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Domestic economy to revert to Soviet standards

Independent experts have no illusions about the five-year plans of the All-Russian People's Front

­­The Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies (IISEPS), headed by Nikolay Fedorov, is expected to prepare a five-year plan for Russia’s socio-economic development in the next two months. In addition to United Russia and community organizations that are registered members of the All-Russian People’s Front (ONF), the document may incorporate proposals from the opposition forces, that is if they choose to co-operate. Independent experts have no illusions regarding the ONF’s five-year plan, calling the future document “election-driven and demonstrative.”

“I have already issued an order, to be ready to present by August, for some kind of a five-year plan for change – a plan of priority action for life arrangement,” Nikolay Fedorov, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies Fund, said during an Interfax press conference yesterday. Thus, at the suggestion of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, whose wishes are being implemented by the IISEPS, the domestic economy is being prescribed a transfer to a five-year plan. In recent years, the country has been guided by three-year financial and budgetary plans.

In order to make sure that the ONF document is of a high quality, Fedorov promises to create the conditions for “civilized competition.” According to him, the IISEPS has proposed that all of the State Duma factions and members of the All-Russian People’s Front submit their proposals for the development of the reform program. Instead of the experts in the capital, Fedorov wants to work together with people from the depths of the country. “It is crucial to dilute the research with viewpoints from the provinces,” he explained, as it is being proposed that we adopt the five-year plan for “Russia’s arrangement” across all domestic administrative structures: in the federal center, the regions and municipalities. And people in the constituent territories of Russia have a better understanding of what they need to do in order to improve their lives.

Fedorov’s answer to Nezavisimaya Gazeta’s (NG) question about the financial resources which the IISEPS has in order to implement the People’s Front’s pre-election program was very streamlined: “The budget is sufficient for us to perform the assigned task well.” He assured there were enough funds to hire experts – Russian and foreign. There is even enough money for Nobel laureates. These funds will be allocated from United Russia’s party bins.

Meanwhile, Fedorov himself will be working for the sake of the idea, or chairing the IISEPS Board of Directors on a voluntary basis. He refused to name the names of the council members. Staffing decisions, as it turns out, are still being made. It is known that directors will be approved for specific assignments. They include determining Russia’s strategic guidelines and priorities, quality of life (demography, healthcare, pension system, etc.), raising the competitiveness of the national economy, international relations and defense, and regional development.

For independent experts, it is clear that the enthusiast Fedorov, who is now working on a five-year plan for the ONF and the entire Russian economy, has stolen a march on Vladimir Mai and Yaroslav Kuzminov who, also at Vladimir Putin’s request, have spent the last few months improving the Strategy for the Country’s Development until 2020. Before the birth of the ONF it was believed that a revised 2020 Strategy would be United Russia’s trump card in the parliamentary and presidential election campaign.

In light of recent events, adherents of liberal economic values can consider themselves belittled and offended as their labor has become unnecessary.

However, the director of the Institute of Globalization Studies, Mikhail Delyagin, is confident that both the 2020 Strategy and the ONF program are drafted and corrected primarily for the elections. The country will not operate in accordance with any one of those documents. As for the People’s Front’s program in particular, “it is an inherently fictitious, project that is only for show,” stressed the expert.

“Clearly, Fedorov’s institute should not draft a program for the country’s development, but an election campaign program, the main goal of which is to show that the People’s Front has a vision for ways to develop the country in the next five years,” Konstantin Simonov, the director of the National Energy Security Fund, agrees with his colleague. He recalled how much has been done to improve the 2020 Strategy.

The false impression was given that it would be a program of action for the next president – whoever it may be – in 2012. In reality, however, it was clear that no one plans to implement the policies prescribed in the document – just as no one will bother to follow the numerous sector-focused strategies today. “In Russia, there is no culture in which the leadership feels bound to strictly comply with campaign promises,” says Simonov.

By Igor Naumov

RT, 03 June, 2011

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Analytical series “The Political compass”:

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State Corporations in the Russian Economy
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«Centers of influence» in the Russian politics

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