In the Novgorod region, 42 per cent of ambulance stations were closed. In the Voronezh region 40 per cent of libraries were liquidated. In the Saratov region in 30 per cent of houses there is no sewage. The state debt of the Krasnoyarsk Territory only amounts to 109 billion roubles. However, 60 billion roubles were spent on the fountain in the centre of Grozny, Chechnya; 43 billion were spent on the stadium in St. Petersburg; 14 billion on the Zaryadye Park in Moscow; 107 billion were spent on the maintenance of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The Ministry of Finance found a solution to the problems of the regions. The recommendations on increase of revenue advise the regions to increase taxes on transport, make more paid parkings, make people pay interest on leasing their housing. Moscow’s tax collectors are teaching regional officials to squeeze out money from the population, “you don’t collect well, so there is not enough money.”
However, there are problems in the Russian economy not because of the regions, but primarily because of military spending (on the wars in Ukraine and Syria, the arms race and other adventures), because of corruption (even the Accounts Chamber revealed 1.9 trillion roubles of violations per year), because of the stagnation of production, because of the extremely inefficient economic system in general, and because of an absolutely incompetent foreign and domestic policies.
To truly remedy the plight of the Russian regions, it is necessary at least to do the following:
1. Establish distribution of tax revenues in equal proportions between the federal, the regional and the municipal budgets (for example, today 66 per cent of the Tomsk reigon revenues go to the federal budget, 28 per cent go to the regional budget, and only 6 per cent remain at the municipal level).
2. Change the priorities of regional budgets, for example, reduce the costs of security officers and officials, and send the released funds to the social sphere.
3. Increase the transparency of revenues and expenditures of the entire budgetary system, abandon the arms race, as well as multiple extremely inefficient and expensive “shop-window” projects.
The state of regional finance indicates serious and aggravating problems (see the “Analysis of the budgetary situation of the Russian regions”).