Payments to holders of government securities deposited in the Soviet Union are delayed to 2016. Comments of Natalia Kolerova on the article "Soviet bonds "were frozen"
21 February 2013
Good turn deserves another
Adopted back in 1999, a special federal law guaranteed full compensation to the owners of the USSR Government treasury bills, bonds, State Internal winning bonds and certificates of the Saving Bank of the USSR. To be mentioned, the corresponding payments could be obtained according to the money purchasing power on the current date.
The Ministry of Finance estimates the total amount of the “Soviet” debt as 25 trillion roubles, what is almost two times more than all the budget revenue. "It is clear that the practical implementation of restoring citizens' savings imposes on the federal budget excessive liabilities. If this happens in reality, the state will lose the opportunity to finance other expenses for a long time ", is stated in the report of the finance department.
As a result, the state "postponed" performance of its obligations first to 2004, then to 2005, etc. April last year, the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed an order on suspension of transferring of the Soviet securities into the Russian debt obligations until 2015. Now, Dmitry Medvedev "froze" the USSR obligations for one more year.
To be mentioned, a federal law that guarantees a refund is still valid. However, lawyers do not consider this as a contradiction. Thus, according to the lawyer of the “S&K Vertical” Natalia Kolerova, this federal law establishes only the right to transfer the Soviet government securities into the Russian debt obligations. "The suspension does not mean that the citizens are losing that right," she believes. "The legislature delegated to the Russian government the right to determine the procedure for transfer of securities”, says Nikolay Vilchur, director of the international consulting company “ Vilchur and partners". “Consequently, suspension of the decision means that the owners of the bonds, treasury bills and certificates cannot claim benefits for a certain period of time. In addition, the payment shall be made only according to the approved federal budget. Since the costs are not scheduled, this right cannot be execised".
Some owners of the “Soviet debts” are trying to sue the state (represented by the authorized operator to transfer money – the Sberbank of Russia OAO (JSC)), but the practice is controversial. For instance, Marina Ledina who came to the Sberbank with USSR government treasury obligations was forwarded to the police for “explaining how they were purchased “ because of the alleged questions raised about the authenticity of the securities. During the subsequent trial the bank lawyers did not deny the fact of the existence of obligations, but pointed out the omission of the limitation of action (the state refused of the securities in 1992, that is she had to file an action maximum in 1995). The court found these arguments justified and dismissed the case.
A little more "lucky" is Mr. Polukarov who bought savings certificates for 68,000 Soviet roubles (worth of three "Volga" - the best national car of the era). According to the data from the Federal Statistics Service, he estimated its securities as nearly 520,000 Russian rubles, but the court agreed with the position of the Ministry of Finance for compensation: there should be returned only 40 percent of the face value of the certificates in view of the denomination. After a long dispute an "honorable creditor of the Soviet Union and Russia" recovered 27 roubles 23 kopecks.
Some holders of bonds and other government securities try to apply to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). For example, a 72-year-old resident of the village of Shuya Yuri Lobanov,who once bought bonds of the state lottery loan for almost 20 thousand roubles (in 1982 - the cost of a large cottage), was able to get more than 37 thousands Euro. Considering his case, the Strasbourg Court has found a violation of property rights, finding unreasonable actions of the Russian authorities in "postponement" in pay of the promised compensation. In another case, Russia is obliged to pay to Maria Andreeva 4,3 thousands Euro.
During the nearly 70 years of the USSR existence the Soviet public finance system has released dozens of securities that were aimed primarily at attracting deposits. Initially, bonds were extended on a voluntary basis, and thereby an extensive propaganda was used (example of such a campaign is reflected in the comedy by Ilf and Petrov "The Twelve Chairs"). In the 30's subscription to purchase government securities has become de facto mandatory (corresponding amounts were simply deducted from the salary based on "voluntarily" signed statements), and any transactions with the bonds could be accomplished only with the permission of the special committees for the implementation of the loans (“komsody”). Later, payments on government securities were suspended for twenty years.