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Putin’s patrimony

Russia's economy is more dependent on natural resources than in Soviet times. This "oil curse" means a brittle economy and an unstable political system based on the fusion of power and property. Watch out for the coming Putin succession crisis

By Robert Skidelsky   March 2007

When asked about the effects of the French revolution, Zhou Enlai is famously supposed to have said: “It is too early to tell.” After only 15 years, post-communist Russia is still near the start of a film which clearly has a long time to run. Official and editorial commentary from the west takes the form of criticism and exhortation—the attitude of an improving, sometimes despairing, schoolmaster. Recently Russia has had an exceptionally bad press. The expulsion of “illegal” Georgian and other trans-Caucasian, central Asian and Chinese immigrants, the unexplained murders of Anna Politkovskaya and Alexander Litvinenko, the interruption of oil…

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