Vladimir Putin, Russia’s once-and-future president, has built his political reputation on a perceived ability to enforce order and revive the country’s economy. But a review of official Russian government economic data, in particular import and export figures, suggests that Russia has moved backwards under Putin, at least in terms of the country’s efforts to develop an advanced, high-tech economy.
Russia’s presidential election will be held March 4, and it appears a foregone conclusion that Putin will return to the presidency. Whether in the capacity of president or prime minister, Putin has been in charge of Russia’s economy since mid-1999, and he seems a decent bet to keep running the country for the foreseeable future.
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Justin Burke is Eurasianet's Managing Editor.