At the Crossroads: Putin's Third Presidential Term and Russia's Institutions
In 2013, Russia's economy entered a phase of stagnation, with a rate of gross domestic product (GDP) growth much lower than that of other emerging economies. This article argues that economic stagnation is linked to the dysfunctional system of informal institutions that permeates every level of political decision making in the country. By discussing four recent books on the topic, the article shows the negative effect of Russia's informal institutions on economic development, as well as how their emergence and persistence is linked to the political system built by Vladimir Putin. The article then outlines different scenarios of institutional reform to show how Russia stands very much at a crossroads between different paths of political, economic and institutional development.