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Four Russian roubles given for one Soviet

July 12, 2013, 12:47 UTC+3

The Finance Ministry is determined to close the problem of compensation for pre-reform deposits

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The Kommersant wrote on Friday that the Russian Finance Ministry had submitted a draft law to the government to change the state approach to the compensation for pre-reform deposits of the population in Sberbank and the Gosstrakh insurance company. The 1995-law-promised full compensation with issuance of state securities during an indefinite period (at the 2013 rate of 85 roubles for one Soviet rouble) will be replaced with 4:1 payments during the period to the end of 2020. The Economics Ministry in its conclusion on the draft law described the new rate as inconsiderable and spontaneous. The Finance Ministry explained it by real budget possibilities.

With the draft law on repayment of the Russian internal state debt for pre-reform savings of Russian citizens and recognition of some laws as not valid any more with conclusions of appropriate ministries, the Finance Ministry is determined to close the problem of compensation for pre-reform deposits, raised by the pro-communist Duma in 1995 before the 1996 presidential elections, the newspaper notes.

The question is one of deposits of Russia citizens in Sberbank opened before June 20, 1991, the newspaper notes. The sum of guaranteed savings totals 345.5 billion rbls. The full compensation, as the Finance Ministry explains, with the rouble purchasing capacity in 2013 taken into account, would increase the internal state debt by 29.6 trillion rbls, six times as much as the present sum and almost three times as much as the federal budget volume.

Such conversion would lead to a catastrophe of Russian finances, the Finance Ministry noted in its explanatory note to the draft law. So, taking into consideration that it is unreal to fully restore the savings, the ministry suggests annulling the 1995 law and approving another scheme of compensations - to increase the remaining Soviet deposits four times. The Finance Ministry intends with the scheme to repay 340 billion rbls in seven years and suggests finally closing the theme of pre-reform deposits after the repayment. According to the Finance Ministry's documents, 150 billion roubles will be earmarked for the purposes in 2014-16.

The Economic Development Ministry, in its conclusion, criticized the document. The Kommersant cited Deputy Economic Development Minister Oleg Fomichev as noting that the full compensation under the 1995 law meant repayment of 85 roubles for one deposit rouble. There is no substantiation in the draft law and the explanatory note why the rate is as low as 4:1. Between the levels of 85:1 and 4:1 there is enough space for options. The Finance Ministry has made its choice proceeding only from the level comfortable for the budget. As it is of high social importance, the draft law needs additional work, the Economic Development Ministry believes.

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