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A Credit for Half a Century

Interview with Grigory Yavlinsky by Natalia Bekhtereva,
Radio Russia, June 15, 2009

On the threashold of a state holiday the Day of Russia President Medvedev met with representatives of non-parliamentary political parties The Right Course, Patriots of Russia and YABLOKO. All these parties naturally have their own views of how Russia should develop further. The United Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO certainly has its own point of view here, YABLOKOs founder professor Grigory Yavlinsky is our guest today.

- How do you think what should be done so that Russia would be less affected by the world economic crisis?
Grigory Yavlinsky: I cant speak for others, but YABLOKO proposed a programme here, and its essence is very simple. We think that for the past eight years Russia has accumulated considerable funds, and we should immediately start using these funds so that to announce a nation-wide programme of housing construction, transfer of land into property of the citizens and construction of roads. This money can be spent on loans for the citizens for 30-50 years, i.e. the loans that would not be painful for the present generations. But I should stress that we should begin mass-scale housing construction, construction of roads and transfer of land.

We have calculated: as of July 1 our country has possibilities (without any harm to the economic stability and economic possibilities) to provide on the average 130 sq m of housing for 14 mln families, provided there is a political will and the government is capable of taking such a decision.
- Housing construction has been developing in general. The process only slowed down due to the crisis, but still goes on. Whatarethestumblingblocks? Housingisexpensive. Whatdoyoupropose? For the state to credit citizens for dozens of years? Doesithavesuchapossibility?
Grigory Yavlinsky: I should reiterate: for the eight years of huge oil prices we have accumulated considerable funds. These funds belong to the people. And the people and it is not an exaggeration has a dream to get a house for their families, children and grandchildren, to have their own plot of land (2,000-4,000 sq m). And the house should be at least 130 sq m, not tiny. Please use this money, provide communications gas, water, light; build a road and give people a possibility to construct their own house. And after some period people will pay off the loan, but, I should stress here once again this money belongs to the people
This should be a mass-scale programme, as housing construction gives us jobs. And construction requires metal, construction materials and many goods produced by electronic industry as housing equipment will be required; light industry for decoration. And people will also require furniture This means that our programme encourages domestic demand, and domestic demand will pull off the whole of our industry. And we dont have to wait until the US or other countries overcome the crisis

- Ithinkourlistenerswouldwelcomesuchmeasures. Butwhatourstatesays? Yes, we have money from the period of high oil prices. But we have to maintain social support, this money is required for unemployment benefits, wages, etc. What would you say here?
Grigory Yavlinsky: This money will suffice for everything. It is a large amount, especially considering our gold and hard currency reserves, we can also leave funds for covering budget deficits there is enough money for everything. And for supporting our banking system and the rouble rate. What these funds are not enough for? For investing into some bonds of foreign banks or governments this is really not enough. But this money should not go for this! It is economically absurd: if you have funds and are in a crisis, but you are simply eating off these funds rather than use them Should we pay unemployment benefits? It is better to provide jobs! Should we pay social benefits? Yes, we should. But if you and your children have your own houses, than you need less social support

See also:

The original
Russian Economy

Radio Russia, June 15, 2009