Title Putin’s Counterrevolution
Author Sergey Aleksashenko
ISBN 9780815732761
List price USD 37.99
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 348
Book size 153 x 229 mm
Publishing year 2018
Original publisher Brookings Institution Press
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
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“Sergey Aleksashenko has written a truly compelling account of the relationship between politics and economic development in Russia over the last thirty years. Jumping eloquently from statistical analysis to detailed qualitative case studies about renationalization, Aleksashenko shows convincingly that Putin’s autocracy has not driven economic growth, but just the opposite. Putin’s Counterrevolution will have a very long shelf life!”

Michael McFaul, director, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University; U.S. ambassador to Russia (2012–14)


Putin’s Counterrevolution details how President Vladimir Putin turned a chaotic proto-democracy into the authoritarian political regime that exists in Russia today. Sergey Aleksashenko, one of the country’s top economic analysts, describes how the Kremlin consolidated control in a number of areas: the media, regional governments, the judiciary, parliament, and the world of business. Dispassionate and authoritative, the book draws on interviews with key officials and a range of published sources to offer perhaps the best historical review of this period to date.”

Daniel Treisman, professor of political science, University of California, Los Angeles


How Putin’s autocracy undercut Russia’s economy and chances for democracy

During his nearly twenty years at the center of Russian political power, Vladimir Putin has transformed the vast country in many ways, not all of them for the better. The near-chaos of the early post-Soviet years has been replaced by an increasingly rigid authoritarianism, resembling a hard-fisted monarchy more than the previous communist dictatorship. Putin’s early years in power saw rapid economic growth, averaging nearly 7 percent annually, and the rise of Moscow as a vibrant European-style city. But a slowdown during the second half of Putin’s administration, since 2009, has resulted in the stagnation of the economy, especially in the hinterlands, with few signs of a possible turnaround.

What accounted for these changes in Russia? Sergey Aleksashenko, a former top Russian finance official and then private businessman, lays the blame squarely on Putin himself, even more than external factors such as the sharp fall in oil prices or Western sanctions after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

In his relentless drive to consolidate power in his own hands, Aleksashenko writes, Putin has destroyed the very idea of competition for political power. He has done so by systematically undercutting basic political institutions of the post-Soviet Russian state, including independent power centers such as the parliament, the judiciary, and a free media. In the economic realm, Putin effectively undermined Russia’s still-emerging and very fragile system for protecting property rights—the basis of all economic activity. This in turn caused a sharp decline in private investment and thus contributed to the long-term economic slowdown.

One result of Putin’s rule was the destruction of the emerging checks and balances system in Russia, and that would be a major problem for Russia if and when it decides to become a “normal” democratic country based on Western values. In describing how all this happened, Aleksashenko’s book offers universal lessons in the necessity of checks and balances in any political system—as well as in the importance of vibrant political institutions for economic growth.


Preface and Acknowledgments

Chronology of Putin’s Russia

Chapter 1: Economic Roller Coaster: 2000–17 • Rise and Decline of Growth Rates • The Lost Decade

Chapter 2: Transformation Derailed • The Gradual Opening of Russia • Removing Allies • Winner Takes All • Put Yourself in Putin’s Shoes

Chapter 3: The Key Element of Control • Enemy Number One: The Media Tycoon • Too Dangerous to Have Such a Friend • New Fears • There Is No Him without Cronies • Self-Censorship • Attack on the Runet • A Tried and True Tool • Just Business • Sovereign Internet

Chapter 4: A Unifying System of Power • Building from Scratch • Checks and Balances • A Major Threat • Getting Off the Political Stage • The Court Says “Stop!” • Dotting the i’s • Everybody Is under Control • Deceptive Concession • Financial Leash

Chapter 5: Just a Dream • There Was No Need • First Rollbacks • Judicial Hierarchy • A Furtive Plan • The Other Side of the Coin • Demolishing the Pillars • Under the Kremlin’s Control • No One Is Immune • Relying on Parliament • Rule by Telephone • An Overactive Justice • The Second Advent • Humiliation • A Creative Justice • The Purge • An Irremovable Justice • An Unwanted Institution • Was There a Reason? • Purge at the Top

Chapter 6: Preventing Competition • Cohabitation Was Possible • From Hatred to Friendship • Bureaucracy Subdues Politicians • Control over the Duma • The Oligarchs’ Revenge: Fear of the Past • No Space for Opposition to His Majesty • The Upper Chamber Has Not Been Forgotten • Indiscreet Desire • Prokhorov’s Comet • No Right to Be Elected • An Unexpected Occurrence • Forget It—The Thaw Has Ended! • Absolute Dominance • There Is No Room for Coincidence

Chapter 7: Risky Business • Carrying Out the President’s Orders • Gray Whales Are to Be Loved • Pushed Out in a Friendly Way • A Story with a Happy Ending . . . • . . . And Then Putin Called • When Partners Can’t Agree • We Are Just Returning What Has Been Privatized • Abiding by the Law • No Way but to Sell • Walking a Tightrope • But One Claw Snagged, the Bird Is Bagged • You Cannot Hide behind Property Papers!

Chapter 8: Nothing Personal, Just Your Business

Chapter 9: Looking Forward


About the Author:

Sergey Aleksashenko is nonresident senior fellow in Global Economy and Development. Former deputy chairman of the Central Bank of Russia and former chairman of Merrill Lynch Russia, he focuses on transition process in CIS and Eastern Europe, monetary policy and international financial infrastructure.

Target Audience:

People interested in Political Science and International Relations.


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