Policy Memos

Will the Financial Crisis Lead to Political Change in Russia?

Policy Memo:


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It is widely accepted that the stability of Russia’s political regime and Vladimir Putin’s high approval ratings, first as president and then prime minister, have depended mainly upon a steady increase in Russians’ real incomes. Between 2000 and 2007, Russia’s gross domestic product grew 72 percent, while real incomes grew 141 percent. Combined with the accessibility of cheap credit, rising incomes produced a consumption boom. Consumerist values displaced concerns for democracy and freedom and made the nature of the political system irrelevant to a depoliticized population. In the private sector, high profits allowed entrepreneurs to bear the costs of corruption and undercut incentives for collective action to combat it. [...]

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About the author

Vice-Rector for Innovations; Head of the Research Institute for the Rule of Law
European University at St. Petersburg