Vladimir Putin has brought vast changes to Russia since his rise to power in 1999, writes Simeon Djankov, a former deputy prime minister and finance minister of Bulgaria. Djankov outlines how Russia’s economy went from fledgling free enterprise in the post-Soviet era to entrenched state capitalism today, and he describes how that shift has supported Putin’s foreign policy aims. Djankov doesn’t foresee much change in the near term, particularly as Western sanctions perversely tighten Putin’s grip on the economy. getAbstract recommends his insightful article to anyone interested in the long-term political and economic future of Russia.


Vladimir Putin has ruled Russia – first as president, then prime minister, then president – since 1999. From the time he took office until 2008, unemployment and poverty rates fell by more than half, while wages grew threefold. But elitism increased as the economy shifted from encouraging fledgling private enterprise to increasing control of productive assets by the government and Putin’s friends. Five important trends characterize his tenure:

  1. The government’s role in industry, finance, transportation, energy and the media has grown. By mid-2015, the state held 55% of the economy...

About the Author

Simeon Djankov is a visiting fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

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