‘Russia’s economic woes down to political status quo’

Russian presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich (RIA Novosti/Alexander Natruskin)
Problems in the Russian economy are rooted in the drawbacks of the political system, say First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov and Presidential Aide Arkady Dvorkovich, who are currently in Davos at the World Economic Forum.

­“I’m sure that the roots of many problems are in the status quo of the political system,” Shuvalov stated on Friday, adding though that “this situation is never perfect”. He cited the example of the US and UK, where “voters are always negative about the current condition of the political system.”

Commenting on the recent rise in political and civil activity in Russia, Shuvalov said these are “clear signals indicating that this state of things can no longer be tolerated.”

“What is important is that all these are positive developments, and they should be strengthened,” the official noted. “But without going to extremes, either falling into conservatism… or, on the contrary, giving too much freedom to turn it all into chaos.”

Presidential Aide Arkady Dvorkovich went further, detailing the specific drawbacks of the existing model. In his view, the main problems are “excessive interference of the government in the economy” and “permanent pressure from the state”.

Other key issues that need to be addressed include corruption and the absence of social mobility, Dvorkovich said.

“There is a well-known saying, you can only rely on something that resists,” the presidential aide observed. “We need this resistance. But if this is just resistance for the sake of resistance, stubborn and leading to nothing, we won’t be able to do anything about this.”