Russian modernization: Between the need for new players and the fear of losing control of rent sources
This paper considers current contradictions in state–business relations in Russia. On one hand, the Russian political elite needs economic growth to keep social stability in the country and to limit mass protesting in big cities. Economic growth is impossible without investment, which explains Russian leaders’ increased interest in improving Russia’s business climate. On the other hand, influential interest groups (represented first of all by security and law enforcement agencies) try to expand their control on rent sources in the economy. These groups of interests could strengthen their positions due to fear of political protests. This strong conflict among different groups in the Russian elite creates additional uncertainty for investors and the business community, and can lead to economic recession independent of the level of oil prices and dynamics of global markets. Reversing these negative trends in economic development will be possible only with collective actions of different economic and political actors (including technocrats in federal and regional governments, representatives of large and successful middle-sized business and topmanagers of public sector organizations) in the search for pragmatic solutions to the challenges faced by Russian economy and society.