Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. Member of the Valdai Discussion Club.
Previous positions: guest scholar at various research institutes in Russia, adviser to the Russian finance ministry and regional governments on issues of fiscal federalism.
Research interests: Russian economy (since 1991).
Selected publications: “Russia's Virtual Economy“, “The Siberian Curse“. He is currently writing a book on the political economy of today's Russia and on the country's long-term growth prospects.
Was published in January 2013 by Brookings Institution Press and is a study of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personality viewed against a historical background. The book dispels widespread stereotypes and reveals the true mindset of the Russian leader. The preface to the book was written by Brookings President Strobe Talbott, former deputy of the US Secretary of State. The two authors of the book know Putin personally and have met him several times at the Valdai International Discussion Club, of which they are members.
The problem is, Putin can no longer really be many of the historic characters he tries to play. Putin is no longer the outsider trying to save and reform the system; he is now the system. He is not Stolypin. He is the Tsar, with others having to assume those roles to try to persuade and to advise him.
Putin, it seems, has embraced Pyotr Stolypin as the model for his current premiership and putative future presidency because Stolypin tried to accomplish the political, economic and social transformation of Russia through nonrevolutionary means. Putin’s favorite quote these days is, “We do not need great upheavals. We need a great Russia”.
That Russia finally has been admitted to the World Trade Organization is good for the world, both for the global system as a whole and for the current members. How good WTO membership turns out to be for Russia itself is less clear-cut. Russia doesn't have much to gain in terms of better access to foreign markets, because few of its exports other than commodities are very competitive.
In recent days, Russia has undergone a significant political shift, one that presents a great challenge to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s power as well as his potential for winning the upcoming presidential elections. The Russian political landscape is clearly at a turning point. Russia’s future trajectory will depend in large measure on how Prime Minister Putin reacts to these recent challenges to his power.
It is true that the Russian economy is backward, and that oil plays a role in that backwardness. But oil is not the root cause. The causes of Russia’s backwardness lie in its inherited production structure. The physical structure of the real economy (that is, the industries, plants, their location, work forces, equipment, products, and the production chains in which they participate) is predominantly the same as in the Soviet era.