A recent week in Moscow left one clear impression: The Putin model of crony state capitalism is dead. For years, the structure that Vladimir Putin crafted looked invincible, with its steady, high growth rates and effective, mild repression. But the system only distributed ample oil rents to the elites and the ordinary people, creating neither moral nor economic value”, says Anders Åslund in a column in The Washington Post.
There are, however, positive signs of a thaw, he concludes: “Russians are becoming less afraid than in recent years and are even ashamed of their prior cowardice. Those jumping on the bandwagon include the respected finance minister, Alexei Kudrin, who publicly criticized Putin’s United Russia party, and Sergei Mironov, the Putin loyalist who chairs the Russian Federation Council.