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Russians expect a new crisis but are not afraid of it

August 14, 2012, 15:43 UTC+3
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According to the polling centre Romir, a total of 56 percent of Russians expect a second wave of the global financial crisis, but only 28 percent say it would entail hardships. The latter figure was twice as big two years ago. Experts say that people are merely tired of being afraid of an apocalypse forecasted by economists.

According to latest polls conducted by the All-Russia Public Opinion Centre (VCIOM), consumer confidence of Russia has reached a peak in the past two year – as many as 41 percent of Russians consider the current moment as quite favorable for costly purchases and big spending, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily writes. According to another polling agency, Levada Centre, this summer Russians seem to be alien to panicky moods. More than a half of the polled, or 52 percent, say the political situation in the country is stable, a total of 45 percent say the same about the economic situation. Each tenth hopes for the improvement of the economic climate.

“Official media and television play a significant role in people’s attitudes towards the crisis consequences. These media diligently report about the government’s measures to get prepared for a crisis, claiming that it would entail no negative aftermaths for Russia,” the Novye Izvestia newspaper cites Anton Safonov, an Investcafe analyst. “That is why Russians tend not be very much afraid of the crisis.” People would believe in the crisis when it breaks out, said Alexander Turskov, a vice president of one of Russia’s banks. “Until that time they will still hope they would be lucky enough to avoid it. Nonetheless, a second wave of the crisis is quite real,” he warned.

The Russian government tends to think that oil prices are going to stay super-high for ever, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta quotes Petr Klyuyev, an expert from 2K Audit-Business Consultations/Morison International. “In the crisis and post-crisis years, the budgetary burden has considerably increased. Oil and other raw materials are chief budgetary revenues. But they are not enough to change the situation,” bearing in mind that businesses’ investment activity is low, he said. “Tax burden on businesses is toughening, instead of being eased, which drives businesses into shadow,” Klyuyev noted. “To change the situation with its ratings Russia needs reforms, but the government is unlikely to resort to them in the current situation. Reforms so needed in Russia to improve its investment climate are painful because they will inevitably limit budgetary spending. The ministry of finance already now suggests that expenses should be limited to a certain extent (the so-called budgetary rule for oil prices), but this rule will be fully enacted only in several years although more dramatic reforms might be needed earlier.”

In January-July 2012, Russia’s federal budget surplus was 0.9 percent of the GDP, the Kommersant writes. With budgetary revenues of 7.3 trillion roubles, spending in the first seven months of 2012 was about seven trillion roubles. But ongoing adjustment of global oil prices leaves the Russian government almost no hope for keeping the surplus when the year comes to an end. The ministries of economic development and of finance are already getting prepared to adjust the budget’s macroeconomic parameters this autumn.

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