Vladislav Inozemtsev, editor of the Svobodnaya Mysl journal, writing in the Moscow Times:
Although I signed my name to the Internet petition under the slogan “Putin must go,” I only endorsed the main idea of the petition — that Russia must change the economic and political course set by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin — and not necessarily all of its individual points. For example, I don’t agree that President Dmitry Medvedev is the servile stooge that most of the petitioners make him out to be, and I am convinced that it is possible to modernize Russia without completely destroying the entire ruling regime. Moreover, in opposition to the words contained in the petition’s manifesto, I believe that Putin has done a lot of good things for Russia, and I don’t think that it is necessary to investigate how he became wealthy. Nonetheless, I do agree with the main thesis that Russia no longer needs Putin.
After becoming president in 2000, Putin singled out the country’s main enemies and threats and took steps to neutralize them. He also placed Russia’s chief sources of wealth under government control. It is unclear how much of this was motivated by Putin’s desire to gain personally, but what is clear is that he wanted bring stability to Russia after the chaotic and lawless 1990s.
But when a leader tries to enforce stability at all costs, it inevitably conflicts with the laws of nature. Imposing stability on a long-term basis is always an artificial process that requires keeping society within predefined limits. Those limits inevitably stifle the country’s development, diversification and private initiative, and they suffocate the business sector’s ability to be innovative and entrepreneurial. “Forced stability” is a recipe for political and economic stagnation and degradation.
There are five main reasons why Putin is an obstacle to development:
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Vladislav Inozemtsev, professor of economics, director of the Moscow-based Center for Post-Industrial Studies and editor-in-chief of Svobodnaya Mysl, writing in the Moscow Times:
It seems that every time Russia’s leaders proclaim an “innovative leap forward,” the West publishes fresh statistics indirectly proving that such a leap is impossible. For example, a recent report on the number of patents registered with the U.S. Patent Office over the last five years shows that Denmark has more than twice as many patents than Russia, Sweden has 6.8 times more, and Canada — 20 times more. What’s more, Germany registers more patents in one year than the Soviet Union and Russia combined over the last half century.
In addition, Russia produces just 2.6 percent of all articles published in international scientific and academic journals, placing it 14th worldwide. It seems that scientific progress is practically at a standstill in Russia, while in leading industrial countries science is taking giant strides forward.
Why is Russia falling so far behind?
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We are inclined to nominate this brilliant essay from the Moscow Times by Vladislav Inozemtsev, the director of the Research Center for Postindustrial Society and the publisher and editor-in-chief of Svobodnaya Mysl magazine for the title of most devastating critique of Putinomics ever written by a Russian. Just goes to show there is still some hope left, while great patriots like this have the courage to speak out:
Russian experts and policymakers have increasingly raised the question of productivity, stressing that the country’s lag behind leading global economies has become an acute nationwide challenge. On May 15, President Dmitry Medvedev addressed the issue at a meeting on modernization and technological development and emphasized that “we must not forget one simple, unfortunate fact: Labor productivity in this country is currently equivalent to only one quarter of the labor productivity in the United States.”
According to the World Bank, every employed Russian contributes only $16,100 to the country’s gross domestic product, compared with $38,100 in South Africa, $48,600 in Greece, $59,400 in France and $74,600 in the United States.
But these numbers alone do not reflect the true scope of the problem. Russia’s low productivity is exacerbated by the fact that the country is dominated by natural resource extracting with relatively little industrial development in the real sector. Although the overall productivity in Thailand ($12,500 of GDP for an employed person), Brazil ($16,700) or Malaysia ($22,900) do not differ from Russia’s in a dramatic way, in these countries’ high-tech industrial exports account for 16.2 percent, 22.4 percent and 36.7 percent of all exports, while in Russia they constitute a meager 2 percent. Thus, Russia suffers not only from a low level of productivity but also from a counterproductive economic structure, slow technological progress and outdated labor relations.
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