Is Russia Normal?

Not according to Anders Aslund. Corruption is becoming such a problem, that public outrage could potentially reach a tipping point.

Over the past eight years three major factors have defined the state of affairs in Russia. First, the country’s gross domestic product has grown by 27 percent a year in dollar terms. Second, the country has moved from being partially democratic to authoritarian. Third, its level of corruption has not decreased according to the measurements of the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Transparency International, while corruption has abated elsewhere. In these regards, Russia is no longer normal, but extreme. (…) Needless to say, a state as corrupt as Russia is far from being strong; it is dysfunctional and weak. Corruption poses a systemic threat to the quality of education, health care, and the stability of the state as a whole. The government’s inability to carry out major infrastructure projects is a good example of its fundamental weakness. The country suffers a desperate shortage of qualified labor because much of the education system has been eroded by corruption, and the government has made no attempt to clean it up.