How Did So Many Kremlinologists Get It Wrong?

Are Russia-watchers guilty of over-thinking or over-hoping? Sam Greene claims to have been the “last analyst left in Moscow who actually thought that Dmitri Medvedev would stay on as president of Russia,” but this is hyperbole. Analysts as talented as Stanislav Belkovsky, Igor Yurgens, and Gleb Pavlovsky (to name just a few) were also in …

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Exit Kudrin

In light of Aleksei Kudrin’s departure from the Ministry of Finance yesterday, I’m posting this follow-up to my initial thoughts about Russia after Putin’s return. Before Medvedev spit hellfire and brimstone at Kudrin on Monday, Igor Shuvalov seemed convinced that Russia’s long-time Finance Minister would be migrating from the ‘government’ to the ‘Kremlin,’ just as …

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No Time for Obituaries: Putin’s Return in 2012

The eternal, hotly-debated question about whether or not Vladimir Putin will return to the Kremlin was answered yesterday in the affirmative. None other than Dmitri Medvedev made the announcement, minutes before Putin returned to the stage at the United Russia party convention to deliver what was essentially an early victory speech. There is much to …

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Should Five Percent Appear Too Small: Medvedev & Russia’s Social Insurance Tax

On March 30, 2011, President Medvedev gave a speech in Magnitogorsk, where he announced a series of executive orders aimed at improving Russia’s miserable, “bad, very bad” investment climate. In an apparent effort to reach out to business interests, Medvedev declared that social insurance payroll taxes (strakhovye vznosy) were too high, and he ordered the …

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