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Lack of Balance between Responsibility and Control Retarding Russia’s Economic Growth, Moscow Scholar Says

Staunton, October 30 – Despite the convergence of the political systems of Russia and China, the Chinese economy is growing rapidly while Russia’s is lagging behind, the result, Andrey Yakovlev says, of Moscow’ failure compared to China to maintain a balance between responsibility and control.

Yakovlev, a professor at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, argues in a new paper that both countries have tried to ensure control as well as economic development but that China has found a successful balance while Russia has not largely because Moscow has not made the future of officials and businessmen dependent on results.

Instead, he says, Russian officials responsible for controlling the economy are judged not by economic growth but by their participation in anti-corruption campaigns and the like, while Chinese officials are judged precisely on that basis and will be promoted, demoted or fired depending on the growth of economic indicators.

If Russia is to succeed economically with the political system that it now has in place, Yakovlev continues, then Moscow almost certainly would find it advantageous to “try to introduce those mechanisms which work in China now and worked in the Soviet Union in the past.”

Over the last decade, he argues, the political and economic systems of Russia and China have converged with the formation of state capitalism. Both have imposed restrictions on political competition, both have massive corruption, and both have weak legal and especially judicial systems.

But there is “a paradox,” he continues. The Chinese economy is growing rapidly while Russia’s is stagnating. Some have suggested that this reflects differences in center-periphery relations, but while those were relatively great in the 1990s, they are now minimal, with Moscow having reimposed tight control over the federal subjects.

Others have argued that the two countries adopted different forms of economic planning on the …read more

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