A couple of blogs have posts that make points familiar to SWP readers. One is at Cicero’s Songs. He also argues that the economic crisis raises the specter of internecine warfare and civil unrest in Russia. (Since Cicero describes himself as “an economic liberal”–as am I, in the British/European, rather than American sense of the word–this confluence of opinions on Russia probably reflects a similarity in worldviews. A worldview that differs notably from DR, for instance–hence our almost perfectly negatively correlated opinions on virtually every issue;-) Except for ethanol, perhaps.)
Although I agree with Cicero’s bigger points, I have a few quibbles. Putin didn’t consciously elect for Russia to suffer the resource curse–it was endowed with it. That said, Putin et al have done everything to exacerbate, and nothing to palliate, all of the pernicious effects of this curse. They revel in it. Also, the “85% of GDP relies on the extraction of raw materials” figure is clearly wrong. I think Cicero means that 85 percent of export earnings are derived from natural resources.
Another SWP-approved post is this one from Political Betting. Author Balakirev argues that economic reality is slowly dawning on the folks in power. That is likely, although there are still behaviors that suggest that denial has not been banished altogether. Now the question (implicit in the previous post) is: when will everybody else in Russia figure this out?