The view from Russian business

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If you want to learn about the real challenges faced by Russia, you could do worse then surveying its captains of industry. This is exactly what the New Economic School did earlier this year in cooperation with Vedomosti and the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation. The results appear in a report called Challenges 2020: The View from Russian Business. (An aside: One of the true success stories of private higher education in the transition countries is that of the New Economic School. If you're looking to hire a bright economist in the know about Russia, this is your go-to place.)

One of the most striking findings from the survey comes from respondents' answers to a question about what they hope Russia will be like in 2020. The most popular response? Free. The least popular response was strong, with only 22 percent of respondents giving this answer. It seems that despite the dominance of Russian government in the business world, Russia's business leaders still maintain some liberal instincts. (I should hasten to add that the survey intentionally excluded representatives of the energy industry.)

Although the businessmen wanted a free Russia, they weren't particularly concerned about individual rights like freedom of the press or political freedoms. They were more concerned about corruption, an ineffective judiciary, and the rule of law. The authors of the report summed it up this way:

According to captains of Russian business (including the leaders of state-owned companies), a corrupt and inefficient bureaucracy, increasingly meddling in the economy, is the main challenge for Russia.


Ryan Hahn

Operations Officer

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