Author`s name Ольга Савка

Medieval market technologies in the Moscow region - 11 September, 2002

Russia is a mystical country.  The Russian government is doing its best to convince the Western community of the fact that Russia is going along the civilized road of development.  The USA and the European Union are ready to acknowledge  Russia as a country with market economy. Yet, there are a lot of contradictions, when it comes to the issue of civilization. Common economic conflicts in the Moscow region are sometimes solved  with medieval methods.  If such conflicts happen in the West, then they are usually over with in five minutes. The conflicting parties are the authorities and local monopolies.

The General Director of the state unitary enterprise Mosvodokanal (Moscow Water Channel) Stanislav Khramenkov arranged a press conference today. During the briefing, he told journalists that the administrations of such  Moscow region towns as Lyubertsy, Balashikha and Krasnogorsk refused to pay his company for drinking water deliveries.

He claimed that the debt of all towns and municipal institutions of the Moscow region  made up over 30 million rubles this year. The director of the Moscow water supply company  stated that all attempts to  settle this question with the Moscow regional administration ended up with a failure. It deems that the governor of the Moscow region, Boris Gromov, is not willing to deal with such a trifling matter.

Those non-payments can be explained easily, though. Regional administrations and municipal institutions do not have any money.  This is it.  It is the beginning of autumn,  debts should be paid to teachers and doctors and other budget-related employees.  Moscow water supplies are there in the background. In addition to that, peatbog and wood fires devastated the treasury of the Moscow region. The fires are still going on, by the way. On the other hand, if the Moscow Water Channel  delivers drinking water,  then it should be paid for. Yet, if those deliveries are stopped,  there will be demonstrations and fights and so on.

In the beginning of the year, Moscow Water Channel cut the deliveries of drinking water to several towns of the Moscow region. Nothing extraordinary happened.  Everything was quiet. Common people are actually used to such things, so they just filled their bath tubs with water. Yet, local authorities were not going to pay anyway.

There is another side  to this story too. Moscow Water Channel owes  to another company of the region – Mosenergo. The debt of the water company to the energetic one makes up almost 70 million rubles.

The Moscow Arbitration Court  would not be over with this case.  The litigation  has already been delayed several times. Moscow Water Channel  filed a counterclaim against Mosenergo  in the sum of 16.9 million rubles. The companies are blame-shifting.  And this is the truest vestige of the market economy in Russia, no matter what state officials say.

Both Moscow Water Channel and Mosenergo keep on demanding money for their unpaid services. Lots of negotiations have been conducted with debtors, but no one tends to execute any agreements.

Kira Poznakhirko

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