Financial Times view of Russian strong state

Marvin Gandall marvin.gandall at
Tue Nov 4 08:08:50 MST 2003

The Khodorkovsky affair
The imprisonment of oil oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky reflects the Putin
government’s effort to reestablish a strong state, which “is not the worst
future for Russia”, says the Financial Times. The Times dismisses the danger
of a reversion to Stalinist totalitarianism, noting there are “far less
extreme models of authoritarian rule”, and that “authoritarianism (is not)
incompatible either with openness to foreign investment or diplomatic
co-operation with the west.”  It accepts that Putin’s crackdown confirms
that “Russia is charting its own course on the long road from communism”,
rejecting the abrupt unregulated transition to capitalism characteristic of
the other East European states which the previous Yeltsin administration,
acting on behalf of Russia’s new robber barons, attempted to emulate. That
experiment plunged the country into a depression from which it is only now
recovering, and threatened civil war.  The Putin regime favours an
Asian-style “managed democracy” which excludes Russia’s nascent capitalist
class from exercising the same kind of direct political power as under
Yeltsin, and Khodorkovsky, as the Times notes, is being punished for having
challenged that norm.

FT (sub-only) article available on

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