[Marxism] Fwd: Tony Wood: Contours of the Putin Era. New Left Review 44, March-April 2007.

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Nov 5 06:44:13 MST 2017

(From 10 years ago but still very relevant.)

The reassertion of state control over strategic companies and sectors 
has been seen as a sign of stealth nationalization—the state using its 
administrative powers to crush Khodorkovsky’s YUKOS and, more recently, 
even muscle aside multinational companies such as Shell. Western 
establishment analysts have diagnosed these developments as a case of 
‘resource nationalism’, likening Putin’s actions to those of Chávez or 
Morales, while the latest leitmotif of Russian political discourse has 
been the idea of ‘sovereign democracy’—essentially referring to Russia’s 
ability and determination to pursue an independent course, no longer 
reliant on loans or approbation from the West.

Neither of these concepts is an adequate measure of the orientation and 
outlook of Russia’s contemporary elite. As noted above, the Putin 
administration has not actively redistributed oil wealth to those 
dispossessed by the ‘reforms’ of the 1990s; indeed, its tax regime seeks 
precisely to benefit the wealthy still further, while the monetization 
of benefits and increased charges for utilities penalize the poor. 
Though the poverty rate is declining and wages rising, any significant 
drop in oil prices will likely reverse these trends, which will once 
again have the most severe impact on the lowest income strata. The 
decision to spend the oil windfall on euros and dollars, meanwhile, is 
ostensibly motivated by a desire to keep inflation in check; but in a 
context of continued infrastructural dysfunction, such prudence is a 
form of deferred suicide, starving the nation of the public goods that 
would secure its survival in the longer term.

full: https://newleftreview.org/II/44/tony-wood-contours-of-the-putin-era

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