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Сращивание теневой экономики и теневой политики

русская версия

Опубликовано на портале: 31-12-2010
Мир России. 2006.  Т. 15. № 3. С. 158-179. 
This paper is devoted to the problem of splicing of informal economy and informal politics in Russia. This research is based on a number of interviews with business and authority representatives. A lot of information was also gathered with the help of political consultants, who organized election campaigns of federal, regional and local levels.
The paper is divided into three parts. In the first part the balance between business and authority interests is studied in the case of ‘inormalization’ of the two. Exactly, the interconnection of these interests is analyzed. The second part is devoted to a more particular question – what strategies do businesses use in order to seize the power (authorities)? In the third part the use of the shadow capitals in election campaigns will be shown.
Business depending on informal politics The informal politics has two features. The first is the inconsistency between declarations and real actions. The second is particularism in relations between economic agents. The informal politics serves the interests of particular agents.
- in case of informal politics the intimacy between the authority and the business means:
- impunity or some minimal punishment for the violation of the economy legislation
- provision of tax benefits
- receiving of government orders to the detriment of fair competition
- profitable schemes for misappropriation of budget through dummy activities
- providing with preemptive information
- removal of unlikely competitors with the help of repressive authorities
- use of the government resources (financial, intellectual, power, etc.) for the firm’s development - higher priority of the firm’s interest in shaping of the legal system
The informal politics is used as a technology for the market redistribution, the establishing of spheres of influence, removal of competitors, etc. Political course is viewed as a means of inclusion in economic competition.
Authority’s interest in informal business Shadow politics demand shadow economy, reproduces it and has the use of its product. What gets the authority? The withdrawals from informal business are used for financing political projects, which provide victories for different ‘ruling parties’ and the defeat of the opposition. In that same line – political projects and the financing of the formally nothing-to-do-with-the-government organizations, which exert considerable influence on the forming of ideological part of development.
That means, that a compromise is set between the informal actors – the authority turns the blind eye on the process of informalisation in exchange for the financial provision of its long-run rule. That cannot be done by the legal economy. First, there’s no way it could be made to. Second, it will be exhausted by the taxes in total with the ‘voluntary offerings’ to different political projects. In case of the firm’s unwillingness to invest in political projects it can be wiped out quite legally. The authority reserves the right for the declaration of ‘war with oligarchs’, which is a resource for the electoral support, from the one side, and which supports the oligarchs’ striving for proving their helpfulness for these purposes, from the other.
There are two economies in the country, which are quite equal by their turnover – legal and informal. According to that there are two ways for the concentration of capital ‘at the top’ – legal taxation and illegal exactions as a payment, which supports informal schemes. The first one deals with the legal economy, the second – with its shadow counterpart. The first supplies the official budget and is spent on public projects, the second one supplies the informal budget, which is used for unsanctioned purposes.
Business strategies of ‘seizing power’ There are two strategies: ‘market’ and ‘investment’. With the first one an authority’s service is bought, with the second – the place in the hierarchy.
The prices for the decision of the authority depend on three factors:
- size of the rent, which can be obtained through the promotion of the required decision - duration of the rent
- rank of the official responsible for the decision
These factors act only as a trend. The price may vary greatly in the process of bargaining, where the social capital of the counteragents plays a great role.
‘Political investment’ is available in three forms:
- lobbying of the appointment of the executive post in executive branch
- promotion of the friendly candidate and providing his victory through different elections
- purchasing and financing the activity of a political party
‘Political investment’ is rather risky. The risks emerge from the following:
- change in the powers of the friendly official
- change of the official’s motivation towards his former ‘sponsor’
In this case the cutting of the governors’ powers by the Federal center is a demonstrative example – they lost their right to license sweepstakes and gambling establishments, regional brands of alcohol and subsurface use.
The compliance with the informal agreements between the authority and business is often based on power politics and the threat of the publishing of dirty facts. Besides that, the large business-structures have serious means of influence like the amount of taxes brought in the official regional budget, participation in social programs, more or less loyal attitude to its debtors, the importance of their activity for the social stability in the region.
Election campaign as a market of shadow services One of the most important investment priorities of the larger business is its investment in elections. These investments are mainly informal in character. The use of the ‘black’ cash during elections is practiced both, by the ‘left’ and the ‘right’ wing, by the ‘ruling party’ and the opposition.
In Russian election campaigns legal expenditures cover only the information, which can easily become known to the auditing authorities and political rivals. The rest of the activities are being funded from the ‘black’ cash. The official budget of the campaign is usually around 30%-50% of the real budget. But shadow money not only cover the extra-expenditures of the campaign, but largely form this fund. How are the shadow capitals introduced to the legal budget of the campaign?
In order to turn ‘black’ cash into ‘white’ non-cash dummy firms are used. It is not so usual for the ‘ruling party’ though. Because it requires no such means – it uses its administrative resources to force business conduct legal investment. A typical question here: why don’t political investors invest legally without such complex schemes?
First, such transformations complicate the tracking task of the size and the source of investment. Formally a political neutrality is demonstrated, especially when it concerns the opposition. It seems like their financial support emerges from nowhere, from the companies which are usually subject to liquidation.
Second, these schemes help saving. The proportions of the legal and shadow participation of a political investor depend on his private wish to show his political sympathies. That means, the sponsors of the ‘ruling party’ act more legally, than the ‘sponsors’ of the opposition. The election campaigns become more and more expensive with each year. At the same time business appears to have and investment hunger. It is obvious, that the most profitable investments in Russia today are not economic investments. They are political investments.
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