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Putin outlines Russia's economic tasks

January 30, 2012, 16:58 UTC+3

Russian Prime Minister outlines the economic part of his election program

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The Vedomosti business daily published another article by Russian Prime Minister and candidate for presidency Vladimir Putin entitled “Our economic tasks” and several comments on the issue.

The economic part of Vladimir Putin’s election program looks like a composition of prime minister’s recent statements, the daily said in its editorial. The article also contains some news, for instance the initiatives to put on public discussion state procurements exceeding 1 billion roubles and to include expensive cars into the list of cars subjected to a luxury tax.

Two things hit the eye, Vedomosti wrote. First, Putin speaks about the economy and primarily about the control over resources. The head of government defends his policy of resource concentration under the government’s control. Later he recognized partial failure (“most of the integrated structures had not become globally competitive”) and proposed to hold “an audit of these projects’ viability.”

Second, and this is more important that the economy for Putin is first of all a boring chapter in a textbook carefully separated from the chapter entitled “politics.” Meanwhile, if there is some public consent in Russia, this consent is that the economy without political reforms will not develop. Russia will be unable to resolve its key economic problems through duties, tax maneuvers and amendments to the law on state procurement. This is not what the president should talk about.

Putin mentioned the institutional reform and – this is the presidential level of the talk – only in connection with the need to attract capital, and even as a secondary point. He walked through it briefly “we should change the state, executive and judicial authorities in Russia.” This is of course, not a secondary point and not a technological task, this is a primary point and a systemic task. Putin’s refusal to notice it will not help much: in any case he or somebody else should engage in this business.

Putin pinned hopes for the country’s development not with “the new industrialization” what he mentioned earlier, but with the ability to overcome the technological lag and the creation of own technologies. This means that the party of institutions exerts an influence on the prime minister, which is good. Putin considers universities a key to resolving this task. It’s sad that he continues to have illusions about the level of education and science in Russia (“the high level of the population’s education; huge heritage of the fundamental science”). May be, it would be just to say this some 12 years ago, but a huge growth of pseudo high education institutions and mass brain drain of Russian scientists and researchers caused degradation in education and science, the daily underlined.

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