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Opinion
Leonid Bershidsky

Putin Badly Needs a Domestic Plan

Russian government economists warn there will be no growth without reforms. Putin seem finally willing to listen.
Expect pressure to rise.

Expect pressure to rise.

Photographer:

The Russian government has approved a sober, and sobering, economic forecast for the next three years. The country's prospects look so joyless that President Vladimir Putin may finally start listening to the mainstream economists who have stuck with him despite his unconcealed preference for a huge public sector tempered with a dose of crony capitalism.

Today's Russian leaders appear to exist in a parallel universe, where Russia is besieged by a hostile West and fighting for survival against a sinister global hegemon. In another era, this would have led them to embrace unorthodox economic theories or start hiding data about the true state of the national economy from the world and from ordinary Russians. That, however, is not happening.