- Big Business in Putin's Russia: Structural and Instrumental Power
- Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization
- Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, The George Washington University
- Volume 27, Number 4, Fall 2019
- pp. 401-422
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- Additional Information
The article argues that the Russian authorities downplay the influence of big business on the policymaking process, which remains strong. The sources of business influence lie in the potential for individual and collective lobbying (instrumental power), but also in the state's structural dependence on capital, which forces the authorities to anticipate the investment decisions of capital holders (structural power). The article shows how changes in both the structural and the instrumental power of large firms correspond to major shifts in the country's political economy: the 1998 economic crisis, the turn to dirigiste policies in 2003-2004, and the beginning of the confrontation with the West in 2014. The article concludes that the business elite in Putin's Russia corresponds to Jeffrey Winters and Benjamin Page's definition of "oligarchy" as a narrow group of the super-wealthy that dominates certain policy areas in the context of extreme wealth and income inequality.