| Russia's economic system provides "growth without
development," Yabloko party leader Grigory
Yavlinsky told an audience gathered in Moscow on Tuesday for the launch
of his latest book, "Peripheral Capitalism."
Economic indicators like credit ratings and Central Bank reserves may
rise, he said, but they are not helping to modernize society.
Yavlinsky, an economist by training, established himself as a leading
democrat after entering politics in the early 1990s. One-fourth of the
population enjoys an "average, modern standard of living," he
the remaining three-fourths falls short of that.
Europe's middle class is made up of "teachers, doctors, engineers,
managers," he said, while Russia's is "a very narrow circle
providing specialized services -- restaurants, taxis, girls."
Russia has a capitalist economy that, unlike its Soviet predecessor,
is tied to world markets, he said, explaining the book's title, but that
exists "on the most distant margins." Yavlinsky said that the
economic system "has no future from the medium- and long-term point
"We used to have Gosplan," the state central planning agency,
"Now we have Gosklan. What's the difference? In substance, nothing
Less than 150 people make all key decisions in the country, and
ultimately "all businesses, parliament, the media and the courts
controlled by one person," he said, in reference to President Vladimir
One "exceptionally important" weakness of the system is that
rights "are not unconditional," he said. "Nothing is guaranteed
Without a dismantling of the oligarchic system, in which, he said,
20-30 top business structures control 70 percent of the economy, the country
will eventually lose what it has gained through "deep demodernization."
Yavlinsky is the author of some 60 books and articles, his web site
says. His previous books include "Russia's Phony Capitalism,"
1998, and "Demodernization," published in 2002.
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