Staunton, April 17 – The economic crisis Russia is now facing, Sergey Kagarlitsky says, is “similar to that which we saw after the disintegration of the USSR,” but then Russia had two advantages it doesn’t have now – a reserve of resources accumulated during Soviet times and a more cooperative relationship with the West.
Now, those resources are gone, and ties with the West have been broken, the economist says. And that means the future is going to be extremely difficult. For the time being, Russia won’t experience growth but rather state-controlled redivision of the remains, something resembling “war communism” of a century ago (versia.ru/nazad-v-sssr-ne-poluchitsya).
Beyond doubt, Kagarlitsky says, “the regulating power of the state will only increase,” but there is no possibility that Soviet practices of administration can be restored in Russia today, as some hope and others fear. The Russian people have changed too much, and the regime doesn’t have the two resources it early did.
What is needed, the leftist economist says, is a specific program of “practical measures adapted to the needs of today’s Russian economy and the needs of society.” But “alas,” it doesn’t appear that anyone near the center of power is even beginning to think about what that might look like.
And that points to an approaching train wreck, although Kagarlitsky is careful not to say so in this article, with the Kremlin using the administrative levers it learned about earlier but doing so without the resources they once had -- and the population, frustrated by increasing impoverishment, ever less likely to sit still for that.