Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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p. vii

Figures and Table

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pp. viii-x

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Preface: The Strongman Economy?

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pp. xi-xvi

“There are two absolutely very well-known historical experiments in the world—East Germany and West Germany, and North Korea and South Korea. Now these are cases that everyone can see!”1 So spoke Vladimir Putin, president of the Russian Federation, in an address to the Duma in 2012. ...

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Note on Transliteration

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pp. xvii-xx

Where possible, I have followed the Library of Congress’s system for transliterating Russian words and names, except that I do not denote hard and soft signs, which will be obvious to Russian speakers and irrelevant to non-Russian speakers. ...

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1. Putin’s Economic Inheritance

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pp. 1-21

President Boris Yeltsin was on vacation when the crisis smashed into Russia in mid-August 1998. Storm clouds had been gathering for months. Russia’s government was debt-ridden and nearly bankrupt, reliant on short-term loans to pay pensions and fund basic public services. ...

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2. Reforging the Russian State

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pp. 22-37

“Dear citizens of Russia!” declared President Vladimir Putin in his first address to the Federal Assembly on July 8, 2000. It was Russia’s equivalent of the State of the Union, a chance to set priorities and explain his goals to Russians, who knew little about him. Putin began his address not with grand claims or promises of prosperity, but with tax policy. ...

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3. Rise of the Energy Giants

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pp. 38-58

As the price of oil surged during the 2000s, the oligarchs who owned energy assets became even richer—at least at first. It quickly became clear, however, that despite accepting private business in most spheres of the economy, Russia’s oil industry would be dominated by Putin and his allies. This policy had clear costs in terms of deterring foreign investment and reducing efficiency. ...

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4. Stabilizing Russia’s Finances

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pp. 59-78

“They are itching to get their hands on that money,” Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin told journalists in 2004, referring to the country’s spendthrift Duma members, its grasping industrial bosses, and the new class of security service elites who rose to power under Vladimir Putin. They wanted nothing more than to grab hold of the oil-fueled tax revenue that began flowing ...

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5. Restructuring Russian Industry

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pp. 79-97

Sergei Roldugin has expensive taste in musical instruments. Or so one might conclude from the Kremlin’s explanation of how the cellist spent the $2 billion that was discovered to have been funneled out of Russia through shell companies and Panamanian bank accounts in his name. The 2016 leak of the Panama Papers, ...

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6. Wages and Welfare

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pp. 98-113

“Oleg Vladimirovich, did you sign this?” Vladimir Putin asked Oleg Deripaska, once the richest man in Russia, as the television cameras rolled. “I don’t see your signature.”1 Deripaska was a quintessential oligarch, married into the family of President Boris Yeltsin, and a survivor of the mafia wars of the 1990s. When Putin demanded a meeting in the summer of 2009, ...

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7. From Crisis to Crisis

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pp. 114-136

Russia never had a period with as benign an external environment as the early years of the twenty-first century. Commodity prices grew steadily. Foreigners lent large sums to Russian firms. The country felt sufficiently secure to let its military decline. Its neighbors sought to integrate rather than isolate Russia. Much of this external environment was of Russia’s making. ...

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8. Putinomics under Pressure

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pp. 137-156

In September 2013, notables from across Europe and the world gathered in the Livadia Palace, a vacation retreat built by the last emperor of Tsarist Russia just outside of Yalta, a resort town in the Crimean Peninsula. The Livadia Palace was where Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt met in February 1945 to carve up Europe at the end of World War II. The Yalta Conference, ...

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Postscript: Can Putinomics Survive?

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pp. 157-164

In 2000, political scientist Timothy Frye surveyed 500 businesses in Russia, including firms large and small, in several regions. He asked them about the main obstacles to business development. Their responses explain much about the Russian government’s economic strategy since then (see table 1). ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 165-166

This book examines taxes and wages, state-owned and private businesses, crises past and present. Debt, however, is where the project began—debts personal rather than financial. The ideas behind this book germinated over the course of two years in Moscow, where I was fortunate to teach at the New Economic School ...

Suggestions for Further Reading

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pp. 167-170

Notes

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pp. 171-188

Bibliography

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pp. 189-210

Index

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pp. 211-217