ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Perils of Putin's Russia

Russian president Vladimir Putin faces the mind-boggling imperative of having to integrate Russia's economy with that of the world economy. At the same time, it involves a shedding of old mindsets and long-held notions of the Soviet economy. Russia now has to work towards a three-pronged approach - ensure its territorial integrity; create favourable conditions for economic recovery and growth and yet preserve the civil society and the rights and freedoms that all Russians have come to enjoy.

Russia in post-Soviet years provides a ready case for a study in contrast. Look at tiny Japan! It has no natural resources; yet it is rich. For a contrast, look at huge Russia! You name anything; Russia has it; yet it is poor. Through the post-Soviet decade, it has passed through a tumultuous journey from superpower status to dilapidation. Even as many countries of Europe unite together in the European Union, forgetting their national barriers and currencies, the Soviet successor states are on the other hand trying to erect visa and tariff barriers among themselves, build up their national armies and have often inched on the brink of mutual hostility on the basis of ethno-national differences. Such paradoxes as these jitter Putin’s Russia on the advent of the millennium when the country is deeply engaged in the process of an extraordinary transition. All mineral, natural and human resources at her disposal do not make Russia rich in any sense, primarily because the country as a whole lacks advanced technology and a sense of proper management.

Bad economics combined with worse politics remain the bane of post-Soviet Russian development which politicians, Putin or no Putin, find tough to handle and extricate their country from the present morass. The second drawback is the lethal combination of dictatorial tendencies of a strong state with emerging liberal democratic ethos of modern Russia. While better management methods have begun penetrating into the area of economic development, the Russians, willy-nilly, avoid to emulate the western style of management, let alone capitalism. Instead, they continue to vituperate it, and almost always find a national analogy from their past history to follow. They also justify Russia’s uniqueness and that it does not require prescriptions of others to redress its ills.

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