“Putinomics” – review by Jon Hellevig

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I just finished reading a book called Putinomics by Chris Miller. He had earlier written a book on Gorbachev’s failed perestroika, except he did not call it failed, rather it was an apology of that failure. Nevertheless there was a lot of interesting facts (which facts the author tried to tweak to fit his agenda). All in all, I was satisfied with the reading, it gave me just what I was looking for, cause I am very apt at separating facts from the narrative.

His second book “Putinomics” is just what the heading promised. “Putinomics” – what a nonsensical concept that has been clearly chosen to appease the author’s publisher. He discusses Putin’s economic policies throughout his rule. In the text itself Miller provides no information that could in anyway justify the comical title, as if Putin was engaged in some hullabaloo excentric policies. Instead he gives a fairly reasonable account of how Putin has driven the economy. However, the big picture is lacking, and at the end of the reading one is in no way the wiser from having read Western MSM propaganda on the topic for 10 years. What surprises is that the book is so badly structured and does not in anyway dig into the most important topics, like modernization, corruption etc. Miller tells there is a lot of corruption, but he does not provide any evidence, not even discussion on that, and worst of all there is no comparative analysis, which would show Russia is far behind his own United States what comes to graft.

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The one good thing is the author’s surprisingly candid account on the criminal machinations that led to Khodorkovsky’s downfall and the happy jailing of him, which marked the end of oligarch rule of Russia.

On the other hand the book is replete with all the classic Russophobe tropes – no doubt the grants would not have been flowing in otherwise and the book would not have been published. In addition to all the trite Western repetitions of “corruption,” an “ineffective state sector”, “Putin’s pals” etc, we also read that Sechin (CEO of Rosneft) an employed director for a state owned corporation is repeatedly referred to as an oligarch.