U.S.S.R. and communism historical discussion.
[ Login ] [ Active ]

How powerful are the Russian oligarchs?

Log-in to remove advertisement.
Post 14 Dec 2014, 16:30
A recent opinion piece in the New York Times makes the bold claim that Russia's oligarchs are no longer an effective, independent force in Russian politics.

A snippet from the piece by Masha Gessen states:

When Mr. Putin became acting president 15 years ago this month, Russia was an oligarchy — indeed the oligarchs, a small group of men who had grown very rich in the preceding decade, were instrumental in picking Putin out of obscurity and installing him at the helm. But within months, he made the oligarchs an offer they could not refuse: give up all of their political power and some of their wealth in exchange for safety, security and continued prosperity, or else be stripped of all power and assets.

He meant it. The media mogul Vladimir Gusinsky, who rejected the new rules, was forced into exile in the summer of 2000, and uber-oligarch Boris Berezovsky followed him a few months later. When the richest man in Russia, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, refused any such bargain, he was jailed and his company was taken away. The process of destroying the Russian oligarchy was completed.

In the 11 years since Mr. Khodorkovsky’s arrest, Mr. Putin has consolidated power into what the political scientist Karen Dawisha calls “kleptocratic authoritarianism.” Its essential characteristic is all-encompassing corruption, which makes all the moneyed men of the Russian elite — and they are all men, and all moneyed — profoundly interdependent. Many of them have held public office during this time, but it has invariably been subject to three interlocking conditions: They had to pay to get into office, and though they could use the office for accumulating greater wealth, they could not use it to wield or gain political power.

Giving up any pretense of independent political action has remained a condition for staying wealthy and safe. When the billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov tried, and rather modestly, to test this condition by reshaping an essentially pro-Kremlin but populist political party three years ago, he was yanked back harshly. Faced with the threat of losing his assets, he then fell back into line. In the new era of economic hardship, he has stayed in line: In his most recent demonstration of loyalty to the Kremlin, a media company Prokhorov owns has just kicked the tiny, embattled independent television company Dozhd (Rain) TV out of a temporary studio on its property.

The rest of the piece can be read at: ... archs.html

The article argues that Russian capitalists are effectively trapped by the Putin government, and they can no longer operate independently and must "go along to get along" in order to keep their wealth. The oligarchs are, for example, no longer strong enough to stage a coup to oust Putin if they felt so inclined.

Is this an accurate picture of the current state of Russian politics? What does this mean for the Russian working class?
Post 04 Jun 2015, 05:00
The great thing is that if I have applied for study.
More Forums: The History Forum. The UK Politics Forum.
© 2000- Privacy.
[ Top ]