The new economic term “clutching”, which appeared with the light hand of First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, on the very first day of its existence cost the largest Russian metallurgical companies a loss of billions of dollars in capitalization. Not that this is the first time for Andrey Belousov – in 2018 he proposed to withdraw 1.5 trillion rubles from metallurgists and chemists. income, for which specific companies included in the list named in honor of Mr. Belousov are still grateful to him. Now we are talking about amounts that are an order of magnitude smaller, only 100 billion rubles, but there are also deeper differences.

The new economic term “clutching”, which appeared with the light hand of First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov in an interview with RBC, on the very first day of its existence cost the largest Russian metallurgical companies in the loss of billions of dollars of capitalization. Not that this is the first time for Andrey Belousov – in 2018 he proposed to withdraw 1.5 trillion rubles from metallurgists and chemists. income, for which specific companies included in the list named in honor of Mr. Belousov are still grateful to him. Now we are talking about amounts that are an order of magnitude smaller, only 100 billion rubles, but there are also deeper differences.

Then, in 2018, the idea of ​​Andrei Belousov, then an assistant to the President of the Russian Federation, was intended to stimulate private companies to invest in order to push economic growth. In fact, the authorities told the private business: “We see your income, and we do not like how you use it. Either use them more effectively from the state point of view, or we will do it ourselves. ” Although the formulation of the question clearly contradicts the concept of a market economy, and the effectiveness of investments created by such methods is not obvious, there was still an understandable strategic goal, which created a space for a compromise. After much debate, the Law on Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements was passed, which – at least formally – outlined the rules of the game for business.

Now the complaint against the business is not that it invests little (which is fixable), but that it earns too much. Moreover, the state in this dispute protects not some individual industries that depend on metal prices, but specifically itself – state infrastructure projects and state defense orders, which, according to Andrei Belousov, overpaid 100 billion rubles. due to rising metal prices. Accordingly, it is proposed to return this amount to metallurgists through the growth of the mineral extraction tax, because it turns out that private business cannot earn money from the state.

Unlike the situation in 2018, it seems that now there is no strategic goal behind the position of the authorities, but only a tactical one. The government and specifically Andrei Belousov, who oversees the infrastructure, wrote large-scale plans for infrastructure construction projects, for which there is now not enough money due to the rise in prices for materials. Although the budget for this year is surplus, it was decided to solve the problem at the expense of its “culprits” – metallurgists, especially since they have money. The question is now one – how exactly to withdraw this money in the most successful way. And the threat of increasing the severance tax (which threatens to become eternal) should convince the business itself to offer an alternative, less painful option. Companies have little choice: the nature of such “emergency” taxes, as we know from many examples starting with danegeld, is such that once you start paying, you cannot get rid of them later.