Ideas shared by policy outsiders

The analysis of the ideas supported by the policy specialists, without direct involvement in policy-making, demonstrates that there were no alternatives to the liberal policy paradigm for restructuring of the Russian HUS sector. The 'outsiders' by and large shared the same ideas as the policy-makers. Their critical comments and suggestions mainly related to the level of application or settings of key policy instruments.

The greatest share of criticism, expressed by these specialists, was directed at the instrument of HUS price deregulation. The outsider experts proposed a number of policy settings to mitigate the consequence of price increases for the poor and to preserve social justice (Krylova, at Krugliy Stol, 1997; Buynov, 1997). Farid Tagi-Zade, professor at Pamfilov Academy in Moscow, for instance, argued that the transfer of the costs of capital repairs to the population was in most cases unfair and meant that the people would have to pay for years of housing under-investment during the Soviet period (Tagi-Zade, 1992). The state, therefore, had to provide help to the low-income families living in substandard housing. Also, a selective approach had to be taken to price increases. For example, some payments could be transferred to the population immediately (for instance, waste collection or cold water consumption); yet, they asserted that it would be unfair to make the residents of older buildings pay for excess heating consumption caused by a poor building design. Finally, these specialists also argued that if measures were not taken to protect low-income groups from utility price increases a wave of mass non-payments would follow (Viktor Ivanter at Krugliy Stol, 1997).

Furthermore, it was highlighted that by making residents of substandard accommodation pay higher rents, policy-makers would jeopardise mortgage borrowing, as those residents would be left with less income to use towards mortgages (Guzanova at Krugliy Stol, 1997). Other points of criticism included the excessive reliance on US housing practices (Belkina and Khovanskaya at Krugliy Stol, 1997; Del', 1992). The particular point of criticism related to government plans in 1997 to set the maximum household housing expenditure at the level of 25 per cent of average family income. Galina Khovanskaya and Valentina

Massarygina, for example, called for a study of wider international experience in this regard (ibid.).

Finally, these experts like a number of other specialists within the policy network supported the instrument of centralised state tariff regulation (Tagi-Zade, 1992a, 1992b; Tagi-Zade and Yaroshevsky, 1992). This instrument represented, in their view, an important anti-monopoly measure and was seen as an instance of 'planning in market conditions' (Novoselova, 1992).

Overall, this section has demonstrated that there was no alternative to the market restructuring of the HUS. It can be said, therefore, that the simple paradigmatic choice was present in this area.

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