Petrostate: Putin, Power and the New Russia

Petrostate: Putin, Power and the New Russia

Monday, May 5, 2008
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
CISAC Conference Room
  • Marshall Goldman
In the aftermath of the financial collapse of August 1998, it looked as if Russia's day as a superpower had come and gone. That it should recover and reassert itself after less than a decade is nothing short of an economic and political miracle.
Marshall Goldman incorporated extensive research, including several interviews with Vladimir Putin, in his new revealing book that chronicles Russia's dramatic reemergence on the world stage, illuminating the key reason for its rebirth: the use of its ever-expanding energy wealth to reassert its traditional great power ambitions. Goldman traces how this has come to be, and how Russia is using its oil-based power as a lever in world politics. Goldman provides an informative overview of oil in Russia, traces Vladimir Putin's determined effort to reign in the upstart oil oligarchs who had risen to power in the post-Soviet era, and describes Putin's efforts to renationalize and refashion Russia's industries into state companies and his vaunted "national champions" corporations like Gazprom, largely owned by the state, who do the bidding of the state. Goldman shows how Russia paid off its international debt and has gone on to accumulate the world's third largest holdings of foreign currency reserves--all by becoming the world's largest producer of petroleum and the world's second largest exporter. Today, Vladimir Putin and his cohort have stabilized the Russian economy and recentralized power in Moscow, and fossil fuels (oil and natural gas) have made it all possible.
The story of oil and gas in Russia is a tale of discovery, intrigue, corruption, wealth, misguidance, greed, patronage, nepotism, and power. Marshall Goldman tells this story with panache, as only one of the world's leading authorities on Russia could.

About the Speaker
Marshall I. Goldman is the Kathryn W. Davis Professor of Soviet Economics Emeritus at Wellesley College and until he retired, the Associate Director of the Davis Center for Russian Studies at Harvard University. He earned a B.S. in economics from the WhartonSchool of the University of Pennsylvania (1952), and an M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University, as well as an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1985. He has also been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Goldman’s publications include The Piratization of the Russian Economy, (Routledge April 2003), Lost Opportunity: Why Economic Reforms in Russia Have Not Worked (W.W. Norton, 1994), What Went Wrong with Perestroika: The Rise and Fall of Mikhail Gorbachev (W.W. Norton, 1991), Gorbachev’s Challenge: Economic Reform in the Age of High Technology (1987), The USSR in Crisis: The Failure of an Economic Model (1983), The Enigma of Soviet Petroleum: Half Empty or Half Full? ((1980), Détente and Dollars: Doing Business with the Soviets (1975), The Spoils of Progress: Environmental Pollution in the Soviet Union (1972), and Ecology and Economics: Controlling Pollution in the 70’s (1972). Dr. Goldman has published widely in Foreign Affairs, Atlantic Monthly, Boston Globe, Harvard Business Review, New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. He is a frequent guest on CNN and “Good Morning America” and has appeared on “NewsHour”, “Crossfire”, “Face the Nation”, “The Today Show”, “Nightline”, and NPR.

Dr. Goldman’s latest book, to be published by Oxford University Press in April, 2008, is Petrostate: Putin, Power and the New Russia.

This seminar is jointly sponsored by the Forum on Contemporary Europe and the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies.