Robert Skidelsky
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Articles from Moscow Times

Channelling Energy in the Wrong Direction
Robert Skidelsky
Moscow Times | Friday, June 15, 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 percent of gross domestic product and 60 percent of exports. Since 2000, rising oil export revenues have been the main driver of growth, as the price of Urals oil rose from below $10 per barrel to more than $60.
 
Who would have predicted such an outcome 100 years ago? Russia started to industrialize at the end of the 19th century, and industrialization was the core of Soviet development strategy. The aim was to catch up with and overtake the United States, showing the superiority of central planning over the free market.
 
In fact, the Soviet Union never caught up with

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Coming Out Negative in the Balance
Robert Skidelsky
Moscow Times | Tuesday, January 23, 2007

 
Russia’s temporary halt to oil supplies through the pipeline crossing Belarus earlier this month was the latest in a sequence of public relations disasters for the Kremlin. The West’s romance with President Vladimir Putin’s Russia ended with the Yukos affair and since then Russia has generally gotten bad press, even when it had a good case. The Sakhalin-2 affair is a good example.
 
Early in December, Royal Dutch Shell announced that it had sold Gazprom a majority stake in the project to develop the Sakhalin gas field. In its Dec. 8 edition, The Economist magazine accused the Russian state of using “minor environmental infringements” to force Shell and its partners to sell out to Gazprom at the moment when they stood ready to receive a

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Shell vs. Russia: the balance is negative
Robert Skidelsky
Moscow Times | Wednesday, January 17, 2007

 
Russia's temporary halt to oil supplies through the pipeline crossing Belarus earlier this month was the latest in a sequence of public relations disasters for the Kremlin. The West's romance with President Vladimir Putin's Russia ended with the Yukos affair and since then Russia has generally gotten bad press, even when it had a good case. The Sakhalin-2 affair is a good example.
 
Early in December, Royal Dutch Shell announced that it had sold Gazprom a majority stake in the project to develop the Sakhalin gas field. In its Dec. 8 edition, The Economist magazine accused the Russian state of using "minor environmental infringements" to force Shell and its partners to sell out to Gazprom at the moment when they stood ready to receive a

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Clustering on the Hi-Tech Bandwagon
Robert Skidelsky and Pavel Erochkine
Moscow Times | Monday, October 16, 2006

 
Economists have started to become interested in the economics of clusters. Why do many industries concentrate in one or two locations? Why do some countries, regions and districts grow much faster than others? In the past the answer was obvious: What determined industrial location was climate or proximity to natural resources. But most modern economies are not like this. You do not need to have a particular climate or be near a steel plant to make computer chips or develop software. Location is much more likely to be the result of accidents or deliberate government policies.The U.S. economist Paul Krugman asks: "Where do you live if you work in the film industry? Probably in Los Angeles. Why? Because the other film industry people you

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What to do with the Stabilization Fund?
Robert Skidelsky and Pavel Erochkine
Moscow Times | Tuesday, May 16, 2006

 
President Vladimir Putin used the bulk of his state-of-the-nation address to spell out measures aimed at improving the living standards of ordinary Russians. The measures will cost money — lots of money — but Russia can afford to spend as it is sitting on an ever-growing pile of cash thanks to high oil prices.
 
Billions of dollars of that cash are being held in the oil stabilization fund, which only recently has emerged as a key instrument to strengthen the economy and improve living standards.
 
This new role is quite controversial. The fund was set up in 2004 for two reasons: to balance the budget over the business cycle and to restrain inflation by sterilizing inflows of oil money. The way it works is this: The fund receives all oil

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