Failure to collect taxes remains the Russian government’s major headache. Tax revenues have been far below expectations this year and forecasts for the future are even more pessimistic, Finansovye izvestiya reported May 28. During January through April 1996, the federal budget collected 58 trillion rubles in taxes, 15.5 trillion rubles (or 22.6 percent) less than planned. And the government’s tax collection record is getting worse, not better. January’s tax income was 13.9 trillion rubles, February’s 12.8 trillion rubles, March’s 17.6 trillion rubles, and April’s 13.5 trillion rubles. Of the 19.6 trillion rubles that should have been collected in May, only 4.85 trillion rubles had been collected by the middle of the month. All attempts to improve the efficiency of tax collection have so far failed. The tax burden remains very uneven and the large shadow economy pays no taxes (apart, of course, from what are believed to be vast amounts of protection money paid to criminal gangs). (Finansovye izvestiya, May 28)
Russian Minister Predicts Financial Backlash if Communists Win.