The road to the future: why Russia’s long-term strategy development

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The citizens of Russia there is a demand for a positive image of the future that will allow you to extend the horizons of decisions

Historical experience of Russian society inherited from the Soviet era and period of formation of post-Soviet Russia, a long time will affect the direction and logic of development of our country. Some of the consequences experienced by the society events, such as, for example, the Great Patriotic war, constantly discussed and analysed. However, there are hidden consequences, the effect of which on first glance does not seem important. But they can play a crucial role in the long term.

Trap survival

One of these often overlooked problems of the Russian society is the unwillingness or inability to think, “look forward” on large periods. According to regular public opinion polls, about 46% of Russians do not know what will happen to them in the coming months, another 36% plan their life for one or two years ahead. Dominated life strategy with a small planning horizon is to survive this week, month, year, and then we will see.

The “collapse” of the planning horizon is a consequence of several shocks in my life the last two Soviet generations. First, the idea of planning for the long term discredit the endless process of building communism in the USSR. Despite assurances that the Soviet people will live under communism in the future, this homo soveticus, not feeling any major changes in my life since the mid 1960-ies, was disappointed in the future. The subsequent unexpected collapse of the Soviet Union, education in one night boundaries where they were not, the need for on-the-go to adjust life strategies left a significant scar in the collective memory, constantly reminding about the dangers of building any long-term plans. This was followed by the 1998 default, when many people felt cheated and were convinced that associate the future with their savings does not make sense: after all, savings is not the first time just a few years. The crisis of 2008, though relatively easy to the experienced society (but not ended in the economy), the devaluation of the ruble in late 2014, a serious decline in revenues, the return of the rhetoric of the cold war, and the sanctions policy in General confidence to the Russians has not increased. Two periods of aspirations for the future — to mid-1990s and the 2000s years — was too short to have people formed the habit of working on long-term goals. At the same shock event in the economy undermined confidence in savings, and therefore, it is impossible to create the necessary resources for investment.

These constant “breaks” and “distortions” over the last 30 years formed the majority of the population two steady life strategy. First — take everything from life and now, as investments in the future still don’t work, the second is engaged only with their own problems and my family’s problems: here you can make a change.

The search for a great purpose

To rectify the situation could consistent execution of long-term solutions to the government. But not folded and with the implementation strategies of the state: successful “Strategy 2010” (known as the “Gref program”) was implemented in average by 36%, the long-term development of Russia till 2020 are already outdated at the time of its adoption. Priority national projects — an example of an effective, but manual control, not quality of structural reforms. Even by the may decrees of the President 2012 the targets is not fully met, and part was due to the changes in calculation methods.

So, in modern Russia does not like to form a complete, realistic strategy for the future. But about the future I like to dream. According to research by the Institute of national projects, socio-cultural characteristics of Russian society, measured by the method of Hofstede, include Russia both separately collectivist countries (broken into cohesive, but weakly trust each other, social group) and “feminine” — focused on long-term strategy, but as avoiders of uncertainty. Simply put, this set of attitudes gives rise to the need for continuous running to great purpose and offers an equally permanent “nedoverie” to her. We are always in search of something big and unifying, what I would like to aspire, — a special “Russian way”, communism, or national ideas, but are not ready neither to find nor to a universally accepted image of the future, not to build the road to it, nor even more gradually on this road to go. The above shocks only strengthen us in similar socio-cultural characteristics.

But this does not mean that Russia is doomed forever to wander in the dark. To the aggregate of such characteristics should be treated as initial conditions to consider when implementing any sort of policy. On the other hand, it is necessary to focus on what is happening with the Russian society and elites today.

: ZIRCON research group recently conducted a large-scale expert survey (involved both Pro-government and opposition experts). The most interesting result of the survey is not so much in those predictions, which were made by the respondents, as in the dispersion and the alignment of their assessments, showing that the consensus forecast of no future even among those who possess all the instruments of forecasting.

The authorities have also no clear vision: information resources focused on the successes of the past and news of the present, but not answering questions about Russia in the long term 10-20 years; indicators latest economic forecasts change rapidly, and likely to prove overly optimistic. The transition in 2015 with a three-year budget at the annual further reduce the planning horizon departments, and a return to a three-year plan still looks formal. Financial behavior of Russians is characterized by or forced decision to spend all at once, leaving nothing for the future, which indicates the exhaustion of domestic budgets, or short-term savings in banks. And then, and then speaks further “collapse” of the planning horizon: people save because of uncertainty, postponing close on a rainy day, not believing in a steady income “tomorrow.” And trust companies to the strategies of saving for the long period we need, that confidence is almost directly converted into economic growth.

The window of opportunity

But in a total of uncertainty there are significant positive property. When a large number of active social and elite groups equally there is no clear image of the future is erased and the key contradiction that divides them. Formed effect of homogeneity, is able to produce high responsiveness and willingness to compromise.

From October 2016 the Centre for strategic research under the project “Russia’s future: a positive agenda” held a series of working sessions “Peering into the future: Russia in ten years” in the Russian regions and continued interviews and discussions about the future. The thoughts and ideas of respondents, there are several key intersections: understanding the necessity and inevitability of change, the demand for marking purposes and a description of the image of the future that answers the questions about the development and role of human rights in Russia and of Russia in the world in 10-15 years, the demonstration of a clear program of action to achieve that future. All are tired of the uncertainty, and our society began to strive to avoid it, which also fits into our socio-cultural specificity.

This means that the chances to overcome the fragmentation of Russian society and described above the impact of previous historical periods high. The demand for positive images of the future, clear objectives that will lengthen planning horizons, decisions, and will connect the country’s development and the well-being of each person is huge.

Question two: will we be able to seize this window of opportunity and who will do it. The positive scenario is — structural reforms will allow the 2035 to double the GDP (by 2025, GDP will grow by 37%), 90% increase in real wages, to increase the share of non-oil exports non-energy products from 34% (in 2016) to 50% in 2029, and 61% by 2035 and then to be among the leaders.

The main driver of development in this scenario, the source of growth in Russia is the realization of the potential of each individual in the Commission of a structural turn to tech, innovation economy. But for us to accomplish such a reversal, it is necessary to add together the three components of success, taking into account our national characteristics: to determine the vectors of change that is acceptable to the main social groups to find a shared image of the future, for which our “collectivist worldview” want to run, create a realistic plan of movement towards this future — one that will give strength for a new leap. To be among the world leaders in the next ten years will have to run and run faster than the rest of the world.

To connect the demand for change and ambitious goals through clear mechanisms of implementation, suggest changes, which prepare the country to create a plan of action to be feasible, are the main objectives of the Strategy of development of Russia 2018-2024 years.

The authors ‘ point of view, articles which are published in the section “Opinions” may not coincide with ideas of editorial.

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