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Blending Statism and Liberalism

 

The third stage of the transformation began after the collapse of the USSR and the fall of the communist regime (1991-99). It was carried out by Boris Yeltsin and his team of reformers who believed that the possibilities of reforming the country on socialist foundations had been exhausted. They put forward and implemented a programme of radical liberal economic reforms designed to dismantle the old state-run economy and to set up market capitalist mechanisms. This radical liberal modernization produced contradictory results and has led to dramatic consequences.

Vladimir Putin and Boris Yeltsin

These include the revival of some of the countrys traditional socio-cultural and political characteristics evident in the current stage of Russias transformation that began with the rise to power of Vladimir Putin (2000-). First of all, it is the reappearance of the idea of a strong state that dominates society and uses a strong hand to put the house in order. The idea has found its reflection in the Putin phenomenon, a broadly based popular support of the Russian president that is evident in equal measure at all levels of Russian society.

The new strategy of the Russian authorities cannot be described as a crude restoration. The revival of the traditional power of the state goes hand in hand with the desire to further liberal reforms. How viable is this combination of statism and liberalism? If it works it will be an unprecedented exception from the Russian history rules.

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"Non-organic" Reforms

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