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When the Whole Is Less Than the Sum of Its Parts: Russian Developmentalism since the Mid-2000s

In: Russian Politics
Authors:
Ilya Matveev Public Sociology Laboratory, Centre for Independent Social Research St Petersburg Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4355-3257
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Oleg Zhuravlev Public Sociology Laboratory, Centre for Independent Social Research St Petersburg Russian Federation
Centre on Social Movement Studies, Scuola Normale Superiore Pisa Italy

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Abstract

While Russia became widely known in the 1990s for its experiment in shock therapy, by the mid-2000s the Kremlin pioneered a new set of policies that amounted to the national variant of the developmentalist approach. In this article, we take stock of the Russian developmentalism, focusing on the role of ideas, the institution-building by the federal and regional governments as well as specific developmental policies. While state-oriented, interventionist approach to economic development has had some successes on the level of individual industries, regions and projects, on the whole, it failed to achieve transformational developmental outcomes. The economy has stagnated for over a decade and the Russian export basket is less sophisticated than it was 20 years ago. We argue that the failure of the Russian approach to developmentalism cannot be reduced to corruption and rent-seeking: the lack of an effective coordination mechanism and a consistent policy strategy underpinned by a foundation in heterodox economics have also played a role.

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