Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Russian Backsliding?

A few recent articles have caught my eye on Russian backsliding away from a market economy. It had already appeared that Putin was a totalitarian at heart, despite what W saw in his heart. Of course, none of this has seemed to bother those who hold themselves out to be champions of human rights when it comes to Iraq. See also China.

But now that Russia appears to be renationalizing many of its businesses, maybe conservatives will actually take notice. According to the CS Monitor, "the Kremlin has effectively renationalized almost a third of the formerly private oil-and-gas sector." This should be a real problem for American and other Western interests with designs on Russian oil fields, which should make it a priority point for W and his crew.

Yesterday, news came of the resignation of a top Putin advisor and major proponent of free market economics. Andrei Illarionov, Putin's economic advisor, cited "a Kremlin ... bent on eradicating political freedom and commandeering the country's economy."

This story has been developing quietly for a few years, and you don't hear much of it here in the US. I wonder what would cause it to get prime real estate in the papers?

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