Classical Liberal Loses Influence With Putin

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A top Putin adviser of classical liberal sympathies, Andrei N. Illarionov, is relieved of his duties as Russian envoy to the Group of Eight meetings; this after some public criticisms on Illarionov's part of some of Putin's actions and policy. From the New York Times report:

Mr. Illarionov described the government as both arbitrary and wrong-headed, criticizing the Kremlin's crackdown on the news media, its expropriation of the main asset of Yukos, the oil giant, its centralization of political power and its foreign relations.

His assessments were unsparing. He called the seizure last month of the Yukos unit "the swindle of the year."

In the government's attack on a healthy company, and its signals about which companies were Kremlin favorites, Mr. Illarionov said, "financial flows are rerouted from the most effective companies to the least effective ones."

Moreover, Mr. Putin's decision to do away with elections for governors throughout Russia, and to appoint governors through the presidency, Mr. Illarionov said, ensured that political competition was undermined, to ill effect. "Limited competition in all spheres of life leads to one thing," he said. "To stagnation."

Illiarionov collaborated with the Cato Institute on a conference on "The Liberal Agenda for a New Century," involving a meeting between Putin and various libertarian scholars; Cato's Tom Palmer comments on the development here.

NEXT: Fair Enough for Government Work

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  1. Bush really fucked up with that "looked in to his eyes" speech a few years ago.

    A Russian I work with tells me that to be a KGB field agent you have to be a "special" kind of evil.

  2. Bush really fucked up with that "looked in to his eyes" speech a few years ago.

    A Russian I work with tells me that to be a KGB field agent you have to be a "special" kind of evil.

    The one thing that I take solace in is the results in the Ukraine, once the shenanigans were thrown out. The people aren't going to stand for the old ways.

    Now, can the people get rid of Putin before he gets rid of them?

  3. Yeah, this Putin guy is very scary. It's like the old soviet style of communism all over again.

    Of course, I'm not making any startling observations here, just thinking 'out loud', I suppose.

  4. If this is Bush's idea of a man with a good heart, I'd hate to see what Bush's idea of evil is.

  5. thoreau:

    why a cross-polinization of kerry and saddam, of course...

  6. Russia has pretty much always been ruled repressively. What do you expect from a nation that was started by Vikings?

    When the USSR came down I said, "but Russia is not done and over." See? They've done this fall apart, then put it back together thing more than once before.

    What Bush wants (is getting?) that makes him praise Putin in beyond me. But at least it's not quite as scarry as the way Clinton was China-friendly.

  7. Putin may be scary but in the long run the best thing he could do for himself is learn Chinese. IMHO

  8. In Russia itself the people have generally preferred the "Strong Hand". Thus the nostalgia for Stalin. Putin is not an abberation he is the Russian norm.

    Perhaps Putin's model is Taiwan: political liberalization follows economic liberalization. If so Yukos is not a good sign.

    Fortunately for America these days Russian ambitions are regional. Unfortunately it covers a very large region.

  9. I knew it couldn't last - a man willing to foot the bill for the translation and publication of Atlas Shrugged in Russia just doesn't have a future there.

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