This bit comes from Forbes, reminding readers of something we’ve been saying for years: Russia could be so much more successful if the state just loosened its grip on economy and society, and let natural ingenuity and innovation of Russian people reach its potential.
In Russia, entrepreneurs don’t just compete with each other, they have to watch that the government isn’t lurking around the corner, planning to seize the fruits of their hard work. Many large natural-resources companies are partly owned by the government–or at the very least, are vulnerable to the government’s whims. But there is a separate sector, made up of fast-growing consumer products companies, telecoms, pharmaceuticals and others, that operates mostly without government interference. The danger, though, is that this divided economy could result in stagnation. There is an ever-present fear that the government will arbitrarily choose another sector to sink its teeth into. As the newly minted president, Dmitry Medvedev, takes over from Putin, many in Russia are anxious about which way the economic and political winds are blowing.