Chatham House: Independent thinking on international affairs

Reports and Papers

How the Soviet Inheritance Holds Back Russia's Development

Programme Paper
Andrew Wood, July 2013

  • In discussions of Russia's economic prospects, observers tend to neglect the country's dependence on its economic inheritance from the Soviet Union. 
     
  • Russia's economy recovered its dynamism after the financial crisis of 1998 thanks in large part to a sustained leap in energy prices, but also to its consequent ability to exploit its wider Soviet economic inheritance. Moving on from that now will prove increasingly problematic.
     
  • The fear of change and the deep-rooted belief that Russia must be managed from the top down are also constituent parts of Russia's Soviet inheritance. The present administration seems paralysed in its fear of the social and political consequences of economic reform.
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