Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
In the place where I have grown up there were not many Russians and I did not know any of them closely. Only when I was studying a short time in Moscow in early 1990s I got closer look and often I was startled at their habits. For example once I found my friend stealing lampball from corridor in university. I asked him why he's doing that, lampball is just few kopeks worth. He replied that the state was always cheating them and thus he pays back in the same coin.

So in a word Russians deserve fully leaders they elected. They like to complain about corruption but personally do next to nothing to fight it. Secondly corruption varies wildly according to regions and for example in my region (Sakha republic) small entrepreneurs do not face such problems. Thirdly corruption generally confined to relationships between the state and businesses (from licence Raj to building contracts) but comparatively less in delivery of essential public services like healthcare, education, heating, electricity, water supply etc.

When I moved to Asia I found that corruption here affects even basic services, many of them are non-existent (there is no universal health insurance, no social pensions, only private schools, no central heating, no gas, no hot water, very little and erratic power supply etc) or available only after bribing officials. I don't need to speak even about corruption in judiciary and state organs affecting private businesses.  

So not being Putin's apologist I disagree with his assesment as a failed leader, his track record is rather mixed, but nobody can deny that he was rather adroitful at maintaining macroeconomical stability and at accumulating financial reserves.

I remember when he came to power Financial Times greeted him with editorial where the paper claimed that post of President of Russia is the most unenviable job in the world, the scope of problems to solve was daunting.

Now it's not that clear, after Bush and Brown/Blair disastrous reigns posts of British PM and American president lost a lot of their former lustre while almost everybody in Russian polity wants Putin/Medvedev's jobs maybe just to plunder the treasury.

by FarEasterner on Thu Jun 17th, 2010 at 01:32:11 PM EST
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