Russia did not become a free-market democracy since the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991
When Mkhail Gorbachev was detained in the Crimea, August 19, 1991 thus ended the Soviet Union. Boris Yeltsin, the first democratically elected president of Russia, called for resistance against the coup. When Gorbachev returned to Moscow August 22, the Soviet Union was revealed to have an economy the size of Belgium's. There were some freedoms, however, the two main pillars of the Soviet state, propaganda and repression were restored. A decade of economic growth aided by market reforms and rising oil prices in the 1990s ensured the Russian economy now stagnates. The military industrial complex is now central to the economy. Aggression abroad led to the invasion of Georgia and Ukraine, intervening in Syria, undermining Euro-Atlantic institutions supporting right wing parties in Europe and interfering in the US presidential election.
Yeltsin appointed Putin as his successor. Putin was expected to liberate the country instead he reinstated an archaic model of state. The collapse of the Soviet Union led to the creation of private banks, restaurants and mobile phone networks. The Russian state no longer controls people's lives. a young educated middle class ignore politics and enjoyed the 1998-2009 economic growth. The job swap between Medvedev and Putin ensured many people felt duped. Street protests demanded a European style nation state, Putin responded by annexing Crimea, the protests stopped. Putin's Russia is a slippery construct in which simulation and bluff predominate.
Russia used its abundant natural resources to create a corporatist state that suppressed competition the share of the state in the economy is now 70%. The slump in oil prices and sanctions have exacerbated problems in the Russian economy. Russia's economy is not free, rules are enforced inconsistently.
Russia's natural resources passed to the oligarchs, Putin's violent associates got the natural resources back by devious means. Putin has mastered mystery, miracle and authority to remain in power until 2024. Unfortunately for Putin his adventures inUkraine, Georgia and Syria demonstrate deep insecurity.
Take care of Russia Yeltsin warned Putin on leaving Russian politics. Putin has ruled Russia using the same anachronistic methods that pushed Russia into decline and political upheaval at earlier points in its history. Putin attempt at resurgence may mask its decline.
Source: Putinism, a special report on Russia, the economist, October 2016