Source Pravda.Ru

Looking at the Root of Things - 13 February, 2003 - News

Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry wants to possess ministry power and governmental status

Main lobbyists of Russian business, Russian Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen and Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, are seriously concerned with the issue of cooperation between the authority and capital. Several lobbyist campaigns which were carried by these organizations show the government does not hasten to use the experience of the united businessmen. However, it is obvious that it is cooperation between political elite and huge business on what stability and further development of the country depends. Though, the new bourgeoisie cannot find an effective key factor of influence upon the whole authority in general. But it does not stop making attempts.

At the yesterday’s sitting of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the chairman of the Committee on Financial Markets and Vice President of Russian Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen, Igor Yurgens offered new methods to intensify the business elite influence upon economical processes in Russia. The offer is really radical: in fact, business lobbyists propose to the state to share with them its power. In particular, Igor Yurgens said, it is necessary to hand over some regulating functions in economy to Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Chamber representatives had not invented this idea themselves. They had prepared very well by studying a lot of theoretical and practical information about the practice of foreign lobbyist organizations. This was why, Igor Yurgens seriously supposes, the Chamber must use the experience of western countries, whose chambers of commerce play a significant role in economy regulation, while membership in chambers of commerce is binding for every businessman.

“Russia also must go to the binding membership,” – Igor Yurgens said. But Russia is not Western Europe. It is something special.

Though, the Chamber Vice President seems to consider this quite OK to offer state functionaries refusing from their influence upon economical reality on their own free will. For Igor Yurgens, the Chamber could itself issue licenses and certificates settling economy disputes and, for example, prepare professional staff.

According to Mr Yurgesov, this would seriously weaken bureaucracy, for businessmen would address with their questions not to the functionaries, but to the Chamber representatives, elected on democratic base and not corrupted.

He also assumes, in some time, the Chamber will politically and economically represent interests of business. So far, this function belongs to Russian Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen. Though, what will be then the role of the Union, which now offers to businessmen a good opportunity to settle their conflicts without killers and mass media and to present their demands to the authority?

Ex-Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, who attended at the sitting, noticed in his speech “the government underestimates today the Chamber which must be annihilated at all.”

He is, probably, right. Though, I wonder, does the government share this opinion? And one more question: what will Union of Manufacturers and Representatives and Chamber of Commerce and Industry do with millions of functionaries who in fact shape now the real direction and freedom’s degree of economical development in Russia (certainly basing on their own economical interests)?

Akhtyam Akhtyrov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Vera Solovieva

Read the original in Russian: http://economics.pravda.ru/economics/2003/7/21/63/7063_lobbism.html

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