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Putin's Petroleum Problem

How Oil Is Holding Russia Back—and How It Could Save It

Author: Thane Gustafson
November/December 2012
Foreign Affairs


Last winter, a wave of mass demonstrations suddenly broke the surface calm of Russian politics. A new middle class, born of the oil-based prosperity of the last decade, took to the streets to voice its opposition to the perceived corruption of the political elite, especially United Russia, the ruling party of then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. For a time, as the protest movement gained momentum, the very foundations of the regime appeared to shake.

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