Staunton, November 7 – Moscow hasmoved beyond imposing ever more unfunded liabilities on the regions, demanding thatthey carry out various programs even though it leaves them with ever fewerresources to do so. Now the center is giving the regions advice on what theymust do to extract more money from the population -- so they can send it toMoscow.
The finance ministry has sent out aletter to ten pilot regions suggesting they tighten control over such things asthe registration of migrants and the renting of property even to the point of organizingraids on businesses and apartments so the regions can collect more income (minfin.ru/ru/perfomance/regions/methodology/and newsru.com/russia/02nov2018/minfin.html).
The document is cast in the form of recommendationsfor the regions to be in a position to boost their own economic development,but given that any additional income the regions would take in would either beviewed as the basis for the imposition of new taxes to be paid to Moscow or anew excuse not to give the regions more aid, it is clearly a two-edged sword.
That is, the regions might in factderive some benefits by taking in more income from the population, but theywould likely lose much of it either by being forced to hand over a large partof their income as now to the central authorities or find that Moscow would useany improvement in the situation of the regions as the basis for cutting backon assistance further.
The After Empire portal makes that pointexplicit today, saying that the latest finance ministry recommendation isnothing but an update of Dmitry Medvedev’s famous remark, “there is no money,but you hold on.”Now, the regionalistportal says, what Moscow is saying is give us all that you have and take evenmore from the citizenry (afterempire.info/2018/11/07/control/).
This is aclear indication of just how tight money has become as Russia’s economic crisiscontinues and how once again the regions are being asked to bear the burden forMoscow’s imperial adventures, adventures that the site suggests are the onlyjustification that the imperial center has for continuing to exist.
But byhighlighting that reality, the portal suggests, Moscow with this latest stepwill further infuriate the already hard-pressed regions and lead more of themto question why they should be paying for Russia’s involvement in far awayconflicts when there isn’t enough money for schools, hospitals and roads.