Institute Cites “Inertia and Decay” in Russian Government and Economy

Director Igor Yurgens of the Institute for Contemporary Development. Source: Arkady Kolybalov/Rossiyskaya GazetaThe state of Russia’s government and economy is under harsh criticism in a new report published Wednesday by the Institute for Contemporary Development, a prominent Russian think tank.

The 65-page report, entitled “21st Century Russia: The Image of the Tomorrow We Want,” cites the country’s dependence on raw material exports and an ineffective government as problems that have caused “inertia and decay,” allowing Russia to fall into a “historical trap.”

In order to become a country that is “modernized in all respects,” a “strategic agreement” must be reached in Russian society, the authors say.

Among measures to achieve this, the report proposes returning to a four-year presidential term instead of the current six years, abolishing censorship, allowing for the existence of a viable multi-party system, and joining NATO. The authors also propose dissolving the Internal Ministry, which heads the country’s police forces, and the Federal Security Services, the successor organization of the KGB.

The authors go on to say that the lack of social consensus on political values and global viewpoints can serve as a starting point for discussion in Russia on how to overcome what President Dmitri Medvedev has called an “embarrassing dependence” on oil and other raw material exports.

Co-author Yevgeny Gontmakher said that the report is set to coincide with the release of a new policy document by United Russia, the country’s leading political party headed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

The critical report is noteworthy for the think tank’s close ties to President Medvedev, who heads its board of trustees.

However, Russia’s political opposition was muted in its response to the report. Opposition leader Garry Kasparov has previously accused the Institute for Contemporary Development and it’s director, Igor Yurgens, of being “ideological opponents” of those working towards genuine reform, criticizing them for cheapening the understandings of “democracy” and “liberalism” in Russian society.

A PDF of the report in Russian can be found be clicking here.