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RTR television channel, "Vesti" programme, October 5, 2003

Human Capital Is the Basis for Economic Growth

By Grigory Yavlinsky

Anchor: And now back to current affairs. Curious investigators of the culture of Russian political lexicology have noticed long ago already that the close associates of Grigory Yavlinsky involuntarily copy his manner of speech. And here we come to an important turn in the election campaign: "Yabloko Without Yavlinsky" cannot survive in the sense that the Central Electoral Committee has forwarded the materials on the campaign "Yabloko Without Yavlinsky" to the Interior Ministry and Public Prosecutor' Office acknowledging this campaign to be illegal and negative election propaganda. This week Grigory Yavlinsky, who has the reputation of someone disinclined to join the executive authorities, unexpectedly considered it possible and necessary to turn to the president and the government with proposals on how to speed up economic growth. Yavlinsky sends his alternative budget to the President as a supplement to this letter.

Grigory Alexeevich, it is good that we are armed with such a huge pile of papers, including your alternative budget, as the figures you quote in your alternative [budget] proposal are impressive. You have uncovered 215 billion roubles of additional revenues. Where does this astronomical amount which appeared unneeded in Russia comes from?

Yavlinsky, leader of the YABLOKO faction: First of all I would like to say that it is not "unneeded" at all. Simply our calculations on the parameters at the disposal of our government demonstrate that the government has a real opportunity to obtain an additional 215 billion roubles in revenues.

Anchor: Why have you decided that they are additional?

Yavlinsky: Because that is what the calculations show. We know what the [oil] extraction will be and we know the tax rates. It is not so difficult to calculate this amount.

Anchor: And what do you propose to spend this money on? You say "economic growth should be accelerated". How?

Yavlinsky: As we know, economic growth has many factors, but in most cases we are talking about taxes, the economic structure and conjuncture.

Anchor: And something which is also difficult to understand?

Yavlinsky: Ok, let us put it like this. But there is also such a factor as "human capital".

Anchor: These 215 billion roubles are abstract, they are abstract even for people with very high incomes, this is a huge amount. If we speak in terms of such 'applied arithmetic', then how many roubles per person per month will this mean? Who for and in what spheres?

Yavlinsky: This is a very good question. To reduce the degree of abstractness we shall put it like this: this comes to about 10 per cent of the budget. For pensioners this will be 1,900 rouble single social allowance per month, and for the able-bodied and the unemployed this will mean 2,000 roubles per month while the person is unemployed, and 1,850 roubles for those receiving a social pension, a pension for the handicapped or the loss of a bread-winner. Here we are speaking about the first stage of the implementation of the programme to elininate extreme poverty in Russia, i.e. to reach the level of payments that ensure the physiological minimum.

Anchor: At the World Economic Forum in Moscow this week you said that privatisation results should be confirmed by law. I am quoting you. Do you mean here that, in your opinion, there were no violations, and if there were they should be forgotten?

Yavlinsky: In my view violations did take place. And in my view privatisation was conducted in the most inefficient possible manner and was based on serious criminal relations and developments. However, we cannot live with this forever, as every time this will hit us a boomerang. And there are two methods for resolving the problem. On way is traditional: to gather together and reach an agreement. Businessmen will reach an agreement with the authorities, they will say: don't touch us and we shall not touch you, we shall not touch politics and you don't touch our privatisation deals, let us make such a deal. But I propose quite another thing. Privatisation deals which do not contain crimes such as murder, violence and other grave crimes, can be recognised. But simultaneously decisions limiting the influence of business on corruption, the authorities, political parties and the State Duma, restrictions on the influence of the oligarchic structures on public politics in Russia should be adopted. Such a balance should be installed.


See also:

Privatisation in Russia

Budget 2004

RTR television channel, "Vesti" programme, October 5, 2003

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