Nemtsov and Russian Democracy are dead. Neoliberalism is to blame

The assassination of Boris Nemtsov on 27.2.15 brings into new light the problems of Russian Democracy. The failure of Capitalism to translate into Democracy is evident in both Russia and China and as I argued in my 2010 book places the whole policy of the West as to democratisation via marketisation in jeopardy. Of course it is convenient to blame the death of Russian democracy on Putin and the inadequacies of the Yeltsin regime that preceded him. Within this narrative of blame it is easy to excuse the corrosive influence of western advice and the neoliberal ideas that were tested on Russia in the 1990s. I have argued that defects in marketisation and the downgrading of democracy inherent in neoliberalism could have led to little else than the oligarchic illiberal capitalism that one sees today in Russia.

While Putin presents a problem that the west needs to address, both for its domestic and international consequences (Ukraine), the failure of the idea of markets as a Trojan horse for democracy should worry us more. Thinking marketisation or liberalisation clearly no longer means democratisation. Western institutions like the World Bank and the IMF better remember this when they propose ‘market friendly’ interventions across the world.

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@iGlinavos

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