Experts discussed accomplishments of the second wave of liberal reforms.

Reformers toted up results of Vladimir Putin’s economic decade within the framework of the so called Strategy’2010. Adopted in June 2000, this action plan launched the second wave of liberal reforms in Russia.

Strategy’2010 is the only long-term program of development which already ran its course but whose sponsors and operators are still in the corridors of power. Herman Gref who had supervised the drawing of the program (he headed the Center for Strategic Designs Center back then) spent seven years of the program’s ten as the economic development minister, i.e. in the position to try his theories in practice. Aleksei Kudrin, the second prime reformer, remains the finance minister. Putin is there as well, right at the top.

Implementation of the program was relatively successful. Steps and measures outlined in the document were made and taken by 36%. Of ten strategic objectives of the development, three might be regarded as essentially accomplished. Were it not for the crisis, the GDP would have doubled. The GDP per capital ratio rose from $7,800 in 2000 to $15,900 in 2008, elevating Russia to the “medium income ” category. State debts were successfully taken care of, so that Russia is a country with one of the smallest state debts in the world nowadays.

It is fair to add, however, that all three strategic objectives were accomplished just because Russia grew wealthier. It was in May 2000 that oil prices started going up and this trend lasted until July 2008. A barrel cost $25 ten years ago, its price is triple that nowadays. By and large, these ten years might be called Kudrin’s Decade. It is Kudrin who had Russia pay debts and Kudrin who saved oil dividends in the budget. Best successful reforms in Russia (tax and budget) were carried out within his sphere of competence.

The spheres Gref was responsible for are worse off. Structure of the national economy remained essentially unchanged – forget diversification and abolition of dependance on oil and gas export. Competitive capacity of Russian goods and services leaves much to be desired.

Modernization of economy is the high priority again even though this is exactly what Strategy’2010 was about. Efforts and finances notwithstanding, nothing of importance changed in the system of public administration. Either the reforms were never even initiated, or they were under way yet, or else they did not live up to the expectations, said one of Strategy’2010 sponsors Mikhail Dmitriyev.

Institutional failures became probably the worst frustration. War on corruption failed, progress in protection of property was imperceptible… All these strategic objectives of the program adopted a decade ago belong to the spheres Putin was responsible for – development of the cult of education, self-value and independence of individual; installation and development of social institutions; advancement of self-government bodies and their efficiency; independence of the judiciary and unconditional abidance by the law.

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