Who is going to be responsible for the budget?

The Russian Parliament will give the third reading to the draft budget 2002 at the plenary session today. The government and the parliamentarians do not have any contradictions on all the parameters of the future budget. The pro-governmental factions will vote for it and the communists, agrarian factions will vote against it, as usual, but the government does not seem to care much about it, since it has already had the necessary votes to support the draft budget.

The beginning of the morning session did not have anything special – there was no scandal. As RIA Novosti correspondent informed, several spokesmen for the communist factions offered to delay the session devoted to the third reading of the draft budget 2002. They claimed, the document did not take account of their suggestions in it.

Oleg Morozov – the chairman of the coordination council of four parliamentary centrist factions, the leader of “Regions of Russia” – called upon the leftist association “to stop the speculations.” He stressed that “during long talks between the spokesmen for the deputy associations and the government there was an agreement achieved to assign the additional 7.6 billion rubles for funding the Federation units.” Morozov added, if somebody’s opinion had not been taken into consideration in the budget, then “this deputy could not work well enough in the parliament.”

The suggestion from the leftist factions to delay the issue about the third reading was not upheld. The position of the communists and agrarians regarding the budget is not surprising to anyone in the government. Aleksey Kudrin, the vice-premier, the Minister for Finances of Russia thinks that the communist faction does not support the draft budget 2002 for the ideological reasons. He expressed this opinion on Thursday after the meeting with the CPRF faction (the Communist Part of the Russian Federation) – the meeting was devoted to the preparation of the draft budget for the third reading. Kudrin said the leftist factions “were trapped in their own ideological persuasions and they were not ready for the constructive work on the budget. At the same time he added, their negative position regarding the budget would not have any influence on the work of the government with each deputy, “no matter, what faction a deputy belongs to.”

“The draft budget was made in a trustworthy way, it preserved its social orientation even after the oil prices dropped. The budget will allow to guarantee the safety of the state the next year,” – said Kudrin.

The revenues of the budget 2002 will make up 2 trillion 125 billion 718 million rubles (pursuant to the draft budget) and the spending – 1 trillion 947 billion 386 million rubles. The proficit will make up 178 billion rubles. The volume of the Gross Domestic Product is scheduled in the sum of 10 trillion 950 billion rubles; the inflation rate on the results of the year is set on the level of 12%.

The reduction of the prices on oil, which has been highlighted lately, set several serious economic questions for the government. Will the budget cope with this problem? Will it be necessary to resort to sequestering? How will this situation affect the ruble rate and the inflation? It is obvious that the budget of the next year is rather optimistic: $23.5 per barren on the revenues, $18.5 – on the spending, the growth of the GDP – up to 10.9 trillion rubles. As it seems, it will be very hard to execute the budget. But there are a lot of questions to the government anyway.

Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru