Russia and the Global Financial Crisis

Just over a year ago, Dmitri Medvedev was elected as the third President of the Russian Federation. His presidential predecessor and long time mentor, Vladimir Putin, assumed the office of prime minister shortly thereafter. In an interview with Itogi, just prior to the 2 March 2008 elections, Medvedev gave a strong indication of what his plans were for Russia: “We want stability and continuation with the course that has been chosen. We do not want disturbances of any kind.”

The theme of Medvedev’s presidential tenure, then, was to have been continuity of “Putin’s plan” for Russia, which was first drawn out in Putin’s “Millennium Statement” in January 2000 when he became acting President. This meant continuing the high annual growth rates that Russia enjoyed from 1999 through 2008 of 7 percent on average, increased state ownership (or at least management) of Russia’s vast mineral resources, the resurrection of Russia as a foreign policy superpower, and the establishment of Russia as an emerging financial powerhouse on par with Brazil, India, and China (keeping the “R” in BRIC). Medvedev had also put on his agenda improving Russia’s social infrastructure in the areas of housing, healthcare, transportation, and education, a multi-faceted program termed National Projects.

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