And that’s why “socialists” the world over support the Kremlin

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As of 2014, most public institutions in Russia are defunct or disintegrating rapidly. The political system is not worthy of its name: The parliament is full of populist loyalists, the “non-systemic” (i.e. real) opposition is banned from the ballots and reduced to blogging, and the government is a kleptocracy with no strategic vision (though not without exceptions, predominantly in the “economic bloc” of ministries). The media, which were just targeted by a punitive law with very few exceptions, are reduced to either Kremlin sycophants or oppositional castigators, neither side caring much about professionalism, balanced coverage or avoidance of outright bias: more propaganda than media proper.

The investment climate is dismal, and private business is treated by the state as a form of natural resources to be taxed clean instead of extracted. Supposedly free health care is in fact funded by patients’ bribes, and medics quit state clinics in droves because of the laughable pay. The outdated education system is being choked to death by bureaucrats, and students study for diplomas, not knowledge. The pension system is about to be dismantled.

The list above comprises only the highlights. Russia is overdue for reforms so deep that it means rebuilding the country from scratch. For now, Putin’s government is going out of its way to stall development and in effect de-modernize the country, but history always gets its due — and when it does, it will be time to update Russia on all fronts.

“Life after Putin: Russia Needs to Be Rebuilt from Scratch,” The Moscow Times, September 29, 2014

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