Russia.Nei.Visions, No. 88,
Business in Russia today is closely intertwined with the political
sphere. But the forms of business’s involvement in politics have
differed radically at different stages in history. Initially, business
played an active role, displacing the government from its position due
to its vigorous expansion. Subsequently, the state began to regroup,
reinforcing its positions not just in politics but in the market too.
Despite increased economic uncertainty and enormous changes in Russia’s
foreign policy positions, the government currently remains the central
actor in both Russian politics and the economy. That state of affairs
is unlikely to change significantly in the short term.
Given the domestic economic crisis and tensions in relations with the
West, the Russian business community is currently falling back on the
development of its own individual strategies. These are aimed not so
much at growth as at survival in the new conditions. At the same time,
Russian experience shows that private initiative is capable of survival
in the most unfavorable of circumstances. A new “leap forward” of the
kind seen in the 1980s and 1990s is unlikely thanks to the fact that
the main players are older than they once were, the underlying economic
structures have ossified in the meantime and there is no longer the
same drive (though this has not disappeared altogether). Nevertheless,
the possibility of private enterprise being reenergized should not be
Dr Igor Bunin, is the President of
the Center for Political Technologies and Director of the Politcom.ru. website.
Alexei Makarkin is First Deputy
Director of the Center for Political Technologies.