Georgy Satarov: 'I don't believe it'

posted 7 Dec 2014, 11:24 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 7 Dec 2014, 11:44 ]
4 December 2014

Source: Ekho Moskvy

By Georgy Satarov Head of the INDEM Foundation, aide to President B.N. Yeltsin 1994 - 1997

This is me, of course, and not Stanislavsky. But Putin has not convinced me in the slightest. It’s abundantly clear that the economy is not simply ailing – it’s terminally ill. That’s why in his annual address this time round he turned his attention to the world of business. But that ship has already sailed.

1. His ideas have come 15 years too late. If he had proposed them back then and succeeded in implementing a mere third of them, the YUKOS affair would never have happened, and Khodorkovsky would long since have built an oil pipeline to China. Business owners would never have fled the country, and tens of thousands of those who did not manage to do so would never have been flung into jail.

2. The second part of his speech should have started with a realistic analysis of the challenges businesses face today. He should have said that he had just signed a decree setting up an independent group of public prosecutors answering directly to the president, that 365 officials not believed to have been involved in fabricating cases had been chosen (with difficulty) to form this group, and that these prosecutors would be ordered to carry out investigations into the rigged cases within a year. He should also have said that the tens of thousands of innocent businesspeople locked up and robbed of their property would walk free and be compensated for their losses, and replaced in jail by those responsible for framing them. Maybe back then people would have believed him, but now nobody will believe him and none of his ideas will work because there is no trust in the authorities.

3. Putin’s import substitution policy will also come to nothing. Back in 1998 import substitution happened automatically – a free economy existed in the country and goods were substituted without any interference by Putin or Primakov. Now our economy is not free, and the policy will fail.

4. There is only one of his proposals that will work – granting an amnesty to everyone whose assets have been plundered over the past 15 years. This is a good idea which could work well, but it still wouldn’t save the economy. Inflation will soar, and that will be that.

5. Any economics post grad worth their salt knows that the most important of all economic institutions is an independent court. But Putin said not a word about this. An independent court would mean certain death for him and his gang. That’s why he made no mention of it. And that’s why there’s no hope of him achieving anything.


Translated by Joanne Reynolds