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Putin’s Elite and the Legacies of Soviet Quasi-Modernisation in Contemporary Russia

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In spite of its rich energy resources and strategic location, and in spite of the declared commitment to further liberal reforms by politi-cal leaders, Russia seems to be experiencing some transition and de-velopmental problems. Economic growth is uneven and relatively slow (compared with other BRICS and oil/gas exporters). The Russian state remains centralistic, controlling, corrupt and inert. Russian politics is undergoing a retrogressive ‘authoritarian turn’ accompanied by a tightening of control over the media. The political competition for the top political offices is so skewed, the opposition so restricted, and the mass media so constrained, that the Freedom House no longer classi-fies Russia as ‘free’ and ‘democratic’. State patronage, protectionism and the taxation burden remain high, corruption is endemic, access to financing is limited – all constraining Russia’s development and pre-venting the advanced modernisation of the state, economy and society. These developments in contemporary Russia are analysed and ex-plained as correlates of the outlooks, strategic goals and power inter-ests of the new Russian elite – Putin’s siloviki. The developmental problems of contemporary Russia are linked to the ‘Soviet legacies’ of socialist ‘quasi-modernisation’ revived by Putin’s siloviki in their at-tempt to consolidate power and stabilise politics by ‘restoring’ Rus-sia’s power and influence.


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