Petr Aven on the suppression of dollar and the Russian economy

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Soviet oil dependency

“From 1950 to 1970-th years the growth rates of the Soviet economy surpassed the growth rates in Europe and in the United States. The first calls of the attenuation of economic growth appeared in the second half of 1960-ies. If not for the discovery of oil in Western Siberia, the crisis would have happened much earlier. The Soviet economy was quite isolated, but the oil gave access to two things — the purchase of grain and the purchase of consumer goods. In the 1980-ies started a consumer boom in larger cities: there was a Finnish suits, German shoes and so on. But, even with oil revenues, the pace of growth began to fall. The main problem was that the fundamental economic model was built the planning Committee, the prices were regulated”.

Петр Авен о борьбе с долларом и экономике России

Unreal economy

“I was taught from textbooks that life did not reflect. They were stories about what the economy does not exist. Worked in Moscow, state planning Commission that determined the production and denounced it to the factory. I studied agricultural Economics, and we were sometimes allowed to look at real life. In 1985 I participated in the expedition to the Altai. In it, economists were allowed to go and see how decisions are made by the state planning Commission in the farms.

I was admitted to a meeting of the Communist party and watched for two days in the office to the first Secretary in turn included the chairmen of the collective farm, and they were asked how much they would take the land for a specific period. And each one gave some number — usually it was around 18 to 22 hectares. Then the question arises: why so few? The answer is because there is not enough equipment. Then the first Secretary said, give him equipment and fertilizers.

I immediately realized that this kind of game: each part of the Cabinet needs to leave not the smallest figure, otherwise he would have little aid from his superiors, and not with the largest, as otherwise it will not execute the plan. Then I found out that none of the farms actually is not getting more than 12 hectares of land. That is, it turns out that people traded for virtual reality. Virtual reality was the state planning”.

With the currency in your pocket

“In 1989 I went to Austria, he worked at the Institute, then I was invited to the government, and I had to write documents about how to make the national currency convertible. In the Soviet Union for possession of dollars was threatened with 10 years in prison — is known to all under the 88th article of the criminal code of the RSFSR. People have had an internal lack of understanding of how to live with the currency in your pocket. I was a Minister, spoke in the Supreme Soviet and was told that from 1 January we will cancel the 88-th article, in Moscow you can buy and sell dollars, the city after six months will be covered by a network of exchange points. I speak, and the room starts laughing. Then there’s one doctor and says: “Young man, do you understand that you lunatic?” Why? “Because dollars is not enough!”

After I spent at the Ministry meeting on the free course. I tell you what is Moscow currency stock exchange where everyone can buy the currency. Sit 20 people from the Ministry — very competent people. I gave each of the normative documents, which similarly explains the idea. Then the meeting ended, Deputy Minister raises his hand and says: “Comrade Minister, we all understand — the exchange sold and purchased, and the course-what, what number?” Then was a completely different world, and how it was different, today even realize. And if not for the stupid belief of young people in transformation, no change would have never happened.”

The main problem of the Russian economy

“There is a direct link between efficiency and competitive environment. I think the main problem we have today is suppressed competition. Alfa-Bank will only benefit from this — we have no competitor. For the Bank is good, and for the economy — bad.”

De-dollarization is bad

The abandonment of the dollar — is ineffective. This leads to the fact that it will be possible to change the axe on the skin. To date, this would cause enormous costs. But as the President said, Americans themselves were pushing us to this process. If Russian banks will be cut off from dollars, we have to do it. And that’s bad. I hope that by the rejection of the dollar will not come.

Digital Bank is a myth

“Russia’s banking system is healthy enough, and we must pay tribute to the Central Bank, which is able to provide. The problem is that in the banking sector, high share of state banks, and I hope that she will grow every day. I think the total number of banks in the end will be reduced to 200-300.

Overall, the banking business will increasingly go online, but to build a fully digital Bank. To reprovisioning only part of the functions, but the banks should still be people.”

Recorded Julia Titova