Russia in the World
EBRD Business Forum
| Monday, May 21, 2007
Russia’s integration into the world economy has been based on energy. Energy is predominant both in its domestic economy and foreign trade. In 2006, oil and gas made up 40% of GDP, and 60% of Russia’s exports. Since 2000 rising oil export revenues have been the main driver of GDP growth, as the price of Urals oil rose from below $10 a barrel to over $60.
Who would have predicted such an outcome a hundred years ago? Russia started to industrialise at the end of the 19th century. Industrialisation was the core of the Soviet developmental strategy. Its aim was to catch up with the United States and then overtake it, showing the superiority of central planning to the market.
Central planning did succeed in making the Soviet Union a
All contributors to the NYRB have their Bob Silvers anecdote. For me Bob is indirectly responsible for a great piece of good fortune. Om 2000 I wrote a long review of a book on Karl Marx –all reviews in the NYRB are long. Much to my surprise I received a letter from an Americfriend telling me that a chief executive officer of a leading US financial company had seen my article, liked it, and would I be willing to meet him. Soon after this I had breakfast with the said financial tycoon in London, as a result of which he asked me to join the Board of his company. They are both here in Oxford today.
I couldn’t help thinking how ironic it was for me to be clambering into the citadel of American finance on Karl Marx’s shoulders. Marx
Rotary Club Speech
| Sunday, January 07, 2007
How solid is Russia’s economy? How solid is its political system? How reliable is it as a partner? .My remarks will be analytic, not imperative. That is, they will not consist of exhortation. We know what Russia should be doing (ie., what we want it to do). The Financial Times tell us almost every day. The point is to understand the structural tendencies of the Russian system.
Let’s start with the economy.
Headline figures of Russian economic growth under Putin tell a spectacular success story. Real GDP growth between 1999-2005 has averaged 6.7%. GDP at market exchange rates was $200bn. in 1999 and $800bn. now, making Russia the tenth largest economy in the world. GDP per capita in PPP is $12,500, or double that of 1999, about the
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
| Saturday, October 28, 2006
Most people agree that the first 10 years of Russia’s so-called transition from a centrally planned to a market economy -1988 to 1998 – was uniquely disastrous.I start with 1988 because the transition started under Gorbachev, not Yeltsin. The speed and depth of the collapse of the Russian economy, coupled with the collapse of the Soviet empire,and the virtual disintegration of the Russian state, completely swamped positive developments, not least in the mind of the Russian people –namely the start of a competitive political and economic system, much disfigured though they were by criminality and corruption.
This collapse of state and economy gave President Putin his agenda: to restore state power and to punish the oligarchs for their
Freedom has become the most potent word in today’s political lexicon. George W Bush used it forty times in his second inaugural address. A Chechen doctor, Khassan Baiev, writes ‘Like everyone, we want to live in freedom’. They were using the same words, but they seem to mean different things. President Bush, I feel sure, was talking about the freedom of individuals, Khassan Baiev about the freedom of nations, his own especially, as might a Palestinian or Basque ‘freedom fighter’.
These, I think, are the two dominant senses in which people use, and understand, the term freedom today. They have a common origin, but point in two opposite directions. For the believer in individual freedom, it is dictatorship which is the enemy; for the