Putin on the Private Sector

putin021208.jpgOnce in a while the Russian president will say something that no rational-minded person would disagree with:

A private company motivated to be effective will often be better manager than a government official who doesn’t always have an idea what is efficient management and what the effect must be. We also need to simplify the tax system and minimise possibilities for arbitrary interpretation of the law. We need to introduce tax incentives for innovative development. Overall, we need to work towards further reducing the tax burden and setting a single VAT rate that is as low as possible. We need to continue our work to establish an independent and effective judiciary that unquestionably guarantees entrepreneurs’ rights, including the right to protection from arbitrary action by bureaucrats.

Too bad it doesn’t seem to be true in practice. Both the bureaucrat Viktor Zubkov and the silovik Igor Sechin have been respectively pointed toward assuming the chairmanships of Gazprom and Rosneft, leaving the energy sector under tight political, not commercial, stewardship. More of the same, in other words.