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The Legacy of "Robber Capitalism"

Boris Yeltsins radical liberalisation in 1992 led not to a competitive market economy, but to oligarchic capitalism
It thrived on Russias insider privatisation, allowing a handful of politically well-connected tycoons to manipulate the post-Soviet sell-off of state assets to their personal advantage
Instead of dispersing ownership throughout the society, the result was a remarkable degree of concentration of ownership in the new private sector
Their monopoly played a critical role in preventing the emergence of a working free market and in discouraging foreign investment in Russia
By 2001 the countrys 23 largest firms were estimated to account for 30% of Russias GDP, and these firms were effectively controlled by a mere 37 individuals
By international standards, this is an astonishing concentration of wealth and industrial power in such a large country. The oligarchs were able to control the lions share of the national economy
It was all the more surprising given the fact that private ownership had been outlawed for decades, and the entire economic elite did not exist as a class just 15 years earlier
Their dominance, especially over banking and the extraction of raw materials for export, had cost the state immense revenues
The rise of the oligarchs coincided with a wave of lawlessness, contract killings and grotesque displays of wealth
Putin faced the task of attacking the entrenched interests of semi-criminal financial and industrial magnates, the so-called oligarchs and dismantling the system of robber capitalism
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"Deprivatising" the State

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