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This article charts the trajectory of Putin’s economic policy. All countries face the challenge of preserving national interests and identity while reaping the benefits of global economic integration. These pressures are particularly acute in the case of Russia, given its historical legacy as a global superpower. From the outset, Putin’s pragmatic embrace of global integration and market incentives was in tension with his authoritarian centralization of power at home and hostility towards the West abroad. Up until 2008, Putin was able to keep these two conflicting worldviews, and rival policy teams, in balance. But after 2012, geopolitical confrontation won out over economic development, culminating in the reckless invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
This article examines the issue of Putin’s presidential successor from a historical perspective of long-term political cycles. Contemporary Russia still shows considerable similarities to the polities, characteristic of old agrarian empires in Asia. Based on the thesis on the origins of the monocentric political system in Russia, our article analyses how the transition of presidential power takes place in Russia, who might be the next president of Russia and whether we will see a new ‘time of troubles’, or smuta, after Putin’s departure. A generational change in Putin’s elite cohort will require a specific candidate to ensure a successful transition as a long-term solution. This will involve balancing clashing interests between key informal power networks. In all likelihood, a repeat of a political cycle of empires will happen in Russia again, resulting in a continued consolidation of its monocentric political system.
Russia’s need to modernize in order both to provide for its peoples and deliver on the ambitions of its rulers are perennial. The articles in this special edition speak to the difficulties that Russia has in modernizing and the hybridity that it demonstrates as modernization and economic development have been shaped by compromise and historical legacies. This introductory article introduces some of these themes by looking at how Russia has reproduced forms of what are called ‘regime-supporting economy’, forms of economy that generate resources to support particular political configurations in power whilst limiting resource accumulation, redistribution and institution-building that can deal with all of the tasks that face the Russian state.
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.
The twenty-year period of modernization of the Russian economy under the leadership of Vladimir Putin, prior to the invasion of Ukraine in 2022, was characterized by a consistent trend towards a statist domestic orientation, coupled with an increasingly radical policy of financial openness. Despite numerous domestic economic reforms, which were oriented towards free-market principles, being either reversed or significantly altered, foreign economic policy reforms proved to be more enduring. In this paper, I argue that the differential outcomes along the axis of internal and external economic reforms are interrelated. The absence of a robust rule of law domestically enabled the reversal of privatization reforms, but also made financial openness policies more appealing to political elites. Furthermore, the society’s expectation of welfare paternalism enabled the regime to tolerate the negative aspects of greater integration by relying on distributive policies rather than widespread repression. In contrast, I demonstrate that the inheritance of a less developed welfare state and an over-reliance on repression led the Chinese Communist Party to adopt a more cautious approach towards financial integration.
As of Volume 3, the series is published by Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh.
As of Volume 10, the series is published by Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh.
As of Volume 15, the series is published by Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh.
The series published an average of one volume per year over the last 5 years.