Forget the Economy – It’s Geopolitics, Putin

This reflects perfectly the pattern of Putin’s economic dirigisme. Elkin’s cartoon from Radio Liberty.

The trickle of sad and sour economic news continues to exacerbate Russia’s stagnant economic outlook, but the Kremlin authorities remain resolutely indifferent to these negative trends. They presume that the arrival of a “technical” recession does not constitute a political challenge because the “below-middle” classes have rallied around the flag of confrontation with the West, while the business elites are lined up to follow the government’s “patriotic” instructions. It is the urban middle classes that tend to sink into discontent, but they remain disheartened by the hard-hitting propaganda and divided by selective repressions. This confidence in political control over the economic fundamentals was supposed to be demonstrated last week at the traditional investment forum “Russia Calling,” but a reminder has come instead that such control is a recipe for disaster (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, October 3).

Read the article in Eurasia Daily Monitor, October 6.

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