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Kakha Bendukidze. Photo:

Suggested readings

In "What Does Russia Think," a collection of essays by influential Russian intellectuals published by the European Council on Foreign Relations in September 2009, Olga Kryshtanovskaya provides her account of Russia's resurgent authoritarianism:

"After the Yukos case, the business community was forced either to accept the new reality in Russia or to leave the country. It was now in effect forbidden for business people, or for that matter any other significant social group, to directly intervene in politics. The Kremlin even believed, for example, that those who, like Khodorkovsky, who worked for charity, did so simply to improve their image and could therefore constitute a potential danger at the next election. The function of the grand bourgeoisie was to remain silent and only to sponsor projects initiated by the Kremlin." (pp. 27-28)

On the changing power balance between the Russian state and the oligarchs during Putin's presidency, see the 2003 essay by Marshall Goldman "Render Unto Caesar: Putin and the Oligarchs":

"In 1991, a small group of Russians emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union to claim ownership of some of the world's most valuable oil, natural gas, and metal deposits. This resulted in one of the greatest transfers of wealth ever seen. By 1997, five of these individuals, who in the 1980s had only negligible net worth, were listed by Forbes as among the world's richest billionaires."

Articles by Lilia Shevtsova on how Russia has changed can be found on the website of the Moscow Carnegie Center. Also useful is her book Russia

April 2010

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