As Russia’s top leadership plunges into the rhetoric of the stagnant Soviet Union – rocket-swinging and the logic of “besieged fortress”, and the government reverts to Soviet-style price controls, big business begins to realize that the economy is moving towards a state planning model.
The idea of Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, who demanded that metallurgists return 100 billion rubles to the budget received from the rise in metal prices, is “an indelible syndrome of the state plan,” said on Monday Viktor Lisin, President of the Russian Steel Association, Chairman of the Board of Directors of NLMK Group …
According to Lisin, who ranks third on the Russian Forbes list with a fortune of $ 26.2 billion, Belousov’s short message “expressed a lot.”
The deputy prime minister, who is considered the ideologist of the Kremlin’s national projects, believes in a “ring of enemies” around Russia and was one of the few top officials who immediately supported the annexation of Crimea, accused metallurgists of “pushing the budget” by raising prices for metal products on the domestic market following the global ones.
Belousov warned that the state has mechanisms to take excess profits from business and instead suggested that metallurgists “think together” how it would be more convenient to give the amount set by the state. “Here’s the price tag,” said the Deputy Prime Minister.
“Pull on” is not a very common verb, but well-known dictionaries explain the meaning of this word as “a hood (hat) pulled over the forehead or over the eyes.” Here, for sure – so as not to see a double increase in tax payments of an industry competing in the global market, “Interfax quotes Lisin’s answer.
According to the businessman, the government seems to pretend that it does not see that “the amount of taxes to the federal and regional budgets already exceeds the amount of“ claims ”, ignores a significant increase in investment in the industry, as well as the fact that the owners of shares in metallurgical companies are and individuals who “will not receive the calculated dividends”.
Lisin recalled that metallurgists offered to provide lists and types of products for targeted support of sensitive social objects and are ready to provide them. “We will work one day for free – this is 200,000 tons of products,” he said.
Earlier, metallurgists offered the state metal at a discount of up to 30% for infrastructure construction projects and socially significant projects. This became known after the FAS opened a case against NLMK, Severstal and MMK, suspecting them of a cartel conspiracy.
Developers were the first to complain about the rise in metal prices in Russia, and in April they were joined by Russian Railways, whose budget was cracking at the seams of the largest construction site – the Eastern polygon of BAM and Transsib.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, prices for cold-rolled and hot-rolled steel in the country increased by more than 80-90%, galvanized steel – by more than 90%, and polymer-coated steel – by 70%.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is aware of a significant increase in the income of metallurgists in 2020, said the press secretary of the head of state Dmitry Peskov.
“Indeed, the prices were very high, indeed, additional profits were formed,” he said, adding that “the government is dealing with this issue, in fact, together with the participants in the business.”
“It is hardly necessary to look for the guilty here, this is economic life: business makes money, the state receives taxes,” Peskov emphasized. He added that “when there is some kind of imbalance, the state evens out this imbalance.”