. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bear Season Opens

The hunting season for "bears," or large-scale tax evaders, begins on Sept. 9. It is on this day that the main hunter will return from vacation, namely Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexander Livshits, who has made forceful promises to immediately busy himself in catching these plunderers. In an interview on the television program "Delovaya Rossiya" concerning the latest tax decrees, Livshits called [on the public] to read more carefully, take a philosophical attitude when reading the latest tax decrees but not to expect any sudden shocks. The decrees, according to the minister, should not be a cause for any major worries. Not for the bears, who, according to Livshits, will be asked, "What's the next move?" Neither for the majority of Russians, who shouldn't be even slightly affected by the decrees.


The decrees, which, as it turns out, do not contain anything new, were written only so that taxes could be collected "within the framework of current legislation." It is necessary for tax evaders who are entitled to neither tax breaks or deferments, to pay their fair share to the federal budget. ...


Mr. Livshits, unfortunately, did not disclose what methods the government planned to undertake in its "hunt for bears" and other tamer tax dodgers. I am inclined to believe, however, that if the new finance minister, who, now that the once-autonomous State Tax Service and the State Tax Police are under his control, has much more authority than his predecessor, really hopes to be able to "squeeze some bears," he is going to have to resort to extremely radical measures.


It is well known that the majority of Russia's non-taxpayers is concentrated in the fuel and energy complex. ...


Any serious "raid" on Russia's oil generals and gas barons will require enormous courage. ...


In order to force the bears of the fuel and energy sector, such as Unified Energy Systems, to pay taxes, the government must first solve the problem of total nonpayments, which, despite repeated efforts, remains unsolved.


However, I would certainly hope that the desire to "taste the meat of a bear" -- which, according to a hero from a story by Jack London, every real man should do -- will help Livshits overcome all obstacles and take the heights that even Iron [Anatoly] Chubais was unable to achieve.