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Essay on International Power Attainment over Proposed Change

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From the Western perspective, it is hard to attain a clear picture of the current state of Russian political and economic institutions. The opaque nature of the government and of Russia’s markets highlights a lack of transparency once hopefully envisioned under movements like Glasnost and Perestroika, regarding liberalization of Russia’s economy and democratization of its society and government. The question is, has Russia really changed that much from the Soviet era, and if so how can we take measure of the change or is it even possible to do so? We regularly notice isolated occurrences, such as oligarchs getting arrested, mergers and acquisitions within certain market segments, reporters disappearing, regional unrest, and Russia giving up its hopes of joining western institutions. We get no clear sense of whether the Russian people have a voice, of whether their welfare is a state priority, or of whether the Russian markets operate with the freedom and openness envisioned after the Soviet collapse. The only hope westerners have for gleaning any sort of reasonable depiction of modern Russia is through inferences made from specific cases. Gazprom is one such case, and it suggests that, despite claims of democratization and liberal economic order, modern Russia still resembles itself from the collapse of the Soviet Union. In late 2008 Russia and Ukraine were again embroiled in their continuous battle over natural resources; specifically, the conflict involved the new rates Russia would charge in 2009 for natural gas. With growing energy security concerns rising in Western Europe, and the Russian gas giant Gazprom gaining significant strength and leverage there, the debate raged and continues to rage over the future role of Gazprom...


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Treisman, D. (2002). russia renewed? [Electronic version]. Foreign Affairs, 81(6), 58-72. Retrieved January 24, 2010, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20033344.

Trenin, D. (2009). russia reborn. [Electronic version]. Foreign Affairs, 88(6), 64-78. Retrieved February 13, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 1887894861).

Whitefield, Stephen (2009). russia citizens and russian democracy: perceptions of state governance and democratic practice, 1993-2007. [Electronic version] Post-Soviet Affairs, 25(2), 93-117. Retrieved February 13, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 10.2747/1060-586X.24.2.93)







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