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Friday, March 16, 2018

The illusion of reserves

Still defiant in the early 1990s, journalists once asked Yegor Gaidar, how much is a bread. He didn’t know what to say. And it was a serious blow to is so divorced from reality policies.

Vladimir Putin during a “straight line” for some reason no one asked whether he knew the size of the average salary in the country, prices for food and medicines, think about how to survive on a pension. It would be interesting to find out how the President is aware of the real situation in Russia.

But in the absence of uncomfortable questions, the President spoke confidently about the growth of our reserves. According to him, even if the country in General will be nothing to produce, they will last for four months, and if the waste is in normal mode, then on four years. “We plan that next year it will be the growth of the economy, and therefore the reserve funds will not need to waste so much. Here is no fear to not be”, — he stressed.

If such a blissful picture Putin report to councillors, they are just misleading him. The figures indicate the reverse process: our reserves are reduced, the dynamics are not comforting, growth is not expected. Will those same four years (with an increase in the budget deficit — maybe less) — and then what?

According to the Central Bank, at the beginning of 2014 the international reserves of the Russian Federation was 510,5 billion. At the beginning of 2015 — 386,2 billion, and as of January of current year — already 368 billion Apparently recorded in recent months a small formal growth is solely due to changes in the dollar.

The Reserve Fund, according to the Finance Ministry, over the past two years in ruble terms declined by more than trillion: 4.4 trillion rubles in April 2015 to 3.3 trillion rubles at the moment. Rapidly rastalkivaya and the national welfare Fund over the last two years its volume has decreased by 19%.

In General, the President, at least in part, and acknowledged the complexity of the situation, at the same time he also stated — and not for the first time — about “a positive trend” in the economy. But even for such moderately optimistic forecasts there is not sufficient reason. The index of industrial production in 2015, according to official statistics, 96.6% compared to the previous period, i.e. there was a decrease of 3.4%. In the fourth quarter of 2015 gross domestic product (GDP) of the Russian Federation decreased by 3.8%. At the same time in 2015, exports of goods in relation to 2014 fell by 32.1%, which seriously blocked the us financial “oxygen”.

Despite a loud campaign in support of domestic producers and a sanctions war, production last year in Russia grew by only 3% is the level of statistical error.

All this affected life in the country. We began to dress worse and worse, to indulge in “excesses”, is rapidly falling into poverty, into a state characteristic of the third world. “The level of people living below the poverty line, slightly lifted”, — calming Putin said. However it “slightly” — according to Rosstat, amounted to as much as 3.1 million people in 2015. And this is in addition to the 16 millions of Russians who formerly resided below the poverty line. In all, deprived even of the subsistence minimum in the country — 14% of the total population. However, even on minimum wage, and a living wage, it is hardly possible to live normally.

To speak in the category “little” about the millions living in misery citizens who are in catastrophic circumstances caused the failed policies of the authorities, is hardly acceptable at least from an ethical point of view. A lot of families are just banned from normal life. The chances of children from such families to be fully socialized in the society, to receive competitive education are diminishing every day.

Despite assurances, nothing has been done to restore consumer demand, and able to act as a driver of economic growth. On the contrary, the payments are reduced, public sector leave on a starvation diet, in fact, pensions are not indexed.

The problem of unpaid wages at the systemic level is also not solved. After complaints during the “straight line” from the workers of the fish factory Shikotan, to deal with the debts, Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika sent to the Sakhalin region his Deputy. But all regions and businesses deputies will not save enough.

In General over the past year real incomes fell by 4%, informed Rosstat. The number of unemployed in Russia in March reached 1,066 million people, reported the Ministry of labor already. Only with the end of 2015 the number of unemployed citizens increased by 7.33 percent. Thus the true employment situation in the country is much more alarming that captures the official statistics.

When we are told about the mythical economic growth, it is necessary to understand that he is simply nowhere to take. Consumer demand due to natural causes falling and oil refuses to rise, the budget is also reduced. The Agency soon, and do it improper to stutter. And other sources of growth in the economy just yet.

Yes, the reserves still remain. But the only think we can do well — he wants them to spend and entrust Kudrin to write another strategy, which the President mentioned during the direct line. It’s much to employ Kudrin is a very important anti-crisis task…

Canning the situation by continuing to borrow from the future, we condemn the country to further increase the negative trends. The decline in production, unemployment, massive debts for wages, the fall in tax revenues in the budget.

If you do not decide on a radical reform today, tomorrow is no straight line can be cancelled. People just will not be able to afford such luxuries as three hours to burn the electricity a TV.

The crisis has aggravated the problem of property inequality: today, the incomes of 10% richest and the poorest Russians differ 16 times. For comparison: in Europe as a whole — 7 times in Finland — 5.6. By the standards of the UN, with a difference of 8 times begins social instability. In this case all attempts of the parliamentary opposition in Russia to initiate the introduction of a progressive scale of income tax categorically notch. And what would “the ears of the customer”, in the words of the President, not sticking out from investigations about the offshore accounts of our elites, this information can not fail to excite the minds of their impoverished population.

While the cream of our society to evade taxes through Panama, and ordinary citizens fall into credit bondage. According to the Central Bank, 38 million Russians have a debt to the banks. However, about 18% of them have several loans, and more than half of borrowers had used new loans to pay old debts. Against this background, increased the volume of overdue debt.

Negative attitudes of Russians towards the authorities is growing. According to sociologists (February 2016), almost 84% of citizens have heard negative statements about her in the environment; recall that Putin’s approval rating, according to the official measurements were below 82%.

Of course, you can once again try to blame all the problems on the 90 or the Soviet past — as in the case with utilities, which, according to the President, began to collapse even during the USSR. But in 2016 it already looks ridiculous. Besides I’ve already grown a whole generation, which in the age of reason, none of the leaders except Putin and the current leader of the party “United Russia” Dmitry Medvedev, and does not remember. With the same success it is possible to continue to justify the underdevelopment of the entire world from the Mongol invasion to Rus.

A direct line to the President was intended to produce “magical” effect, to bring down the growing discontent, to create the illusion of a predictable future. Did the trick, will show including the September elections to the state Duma, while remaining the most widely an open window, through which you can scream to the authorities about their grievances.

The only question is, will our passivity once again leave the choice for others? Those others who hope, gaining air into the lungs, eyes closed, swim through parliamentary elections, and to rise on the first breath before the presidential and then relax for another six years. Encouraging yourself and us a three-hour conversations about the wonderful future that never comes.

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