On January 13, 2022, the Gaidar Forum-2022 sponsored by the RF Government started its work on the campus of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. Traditionally, the Gaidar Forum is the year’s first business event which sets the key vectors of the public agenda in the current year. The organizers of the Forum are the RANEPA, the Yegor Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy and the Association of Innovative Region of Russia.

RF President Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to the participants and guests of the Gaidar Forum-2022. In his message, President Vladimir Putin said:

“Your traditional forum invariably attracts the attention of Russian and international experts and is rightfully considered a respected platform for discussing current socioeconomic issues.

I would like to note that last year we managed, by and large, to overcome the economic impacts of the pandemic, restore employment and balance the budget. What we need to do now is not only consolidate these achievements but also carefully analyze the new trends which have recently appeared in business, science, education, healthcare and other spheres, and take them into account to ensure sustainable national development and improve the quality of life in the country.

I am confident that this forum will be held in a creative and constructive atmosphere, and that the initiatives and proposals advanced by its participants will stand all of us in good stead.”

The fight against the pandemic has made the whole world take a new look at the healthcare system. Medicine had to make a leap forward in the development of the infrastructure and telemedicine and at the same time the need of retaining personnel in the sector has become of crucial importance as never before. The key challenges and technological breakthroughs of the past few years have become the main topics of the discussion -- “Rethinking the National Health System” – held within the framework of the first day of the Gaidar Forum-2022.

Panellists: Radiy Khabirov, Head of the Republic of Bashkortostan; Stanislav Voskresensky, Governor of Ivanovo Region; Dmitri Makhonin, Governor of Perm Territory; Vladimir Zelensky, First Deputy Minister of Health of the Russian Federation; Аirat Farrakhov, State Duma Deputy; Denis Protsenko, Head Physician, City Clinical Hospital No.40; Sergei Notov, President, MedInvestGroup.

The foundations of the Russian market economy were laid 30 years ago. On January 2, 1992 prices were liberalized and on January 29, 1992 the decree on freedom of trade was signed. Twenty years ago, the world recognized officially Russia’s status of a market economy. Ten years ago, Russia joined the WTO. Thus, the Russian market was established. The Forum paid a particular attention to this important topic.

Panellists Alexey Kudrin, Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, Alexey Repik, Chairman, Delovaya Rossiya (Business Russia); Chairman of the Board, Group R-Farm; Alexander Shokhin, President, Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs assessed the success story of the domestic market, touched upon its specific and key challenges in the past years and discussed the agenda for the market economy over the next 30 years.

Also, the Forum focused its attention on the development of the national education system. There are ongoing public debates on the ways of upgrading the education system: some propose to return to the Soviet model, while others, to renounce the past and look for new ways and approaches which are consistent with changes in the economy, technologies and pace of living. Some suggest focusing on fundamental education, while others, on increasingly replacing it with applied knowledge and skills. The search is underway for combining efforts of university science with practice of professional communities.

Panellists in the discussion included Sergei Myasoedov, Vice Rector, Director of the Institute of Business Studies, RANEPA; Andrei Fursenko, Aide to the President of the Russian Federation; Anzor Muzayev, Head of the Federal Service for Supervision in Education and Science; Yelena Shmeleva, Head of the Talend and Success Foundation; Member of the RF Presidential Council for Science and Education. Speakers discussed the latest global and local trends on the education market, as well as opportunities and difficult challenges for its participants.

Мikhail Mishustin, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation addressed the participants of the 13th Gaidar Forum. Mikhail Mishustin noted that the venue of the Presidential Academy traditionally opened up the business year in Russia and set a high standard for discussing topical issues of social and economic development of the Russian Federation. Full version of the video address is available here.

At present, energy transition is a priority task which solution determines overall success in overcoming global challenges to mankind. A fundamental condition for the implementation of the concept of sustainable development is the successful transformation of the energy sector. In Russia, the underlying provisions for energy transition are two key decisions: the first was the official announcement of this country's transition to carbon neutrality by 2060, and the second was a strategy for low-carbon development. Clean and affordable energy is a prerequisite for addressing environmental, economic and social challenges. This is an important global trend which deserves experts’ particular attention. Panellists in the discussion included Alexander Plakida, Chairman of the Governing Board, Global Compact National Network Association and Anatoly Chubais, Special Representative of the RF President for relations with international organizations to achieve sustainable development goals. Sergei Sinelnikov-Murylev, Scientific Director of the Gaidar Institute, Rector of the Russian Foreign Trade Academy took part in the discussion on the Eurasian Economic Union’s contribution to the development of its member states. The Eurasian Economic Union has been

functioning for 6 years, and it has achieved tangible results in such a short period. By various estimates, from 30% to 40% of obstacles in the domestic market have been eliminated, the single market for services covers about 60% of services traded in the Union and preferential conditions of access to labor markets of the Union countries are envisaged for the EAEU citizens. The external contour of integration has been expanded by free trade zone agreements with Vietnam, Singapore, Serbia, an interim agreement with Iran and a non-preferential agreement with China. Integration solutions have an impact on the economies of all EAEU countries: in times of crisis they mitigate the fall, while in normal situations they facilitate additional economic growth. The EAEU economies cope better with the crisis than others (as shown by the example of the pandemic), but grow more slowly than the rest of the world. The EAEU has managed to build a sustainable platform that ensures stable, but still insignificant, growth. The next step is to attain growth rates surpassing the global ones.

Panellists in the discussion also included Alexei Overchuk, Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation and Andrei Slepnev, Member of the Board – Minister in Charge of Trade of the Eurasian Economic Commission. The speakers assessed the EAEU’s contribution to economic growth of the Union member states, its role in recovery of the EAEU economies after the pandemic, benefits and costs for the EAEU member countries from current trade agreements with external partners and opportunities to increase the positive effect of integration to outpace global economic growth rates.

One of the Forum’s first-day discussions focused on the development of fiscal federalism. The task of increasing the autonomy of constituent entities, as well as sustainability of regional and municipal finances was set by RF President Vladimir Putin in his Address to the Federal Assembly in 2021. In accordance with the identified priority, decisions were made on granting budget loans to regions, substituting commercial loans with budget loans, as well as taking other measures. But taking into account the aсcumulated problems (lack of revenue base required to secure the powers, increased costs of powers because of regulation of fulfilment thereof and other), the measures taken may happen to be insufficient enough. To solve comprehensively the task set by the RF President, it is necessary to elaborate a new model of inter-budgetary relations.

Panellists included Natalia Zubarevich, Chief Researcher, Institute for Social Analysis and Forecasting, RANEPA, Professor of the Lomonosov Moscow State University; Alexei Kudrin, Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation; Rustam Minnikhanov, President of the Republic of Tatarstan; Alexei Teksler, Governor of Chelyabinsk Region. The speakers touched upon the following issues: subsidy consolidation: opportunities and risks; subsidization and quality of governance, as well as potential for revenues growth; measuring of the quality of governance at the regional level; additional sources to replenish the revenue side.

The topic of the Eurasian Economic Union was further developed in the discussion on the Eurasian market’s integration potential. Sergei Sinelnikov-Murylev, Scientific Director of the Gaidar Institute, Rector of the Russian Foreign Trade Academy was the moderator of the discussion. Freedom of movement of goods in the EAEU is one of the four main indicators of the development of Eurasian integration, within which significant progress has been made and which determines the attractiveness of the Union for external partners today. About 60 obstacles have been removed since the EAEU was established. However, at the same time new obstacles have emerged, but the number of withdrawals is still high. In addition to existing impediments,

export restrictions on individual goods were imposed in 2020-2021 as a response to the COVID-19 crisis and to tame increases in prices. In the absence of customs control within the EAEU, the administration of such measures was complicated, leading, in particular, to the re-export of Russian grain through Kazakhstan.

The sensitive nature of individual obstacles impedes the achievement of full freedom of movement of goods in the EAEU, as well as the implementation of integration projects. If an obstacle cannot be removed without significant time and material costs to the member state, the use of modern digital solutions might help minimize the negative impact of such obstacles on business and ultimate consumers. Such a solution in synergy with the formation of a single transport services market and the development of international transport corridors that run through the EAEU may create a multiplier effect for the economies of the Union countries and fully realize the Eurasian market’s integration potential.

In the course of the discussion, the participants touched upon the following issues: What are the main achievements and challenges in removing obstacles on the EAEU’s domestic market and in what way can digitalization minimize the existing obstacles’ negative effects? How is digital traceability implemented today at the national and supranational levels? What challenges do the EAEU member countries face? Is there currently a solution to overcome difficulties caused by the principle of "residency" applied to customs clearance of goods? Can the interoperability of customs information systems help resolve this issue? How to solve the problem of export restrictions in the customs union? What EAEU country withdrawals need to be addressed to create a single market of transport services? How do existing obstacles affect the implementation of the Eurasian integration projects? Panellists included: Dmitri Volvach, Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation; Ruslan Davydov, First Deputy Head of the Federal Customs Service; Viktor Evtukhov, State-Secretary – Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation; Sergei Levin, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation; Nikolai Podguzov, Chairman of the Management Board of the Eurasian Development Bank.

Another discussion was dedicated to the topic of promoting financial literacy and households’ reasonable financial behavior. Financial literacy is a complex domain, suggesting comprehension of key financial notions and utilization of this information for taking reasonable decisions that facilitate households’ economic stability and prosperity. Financial literacy programs change the financial behavior of the population and promote financial stability of households. However, they may have a more profound impact on the economy, social processes and even the environment. Panellists included Alexander Auzan, Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Lomonosov Moscow State University; Mikhail Kotyukov, Deputy Finance Minister of the Russian Federation and Vladimir Nazarov, Director of the Financial Research Institute of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation. The speakers discussed the implications of improving households’ financial literacy for the economy and society and how financial education can facilitate reduction in poverty and inequality.

Other key sessions of the first day of the Gaidar Forum were the following:

· International Cooperation and Exports: Priorities

· Strategy of Social Development of Russia: Mid-Term Priorities

· Research and Education Centers: The Hope or the Headache of the Region

· Priorities for the Development of the Construction Industry and the Housing and Utilities Services

· How to Develop Fiscal Federalism?

· Cloud Capitalism

· Sustainable Development: Challenges, Threats and Opportunities for the Tourism Industry

· And also: Digital Ethics, A New Approach to Private-Public Partnerships, Social Entrepreneurship, Investment Development of Regions, Sustainable Development of Agriculture and much more.