In Russia, there are two economies – the official and the shadow – everyone recognizes this. Rosstat even measures these seemingly invisible incomes annually. They grow – shamelessly, and leave – ruthlessly.
So, in 2017, Rosstat estimated the volume of the country’s unaccounted economy at 11.7 trillion. rubles or 12.7% of GDP.
And in 2018, more than 20 trillion. rubles circulated in the shadow economy of Russia, said no less official Rosfinmonitoring, noting that this is about a fifth – 20.7% – of the country’s GDP.
“We are losing 136 trillion. rubles a year – that’s six annual budgets! If we divide this amount by the entire population of our country, together with newborns, it turns out that each person was robbed for 1 million rubles a year, “he calculated State Duma deputy Nikolai Arefiev.
A parliamentarian from the Communist Party faction drew attention to the fact that according to the International Monetary Fund, in Russia the size of the shadow economy is already estimated at 38% of GDP, and also noted that in Soviet times this money was in the country. “If we take the lost taxes that have not been paid from the shadow economy, we get 15 trillion. rubles “, – added Nikolay Arefiev.
– Money from the shadow economy often returns to Russia under the guise of investments. That is, in fact, with our own money, we are slowly biting off tidbits, – he believes Professor of the Department of Political Science and Sociology of the PRUE Plekhanova, member of the Scientific Council of the ISPI RAS on the economic integration of the EAEU Vadim Evseev:
– In the reports of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, we see very serious figures for identifying those organizations that do not pay taxes. That is, there is a system, it is systematically increasing momentum to reduce the shadow economy. But not everything is so simple. Back in 2015, I conducted a study using the Keynesian model: the revenue and expenditure side should be equal, but it turned out that the revenue side of the budget was getting smaller and smaller, in contrast to the expenditure side.
I looked at the dynamics of this process and noted that on the one hand, there is an increase in private property, and on the other hand, social stratification or loss of control over state property is growing. This leads to the fact that the system becomes mismatched. How to reconcile it?
Here, of course, we are talking only about the regulatory framework and strict implementation. Second, many ethnic groups have emerged in Russia that are capturing certain segments and penetrating the network. And, of course, these ethnic groups are not interested in stabilizing the country, they are only interested in the withdrawal of resources from it. And, besides, it is now recognized that there are foreign agents in society, especially in the media sphere.
But there are the same foreign agents in the field of economics. And they destabilize the situation in Russia, contributing in every way to increasing the tax burden, which leads to the fact that all of us, striving to survive, try to escape this burden into the shadows – we spend money on ourselves, and do not give it to taxes. And there are many more reasons for the existence, growth and development of the shadow economy. But all this has been known for a long time, all the mechanisms are obvious. This is not nuclear physics with its unobvious probability. This is the economy – fixed assets, people … Everything is obvious here, all functions are clear. You just need to put these “puzzles” right, using the legal framework and control over execution.
“SP”: – Did I understand correctly that foreign agents in the legislative and executive branches of government of the country are hindering this?
– Undoubtedly. The geopolitical struggle has been, is and will be. She goes not only for life support resources. One of its further stages is geophilosophy, when the emphasis is on changing the consciousness of people. With a changed consciousness, it is not necessary to introduce tanks – a prepared ideological foothold on a foreign territory will make it possible to occupy it almost without hindrance.
We don’t have a lobbying law. And there are lobbyists pushing the interests of various financial groups in the government. Both in the government and in the State Duma. This is evident from the way some laws are passed and implemented. In my research, I have deduced the following pattern: the more officially registered lobbyists in the country, the smaller the shadow economy.
“SP “: – Yes, and in one of your speeches you noted that the state has more than enough tools to bring the shadow economy to light within one financial year – but since this is not done, it means that someone is interested in its functioning … Have you changed your opinion now?
– No, it was replenished with a new understanding. In my youth, I even stumbled in my research on the following result: it turned out that within 5% of the shadow economy contributes to sustainable development. I looked in foreign publications – almost everywhere like this, only in different gradations, for example, somewhere the shadow 3% benefit the entire economy, somewhere around 4%. After all, we have, as they say, bureaucratic barriers, outdated laws – and then the shadow economy, like a lubricant, is just for development.
On the other hand, with experience came the understanding that shadow money becomes a powerful lever for various abuses. The press is replete with articles on how to influence people, how to manipulate human consciousness … This, by the way, came to us from the West. And to manipulate people, you need a financial backing. But, I will note that if the money is institutional, so to speak, exposed, then it cannot serve as a financial basis for such manipulations. And unlit money can only be taken from the shadow economy.
And there are many pitfalls for us here. For example, such a “chaos” of our investment programs was organized. They urged: bring the programs, we will give money for their implementation. But then it turned out that before the investment program acquires legal status, it must be certified by a number of international organizations, and this is a very expensive process. That is, it was “ches”. Then rare earth metals were exported from Russia in kilograms without collateral. And there were many other things that remained in the shadows.
And shadow funds are often used to destabilize the situation in the same country where they were formed. Shadow money is exported abroad, and then, under the jurisdiction of some murky foreign company, they enter the country back as investment money. They are already freely used as collateral for the purchase of a plant or some other strategic resources. That is, in fact, they are slowly taking a bite of our money. And this process, it seems, is not going to stop, because Russia still has so many tidbits … Therefore, everything here depends on the political leadership.
“For a couple of years the state will close its eyes to the“ shadow ”people from among individuals, so as not to increase social tension during a crisis,” predicts Dmitry Krasnoshchek, head of the law firm Strategy:
“Coming out of the shadows” is no longer a slogan; it’s a trend when we talk about legal entities. For example, it is VERY expensive for a business to work with questionable counterparties who do not pay taxes. In the event of a tax audit, additional VAT and income tax will be charged “in full”. A check in three years can actually bankrupt a business, the amount of additional charges reaches values with 9 zeros. Business is now very attentive in choosing counterparties; in addition to their accountants, they often involve third-party auditors in order to avoid mistakes. All entrepreneurs now know what subsidiary liability is, many transfer personal property to relatives.
The situation is different with individuals. The development of online banking has reduced the share of cash settlements and increased the share of non-cash payments to 75%. You can pay for goods and services by regular transfer, it is very simple, which means it is in demand.
Of course, this is not entirely legal, because taxes must be paid on income from business activities. This is precisely where the future problem lies, which will surely arise. Individuals do not leave the shadows until the “rooster bites” or a couple of million rubles in taxes are additionally charged to a neighbor.
Articles about banks’ control over payments of individuals appear in the media, but this has not yet been applied en masse in practice. As soon as individuals are really tackled, problems will appear, the number of bankruptcies will increase, social tension will increase, although much more because of the pandemic. That is why the authorities do not touch the “physicists” yet. It’s a matter of time, the next couple of years.
– New technologies create new opportunities for those who like to hide their income in the shadows, – notes Yaroslav Kabakov, Chief Strategy Officer, FINAM Investment Company:
– In recent years, according to official statistics, the overall level of the shadow sector has been steadily declining. The actions of the Central Bank, the Ministry of Taxes and Duties and the Federal Customs Service significantly increased the exchange of information, which was reflected in the decrease in the volume of dubious transactions, the withdrawal of capital abroad and cashing out. Obviously, the pandemic has brought about significant transformations in both white and gray segments of the economy.
The increase in the volume of non-cash payments, the increased attention of the fiscal authorities in the short term led to an even greater reduction in the gray segment of the economy. On the other hand, the development of technology creates the preconditions for business going into the shadows due to new segments, including through the cryptoeconomics.