The colossal opportunities opened up by high oil prices should have been used by Putin to modernise the country, carry out economic reforms, create a modern army, and establish public health and pension systems. None of this was done. The army, the pension system, public health, secondary education, and the road system have all degraded.
The economy is not doing well either: a stroke of luck was the main reason it was possible to bring relative order to the financial sphere but it also created bubbles in the share markets and in real estate while investments in the real parts of the economy have risen very cautiously while production capability has not been modernised during this time.
As a result, as we reach the end of Putin’s presidency, we once again find ourselves with the stable empty and the door open – without a social security system that works properly, facing a growing deficit in the pension fund, with an army straight out of the last century, with state companies in immense debt, and with a level of corruption completely unprecedented in all of Russia’s history.
This brochure aims to be a sober and realistic analysis of how our live have changed during the years of Putin’s rule. Someone has already coined this phrase: “Life’s better now… but nastier”. We would like to open the eyes of our fellow-citizens to the sort of Russia that Putin and his successors are making for us.
We would like as many Russians as possible to look the truth in the eyes and recognise what is happening to our country. Let people think about these most serious problems lurking behind the icing of official propaganda and shameless dissimulation. Let them understand that these problems will not just go away: the only thing that’s going away is the time of our oil riches.
Putin: The Bottom Line
By Boris Nemtsov & Vladimir Milov