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The Surprising Success of Putinomics

Behind Putin's Formula for Holding Onto Power

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a wreath laying ceremony in Volgograd, Russia, February 2, 2018. Alexei Druzhinin / Kremlin via Reuters

“Putin Watches Russian Economy Collapse Along with His Stature,” blared a headline in Time in late 2014. Yet three years have passed since the price of oil crashed in 2014, halving the value of the commodity that once funded half of Russia’s government budget. That same year, the West imposed harsh economic sanctions on Russia’s banks, energy firms, and defense sector, cutting off Russia’s largest firms from international capital markets and high-tech oil drilling gear. Many analysts—in Russia as well as abroad—thought that economic crisis might threaten Vladimir Putin’s hold on power. It doesn’t look that way now.

Today, Russia’s economy has stabilized, inflation is at historic lows, the budget is nearly balanced, and Putin is coasting toward reelection on March 18, positioning him for a fourth term as president. Putin has recently overtaken Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev as the longest-serving Russian leader since Joseph

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