Gelman: Preserving the political status quo and Putin’s authority is seen in the constitutional reform

PONARS Eurasia
28 Feb 2020

(IMR) In an interview with IMR, political scientist Vladimir Gelman, professor of the European University in St. Petersburg and the University of Helsinki, discusses the origins of Russia’s bad governance, the goals of Vladimir Putin’s recent political initiatives, and the Western elite’s “jealousy.” Gelman's book «НЕДОСТОЙНОЕ ПРАВЛЕНИЕ», dedicated to Russia's bad governance, was released in 2019.

Olga Khvostunova: Your research details [Policy Memo No. 634] various parameters of so-called “bad governance” in Russia—no rule of law, corruption, poor regulation, inefficient government. Which of these issues are the most problematic for Russia, and why?

Vladimir Gelman: I define “bad governance” as a way of governing that has as its main goal the extraction of rent and its further appropriation by the ruling groups. Simply put, it describes the situation where a country is governed so that it can be robbed as much and as long as possible. The characteristics of bad governance that I rely on in my research are used by the World Bank to measure the quality of governance. For Russia, the most fundamental problem is disregard for the rule of law. Intentional distortion of the rule of law defines the country’s statecraft philosophy. Other parameters—poor regulation, high levels of corruption, etc.—are side effects of the main problem. [...]

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