Thursday, December 31, 2015

Russia eyes trillion rubles from privatization in 2016: finance minister | Reuters

Russia eyes trillion rubles from privatization in 2016: finance minister | Reuters

Here's the way they tell the story:

"Russia aims to raise 1 trillion rubles ($13.53 billion) from privatization next year, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said in an interview aired on Thursday, signaling a major acceleration of plans to sell state assets. These plans, ambitious on paper, have largely ground to a halt over the last three years against the background of poor stock market conditions, exacerbated by a plunge in oil prices and Western sanctions linked to the Ukraine conflict. However, the same negative economic developments also mean that the government is increasingly strapped for cash, giving it an incentive to speed up privatization as an alternative to raising taxes, cutting spending or exhausting fiscal reserves."


Privatization in Russia is basically another word for corruption, and here they go again. In the US privatization usually means contracting out, regulated monopolies, concessions, franchises, or vouchers. In Russia, as in Europe, it usually means selling off public assets that were built and maintained at public expense, and that now become the property of some plutocrat who is, of course, not paying huge bribes to government officials, so don't ask. In case you were wondering what could be left to privatize, after they sold off the government industries and farms in the early 1990s, the answer is simple: oil companies. After all, as somebody put it, Russia has become a big gas station that produces almost nothing the world wants except oil and gas:
 "He added that "in the first instance" the state oil firm Rosen (ROSN.MM) was being prepared for privatization. Bashneft (BANE.MM), a smaller oil company that was renationalized last year, is also under consideration."

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