Does Russian business suffer from nihilism?
Russian First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov believes that Russian business does not want to see positive changes in public administration and the economy, and, having record profits, believes that "things are bad."
Speaking at Sberbank’s business breakfast at SPIEF-2019, he commented on the statements by President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin, President of Business Russia Alexei Repik, President of OPORA Russia Alexander Kalinin, and on the results of the survey at the event. Most think that the implementation of national projects would not help to bring Russia's economic growth rate higher than the world average, and that the economy needs first and foremost a government reform.
"The voting results were predetermined in advance," Siluanov said. "Our business still suffers from nihilism - thinking that 'everything is bad'," Interfax cited him as saying.
Siluanov divided the Russian business into three conditional groups. The first - working "in the old manner", putting money offshore. The second - requiring benefits. "Some of the entrepreneurs have been corrupted - they will not invest until they receive preferences," the First Deputy Prime Minister described their requests. The third group is those who really work. According to Siluanov, the state should help them.
He think that the task of the state, the government to get rid of "nihilism in the minds". "If it is not there, there will be sources of financing," Siluanov said. "Therefore, friends, let's be more optimistic," the Russian First Deputy Prime Minister concluded.
Professor of the RANEPA faculty of Finance, Money Circulation and Credit Yuri Yudenkov, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the attitude of business towards the work of the government's financial ministry is rather sober than nihilistic. "There are flaws in the Finance Ministry's work, the agency does not support the business and begins to withdraw money from circulation. Example: the Finance Ministry buys U.S. securities in order to provide reserves. But this goes against the standard policy, because the gold and currency reserves are formed by the Central Bank - there is an inconsistency in the Finance Ministry's actions with the Central Bank," he explained.
"The minister is trying to absolve itself of responsibility by accusing the business of not fulfilling Siluanov's direct functions as finance minister. "You work badly in the finance ministry," the entrepreneurs say. "No, it 's you perceiving us as bad, Siluanov responds," Yuri Yudenkov pointed out.
"One can say that the Finance Ministry plays against our business, not only does not help it, but even prevents rash actions. The Finance Ministry supports small and medium-sized businesses only in words. Therefore, the Finance Ministry does not cause anything but irritation. And this is not nihilism, but an adequate, objective assessment. Business should work, earn money, and the Finance Ministry hinders this process by its actions," the professor of the RANEPA faculty of Finance, Money Circulation and Credit concluded.
The vice-rector of the Academy of Labour and Social Relations Alexander Safonov, in turn, explained Siluanov's words with different views of the government and business on the changes in Russian economy. Siluanov's ideas that there are positive changes in the economy are explained by the fact that, for example, the government considers a lower level of inflation as its achievement. It is also important for the Ministry of Finance that there is no economic recession now. The third point is the development or, at least, the planning for the implementation of national projects, which, in principle, can be a launching pad for business development," he listed.
"First of all, entrepreneurs, in turn, do not see serious changes in the investment climate. This is manifested, at least, in the information presented by Titov to the president that the number of inspections decreased, but at the same time, the amount of fines increased. In addition, the business doesn’t see any change in the possibilities of borrowing money - money is as expensive as before. But the most important thing is that the business, unfortunately, sees a very bad tendency for consumer demand to decline, that is why they have no possibility to develop their sales," Alexander Safonov concluded.