NEWSWATCH: “The Surprising Success of Putinomics; Behind Putin’s Formula for Holding Onto Power” – Foreign Affairs/Chris Miller

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“… Russia survived the twin challenges of the oil price crash and Western sanctions thanks to a three-pronged economic strategy. First, it focused on macroeconomic stability-keeping debt levels and inflation low-above all else. Second, it prevented popular discontent by guaranteeing low unemployment and steady pensions, even at the expense of higher wages or economic growth. Third, it let the private sector improve efficiency, but only where it did not conflict with political goals. This strategy will not make Russia rich, but it has kept the country stable and kept the ruling elite in power. …  does Putin really have an economic strategy? A common explanation of Putin’s longevity is that he survives because Russia’s oil revenues keeps the country afloat; Russia’s economy is known more for corruption than for capable economic management. … Consider what Russia looked like in 1999 when Putin first became president: a middle-income country in which oil rents constituted a sizeable share of GDP. … led by a young lieutenant colonel committed to using the security services to bolster his power. A president who claimed the mantle of democratic legitimacy in part based on his ability to force big business and oligarchs to follow his rules, whether by means fair or foul. …”

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