Dr. Anders Åslund’s book Russias crony capitalism: The Path from Market Economy to Kleptocracy explores how the economic system Vladimir Putin has developed in Russia works to consolidate control over the country. By appointing his close associates as heads of state enterprises and by giving control of the FSB and the judiciary to his friends from the KGB, he has enriched his business friends from Saint Petersburg with preferential government deals. Thus, Putin has created a super wealthy and loyal plutocracy that owes its existence to authoritarianism.
Much of this wealth has been hidden in offshore havens in the United States and the United Kingdom, where companies with anonymous owners and black money transfers are allowed to thrive. Though beneficial to a select few, this system has left Russia’s economy in untenable stagnation, which Putin has tried to mask through military might.
The findings in the book was discussed with Anders Åslund and the president of Stockholm Free World Forum, Gunnar Hökmark, at a seminar the 24th of May.
The seminar can be watched here (in Swedish).
Anders Åslund is a leading specialist on economic policy in Russia, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
Gunnar Hökmark is a Swedish politician and Member of the European Parliament (MEP). He is member of the Moderate Party. He previously served as Secretary of the Moderate Party from 1991 to 1999 and Member of the Riksdag (MP) for Stockholm County from 1982 to 2004, and vice Chairman of the EPP Group, the largest group in the European Parliament.