Le futur de l’économie russe
On trouvera ci-après les réponses que j’ai données lors d’une interview électronique avec le Club Valdai au sujet de l’avenir de l’économie russe, dans le contexte de faibles prix du pétrole, et qui a été publiée sur le site Russia Direct. Ont aussi participé à ce débat Danila Bochkarev, EastWest Institute fellow on economic security issues (Bruxelles, Belgique) et Radhika Desai, professeur au Department of Political Studies et directeur du Geopolitical Economic Research Group, à l’Université du Manitoba (Canada). Le texte est en anglais.
- Oil prices could be entering a bear market, with some experts now predicting prices falling to as low as $40 per barrel. What are the implications for Russia’s economy?
There is no certainty that oil prices will stay for very long around $40 a barrel. Most forecasts are putting prices at between $55 and $60 for 2017. Anyway, the stimulus for economic reform and economic restructuring will be great in Russia, but I believe this will be induced much more by the geopolitical context than by oil prices.
The global conflict with the U.S. will still dominate the geopolitical situation and Russia, for its very survival, will have no other option than to evolve toward an economy much more based on internal investment and consumption. For the next twenty years we will see a trend toward a “de-globalization” of major economies. This trend will both present a challenge but also offer major opportunities for Russia. It will push Russia toward more high value-added and innovation-based production methodologies.
- What may become new sources of Russia’s budget revenues? Industrial sector? Changes in tax policies? Something else?
The main issues for fiscal policies will be a diversification of budget revenues, with a more progressive income tax, a greater contribution from the non-hydrocarbon sector, but also a rationalization of tax incomes on all natural resources. What is obvious is the fact the tax share in national income could and needs to be increased.
One of the issues in Russia today from the point of view of helping the economy in the long-term is the sustainability of fiscal policy, particularly from the revenue side. It means that the Russian economy needs to be more diversified. Russia is a leading exporter of raw materials and it is not necessarily a bad thing. The question is how it is managed.
- Should Russia weaken the ruble to encourage industrial production or to keep it strong to have money go to work in the economy, in particular, to invest into low-profit businesses?
Certainly, Russia will have to maintain a low ruble for the next five to ten years to come. A weak ruble not only benefits industrial exports but it also reorients consumption toward national products. This is important both for agriculture and the agro-industrial sector. The main issue, then, will be to develop an efficient enough financial system allowing some profits coming from this weak ruble to be reinvested in other sectors where immediate profits are not necessarily high in the short term, but would become greater with time.
- Which successful recipes of resolving such a paradoxical situation you may remember (in world economy)?
Actually, Russia could benefit from the post-1945 French (or Italian) economic model. Both countries, France and Italy, exited from the war with huge damages but also a huge lag by comparison to Great Britain, or the USA or even Germany. They were still by 1945 partly agricultural and rural economies. The economic model then adopted allowed them to catch-up with more developed economies and to transform their productive system into well-managed, modern industrial ones. To some extent the post-war Japanese model, emulated by Taiwan and China is quite similar and worth to replicate. Russia has to desintoxicate itself with its fascination for the US or the British economic system.