MEF-2018: I Plenary discussion

Published: April 9th, 2018

The event was attended by: Alexander Sergeyev, RAS Academician, RAS President, Sergei Glaziev, Academician of RAS, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation on Regional Economic Integration, Pavel Grudinin, Director of the Closed Joint Stock Company "Lenin State Farm", presidential candidate of the Russian Federation 2018, Oksana Dmitrieva, member of the Budget and Finance Committee of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg, Robert Nigmatulin, Academician of the RAS, Scientific Director of the Institute of Oceanology named after P.P. Shirshov, Boris Titov, authorized under the President of the Russian Federation for the protection of entrepreneurs' rights, Vitaly Gnatyshen, general director of the Chita ceramic plant Mir.
During the meeting, the participants discussed proposals on the formation of a new course of economic policy. The possibility of developing a scientific and technological base was also considered.
Konstantin Babkin, co-chairman of the Forum, President of the Industrial Union "New Commonwealth", opened the I plenary discussion of the IEF 2018 with an appeal to consider the real mechanisms for building the future of Russia.

Answering his own question "Does Russia have ideology, its own strategy?", The speaker regretted not the best manifestation of it, namely, the liberal approach to governing the country. "Our government puts the interests of individuals and corporations at the head of the state, but not the interests of the state," the moderator of the discussion said.
He noted that the result of liberal politics today is an even greater stratification of society in the country. According to Konstantin Babkin, those notorious resources that our country is so rich in today are spent on the development of the global economy, but not on the prosperity of our own.

So what should be the correct ideology for building the future, so that Russia becomes a place where it is profitable to produce, create, where it is possible to receive free education? As the speaker noted, it is important that the proposals really work, and not remain at the level of conversations. He cited as an example the situation that occurred just three months ago when the Minister of Agriculture promised the peasants new affordable loans without specifying the start date. As a result, the reverse effect worked - instead of development of the industry, there was a stagnation. Peasant farms are waiting, not invested, the investment process is frozen.

Therefore, it was right, Konstantin Babkin emphasized, to invite real managers for discussion, including competent economists and politicians.
The theme of the development of Russian science was continued by the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences - Alexander Sergeyev. According to him, the role of science in the life of the country becomes obvious. However, little attention is paid to it. One of the reasons, according to the academician, is the rapid transition of the country from one way of life to another. The main emphasis now is on attracting investments, on the raw material economy. At the same time, many developed countries are oriented toward science, and business is helping them in this direction. As an example, Sergeyev brought China and Korea, in these countries, he said, coordinated work has been built between the state and entrepreneurs. This model can be applied in Russia. The negotiator between the two venues, according to Sergeyev, should be the RAS.

"We need to work together to develop the national science, to build a coordinated chain. It is necessary to understand that science without industry does not live, like industry without science, "Sergeyev emphasized.

Sergei Glazyev, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation on regional economic integration issues immediately identified the central idea of his speech - the main thing is not to blurt out those goals of advanced development, which the President spoke about.
The speaker is convinced that achieving a technological breakthrough is an absolutely real task. Despite the fact that the load of industrial sectors in the country is only 60%, there are great chances for success. In Russia there are no restrictions on natural, human resources, in principle, there are no barriers that would become an obstacle for an economic growth of 5 to 10%. But, unfortunately, explained the economist, today the state, as a donor, we plunged into a speculative trap because of the policy of the Central Bank, which could not learn how to provide loans. Because of this, the country annually loses not less than 6% of its gross product.

"We have 100 billion dollars spinning between Russia and offshore. All this is the result of an archaic monetary policy, as a result of which our enterprises are forced to go abroad for a loan, "said Sergey Glazyev. As a result, according to the expert, Russia is in a negative balance with the outside world, it does not make sense to hope for help from the West or the East.

Today the country needs a transition to a strategy of advanced development. And for its implementation, according to Glazyev, several components are needed: the possibility of a new technological order with an increase of 30-40% (talking about innovative production), dynamic catch-up in the development of aerospace support (full transition to own fleet), increase of value added in the economy for raw material processing account.
The implementation of components, the speaker explained, is possible if we rely on public-private partnership. The most important part of the strategy - affordable loans for business, the fundamental role of science. Summing up the speech, Glazyev paid special attention to monetary fetishism, which is cultivated in the country. He called to abandon it and recognize money as just a tool to support innovation and investment activity.

The need to change the economic course in the country in his speech noted Pavel Grudinin. According to him, the presidential campaign in Russia showed that the development program proposed by the liberals has lost. People want the income to be distributed fairly, so that medicine and education become truly free, so that the rich are expelled to the budget more than the poor.

Director of the Closed Joint Stock Company "Lenin State Farm" said that in the regions today there is a huge request for changes. The economic situation in the subjects of the country is very sad: factories are destroyed, at the head is trade, and not production.
The speaker noted that the situation is aggravated by the dominance of oversight bodies and a lot of administrative procedures. Sometimes the requirements of some inspectors are contrary to the requirements of others.

Speaking about the development of the dairy industry in the country, Pavel Grudinin gave an example when Russia exports modern aircraft, and in return receives palm oil. Such precedents destroy milk producers, whose prices have already fallen significantly since the beginning of the year.

Pavel Grudinin is sure that vital economic transformations are vitally important for the country: "In the near future, economic policy must be changed, replaced in the direction of people and production." According to him, the population should have money, and enterprises have the opportunity to release their products. This is the main requirement for the development strategy of Russia to become effective.

At the end of the speech, the speaker expressed hope that the new economic course of the country will be presented in the very near future.
The opinion that the country has neither strategy nor tactics of economic development was expressed by the member of the budget and finance committee of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg Oksana Dmitrieva. She noted that at present there is not even a clear analysis and qualitative diagnosis of the situation in Russia. The expert described the current situation as "economic growth, which is difficult to detect."

According to her, the main trends that were outlined in 2014 include: expensive loans, lack of tax incentives, reduction of effective demand of the population. The lack of real revenue growth is the main problem, which, according to Dmitrieva, is worth paying attention to. Before talking about the strategy, you need to bring the economy and the system of economic public management in a state where the economy responds to certain signals. Now the country only follows the market conditions and is completely dependent on the prices for energy resources.

"The volume of construction work is falling, inflation is low, but credit is still expensive. If we talk about social factors, we again went into a zone of negative natural growth, "Dmitrieva stressed.
In the sphere of monetary policy, deposits of the population are three times larger than loans, but the problem is that the money of the population and business is cheaper than the money of the Central Bank. Thus, the banking system has cash, but the difference between loans and deposits is now 16 trillion rubles.

Nevertheless, there are new trends in the economy: the devaluation was replaced by a gradual strengthening of the ruble, but in 2017 oil prices remained the main source of growth. Among the trends is also a lingering revival of lending activity.

The problem remains with the irrational use of CB funds. According to Dmitrieva, there is no danger of a banking crisis, but the rehabilitation of banks at the expense of the country's main bank is artificially created instability of the banking system and the opportunity to spend huge amounts of money. Only from the Deposit Insurance Agency was spent 2.5 trillion rubles for 2016-2017, 1.5 trillion rubles from the Fund for the consolidation of the banking sector. Meanwhile, the sanation goes against "non-system" banks - often small ones that do not affect the sphere as a whole.

"We need a radical change in the entire economic system, but first let's assess where we are, in what situation there is effective demand, how the economically active population is feeling," Oksana Dmitrieva summed up.
In Russia, it is necessary to distribute income appropriately, said the scientific leader of the Institute of Oceanology named after P.P. Shirshov Robert Nigmatulin. According to him, the main engine in the country is a city dweller, with a decent payment for his labor. Meanwhile, as the academician noted, the wages of the majority of the Russian population today are less than 20 thousand rubles. According to him, only 7% of the country's residents receive more than 80 thousand rubles. "The minimum wage should be 3 thousand liters of gasoline, no less," Nigmatulin said. Having established such a rate, the speaker stated, he will automatically manage to raise production of agricultural products. Continuing the fuel comparison, the bread, according to the academician, should cost at least three liters of gasoline. Such rates are currently in effect in many developed countries.

The academician also focused attention on the healthcare sector, whose financial provision is also limping. One of the main tasks of the state is to increase life expectancy. But without proper financial support, Nigmatulin is sure that this task will not be achieved.

In his turn, Boris Titov, authorized by the Russian president to protect entrepreneurs' rights, noted that the absence of a long-term development strategy is the most negative impact on the Russian economy, while similar documents are accepted worldwide. According to Titov, the country has an internal request for such a plan from both ordinary people and business. "We all want to understand where we are going and what we want - both people and business," the business ombudsman believes.
Titov noted that the necessary legislative framework for the adoption of the development strategy in Russia has already been developed, however, further work on this issue did not go on in this direction, in particular, because of the lack of interest in strategic planning by the current leadership of the country.

The business ombudsman believes that to solve this problem it is necessary to create a special Headquarters, which will be engaged in reforming. "We can discuss the details, but two things are obvious - today we need a strategy, an integrated, scientifically prepared development plan, and for this the Reform Headquarters must be created," Titov said.

In his opinion, such a headquarters should be allocated to a special institution that would engage in planning, controlling and project management of the long-term strategy for the development of the Russian economy. Concluding his speech, Titov called upon all participants of the plenary session to unite to solve this problem and demand from the country's leadership the creation of a Reforming Headquarters to develop a strategy.