Tax reforms and elections in modern Russia

Igor A. Mayburov, Anna P. Kireenko


The article is devoted to the study of the tax reforms in modern Russia. Tax reforms carried out since the beginning of the 1990s are analyzed in connection with the cyclical repetition of the stages of the electoral process, or the so-called electoral cycle. The research methodology includes the calculation of indicators characterizing the change in the tax system and the analysis of their dynamics at various stages of the electoral cycle. The main quantitative and qualitative indicators are: the tax burden on the economy as a whole (nominal and real); the tax burden on individual elements of GDP (on wages, on gross profit, on actual final consumption); the number of changes made to tax legislation; terms and procedure of tax amnesty. Three stages of tax reforms have been identified (1993–1996, 1997–2000, 2001–present) for research in modern history of Russia. The first two stages of tax reforms directly coincided with the electoral cycles. The third modern stage of tax reforms is implemented during several electoral cycles. The revealed influence of elections on the tax system of Russia results in a cyclical increase of the tax burden on the main elements of GDP in the first years of cycles and lowering of the tax burden in the final years of electoral cycles. In the elective period for elections to the State Duma, the nominal tax burden on the economy is always reduced. In the election year and next year of the electoral cycle, there is an increase in effective rates for profit, consumption and labor. In the final years of the electoral cycle, there is a decrease in effective rates for profit, consumption and labor. Thus, the results of the study confirmed the assumption on the existence of a relationship between tax reforms and elections in Russia and the possibility of increasing the tax burden in the short term


1. The relationship between tax reforms and electoral cycles in Russia is unambiguously present. The intensity of the relationship is determined by the degree of competition in the elections

2. The electoral cycles for the elections to the State Duma of the Russian Federation have a stronger impact on tax reforms in Russia

3. Legislative activity on reforming the tax system of the Russian Federation is associated with the stages of the electoral cycle (declining in the election year in the State Duma and increasing in the pre-election period)

4. Tax amnesties are unambiguously connected with the electoral process and their conduct is confined to the elective period

For citation

Mayburov I. A., Kireenko A. P. Tax reforms and elections in modern Russia. Journal of Tax Reform, 2018, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 73–94. DOI: 10.15826/jtr.2018.4.1.046

Article info

Received March 12, 2018; accepted April 15, 2018


Tax reform, transformation of the tax system, tax burden, tax legislation, tax amnesty, electoral cycle, presidential elections, elections to the State Duma


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