The Finnish Institute of International Affairs has published a working paper by Russia expert Katri Pynnöniemi on the political constraints on Russia’s economic development. The paper looks at the current discussion about modernization in Russia, which has stemmed from the weaknesses of the country’s economy, laid bare by the global economic crisis.
To understand the political constraints on Russia’s economic development, three dimensions should be explored simultaneously. The relations between Russia and the outside world (where Russia stands in comparison to others, and what it is prepared to do to advance its position), Russia’s relations with its own past, and the relations between ideas and political action.The purpose of this working paper is to look at how certain ideas, perhaps as yet rather vague ones, as to preferable futures for Russia are interlinked with the specific policies for advancing their implementation. In other words, I am interested in explicating political meaning of modernization and hence, emphasis on the relation between ideas and political action. Consequently, the research interest is linked with what is known as conceptual history. I will explore lines of thought considered as Russia’s vision for future, as put forward by President Dmitry Medvedev. I will also put this vision into a larger context by presenting nationalist and liberal economist criticism towards the current modernization policies of the Russian government.