Reading Russia: The Merger of Power and Property

Issue Date April 2009
Volume 20
Issue 2
Page Numbers 66-68
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The regime in Moscow mixes key features of a capitalist economy with a political system wherein power is monopolized by a close-knit professional and age cohort whose members often have a background in the secret police. Instead of seeking to base its legitimacy on broad-based, transpersonal institutions with character and integrity of their own, the regime has relied overwhelmingly on Vladimir Putin’s popularity. It has also likely benefited greatly from what Samuel Huntington called “performance legitimacy” associated with the brisk pace of Russia’s economic growth from 2000¬ to early-2008. If the current global economic downturn worsens, however, the implications for the regime could be dire.