Obstacles and Opportunities to Russia’s Economic Reforms
NBR Analysis vol. 13, no. 2

Obstacles and Opportunities to Russia's Economic Reforms

by James R. Millar and Lilia Shevtsova
April 1, 2002

Since becoming president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin has sought simultaneously to reverse the devolution of political power that occurred during the Yeltsin era and to push liberal economic reform. If Putin is to reestablish Russia’s economic viability, a litany of challenges must be overcome, including economic and political transparency, development of small- and medium-sized business, the nurturing of rule of law and political pluralism, and a redefinition of Russia’s international role as a junior partner to the West. Importantly, the reforms Putin intends to implement will require considerable commitment from the political elite and oligarchs, the very interests that benefit from the inefficiencies of the economy. At the same time, Putin himself may have contributed to some of these obstacles to reform through his own policies of granting concessions in order to garner political support. Does Putin have the political will and power to implement the extraordinary reforms still required? The studies presented in this issue of the NBR Analysis addresses these questions.