Now such a rating is more relevant than ever. Moody's confirmed Russia's rating at Baa3 (this is the penultimate step in the investment category), and at the same time predicted long-term stagnation and a low level of investment activity due to a possible expansion of sanctions pressure, a ban on technology supplies, corruption and other troubles. At this point, the authorities of each region need to show everything they are capable of. A national rating from the Agency for Strategic Initiatives could stimulate competition among regions and help investors decide where to invest their money. But Novye Izvestia had a lot of questions about the results of this rating and the methodology for assessing the investment attractiveness of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation.
Moscow took the first place in the rating. There is nothing surprising here. The city authorities may not do anything, but all the same, both people and businesses strive here - there are the most opportunities, the most connections with the right people, the greatest demand for goods and services. Tatarstan is traditionally in second place (since 2019). This is also not news: the republic often becomes a testing ground for developing new technologies and techniques, Innopolis was built there, there is oil and money for the implementation of infrastructure projects. Tyumen Oblast closes the top three, which last year was not even included in the top 30 regions. Such a take-off can hardly be called a miracle: Natalya Zubarevich, Chief Researcher at the Institute for Social Policy of the National Research University Higher School of Economics, recently noted that investments in the region decreased by 11% in 2013-2019, and in 2020 sank by another 9%. Although before that, the Tyumen region was in the top: in 3rd place in 2019, in 2018 - in 1st place, and in 2017 - in 6th place.
Rapid ups and downs are generally very characteristic of this investment rating: now Bashkiria is in 5th place. Quite surprising against the background of last year's state seizure of the Bashkir Soda Company. It was the loudest seizure of property in Russia since Yukos. For investors, such cases usually act like a red traffic light - no one wants to work in such unpredictable conditions. But unpredictable movements in the rating table are a common thing for the ASI rating. So in 2017, for example, Chuvashia overtook Moscow, the Moscow region, the Tyumen region and the Kaluga region, which was able to attract manufacturers of cars, their components and household appliances, and was in second place in the rating. Although the change in investment attractiveness is not a quick thing. It requires a revision of many bureaucratic processes, digitalization, the development and implementation of support programs, the construction of infrastructure, not to mention a change in the very attitude of officials towards investors.
What are the reasons for such sharp leaps, which do not always harmonize with the surrounding reality? Let's look at the assessment methodology. Objective numerical indicators were not a priority for ASI. Most points are awarded based on expert assessments and interviews with entrepreneurs. The approved methodology shows that 27 parameters are based on surveys, 4 indicators are based on expert assessments, and only 7 indicators are based on official and objective statistical data. The results of the polls, as can be clearly seen from open sociological studies, can be interpreted exactly the opposite. So last week, VTsIOM concluded that more than half of Russians are ready to pay higher taxes, although the wording of the questions “Taxes can be high, if only poor people could receive more support from the state in the form of free services (education, health care, security, etc.). other) ”may indicate that people want to receive more support from the state. Moreover, 24.6% of the population, according to FinExpertiza, receive less than 60% of the national median disposable income and fall into the category of poor according to the international classification. And the median income itself is small - about 27 thousand rubles a month.
Let's go back to the ASI rating. The question is simple: "Who are the judges?" The Expert Council consists primarily of representatives of related governmental organizations: OPORA RUSSIA, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, Delovaya Rossiya, Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Russian Direct Investment Fund, Ministry of Economic Development, VEB.RF, RANEPA, The Boston Consulting Group (were noticed in representing the interests of the Moscow authorities against the interests of the population) and others. Real business is on the sidelines.
It turns out that the rating is purely subjective, and the share of objective indicators that can be checked is minimized. Moreover, it is impossible even to find out from official publications on the basis of what indicators a particular region has fired. All this looks more like a big PR-action of individual heads of regions and republics. We can only hope that it is not very expensive and not at budget expense. Believe it? We are also not very...