chapter  15
The Kremlin and the oligarchs: Clashing economic interests in Russia
ByANDRÉ MOMMEN WITH VASILIY VALUEV AND
Pages 35

The Russian financial crisis of 1998 marked the beginning of the end of President Yeltsin’s regime. After Putin’s election in 2000 the oligarchs monopolising the media, the banking sector and the exporting industries were losing their foothold. Backed by the security forces Putin was opting for a strong and centralised Russian state financed out of export revenues. He does not regret the fall of communism, but the loss of centralised control that ensured political and military stability. Putin has no intention of reversing the privatisations of the early 1990s; he prefers to create a working relationship between state and enterprises in order to achieve the declared goals of sustained economic growth, financial stability and military strength. In the meantime, Putin launched a war on the oligarchs controlling Russia’s exporting industries in the sector of oil, gas and metals. Tight control on export gains has to generate financial reserves to be used for a comprehensive industrial modernisation project that has to strengthen Russia’s position as an important economic power and as a major player in the Eurasian region.