On Monday, 22nd February, the Dahrendorf Forum hosted Dr. Vladimir Mau for a lunchtime talk at the London School of Economics, entitled “Russia’s Economic Policy and the Global Crisis.” Below is a brief summary written by Dr. Vlad Zubok, Professor of International History at the LSE.
Professor Vladimir Mau is a prominent Russian economist. Since 1991 he participated in the development and implementation of economic reforms in Russia, including working as Advisor to the Chairman of the Russian Government from 1992-1993. In 1997 – 2002 Vladimir Mau was the Head of the Working Center for Economic Reforms of the Russian Government. In 2002, he became the Rector of the Academy of National Economy under the Government of the Russian Federation.
His talk at the LSE explored Russia’s economic situation and the policies of its government. He particularly emphasized the fact that Russian economy faces internal structural challenges, as well as external shocks and constraints, primarily Western sanctions. Without resolving the former, he said, Russia will not return to economic growth; without improving the external environment, the Russian economy faces a long-term technological decline and the problem of export-import imbalance. Mau avoided comments on the political variables. At the same time, his outlook was not gloomy: he construes the current crisis as an opportunity for Russia. In his opinion, the Russian leadership avoided fatal errors in its economic and financial policies that could have produced hyperinflation and evaporation of currency reserves.
In his glimpses of a longer historical perspective, Mau mentioned that Russia (and the Soviet Union) had experienced severe shocks during the previous hundred years, and thus, is now more flexible and prepared to deal with crisis than the previous regimes. Whatever happens with Russian politics, Russia continues largely on track of neoliberal economic strategy, which includes balanced budged and controlled inflation. The main challenges to stability, in his opinion, remain the future of the pension system, investment into human capital (education, etc.), and the healthcare system. What magnifies these challenges is the fact that there are currently no good models in the world that Russia could study and emulate.