production of a product that can become "the best in the world". The development of our own real sector is necessary, argues the head of the expert center at the business ombudsman Anastasia Alehnovich: to shoot a breakthrough technology, it is necessary that a significant proportion of enterprises and institutions innovate, otherwise people will leave and establish innovative production outside of Russia.

Labor and capital are no longer tied to the territory of the state, the costs are reduced - the accumulation of digital capital becomes important, the authors of the article indicate. For the country, it becomes critically important how institutions work and intellectual property is protected. And corporate protectionism, on the contrary, can restrain the introduction of innovations.

Many sectors, especially those related to consumption, really switch from capital expenditures to operational ones, says Vladimir Knyaginin, vice president of the Center for Strategic Studies, the investment mechanisms are changing, and giant platforms are appearing in the development of which many companies participate. If you focus on 4% GDP growth per year, then about 2-2.4 pp of this growth, according to the CSR, should provide new technologies and skills of people, on their development and it is worth to focus investments.

 Enterprises focused on operating expenses, because because of uncertainty they can not invest for a long time, Alyhnovich protests. The authorities increase the tax burden, maintain high interest rates, index tariffs, introduce new regulatory requirements, reducing the profitability of domestic enterprises, she says.

After the crisis of 2008-2009. the profitability of the real sector in the developed countries stagnated, the highest growth was shown by the service industries, says Knyaginin. Overcoming this stagnation is possible only by launching a new technological revolution - large enterprises such as Siemens and General Electric, have taken this path. But rates will not be zero indefinitely, "sanation" of production will certainly start, argues Knyaginin, Russia in these conditions should quickly adjust its economic and technological policies and support its players.

Under a favorable scenario, the new program will be based on the economic strategy of 2018-2024. Kudrin, if unfavorable - combine Kudrin's strategy with the Stolypin Club's proposal, support some sectors of the economy, Orlova believes. Most likely, the new government will deal with budgetary policy, rather than launching new large-scale reforms, she believes. Budget problems are exacerbated, the government has to find a balance between major social obligations, the need to maintain a certain level of public services and the desire to avoid raising the debt. Unlike reforms, the increase in taxes is inevitable, although, most likely, it will be postponed until 2020, Orlov sums up.