The global economic crisis exposed the vulnerability of Russia’s raw-material model of development and highlighted the need for economic modernization.
The key controversy among the political elites centres on how the modernization should be carried out and whether the current regime is actually capable of driving the change.
Liberals argue that in the absence of a comprehensive modernization of the country’s political system, it is unlikely that the stated objectives of economic modernization will be attained. Authorities reply by stressing the need for ‘consolidated actions’ with state participation.
The major stumbling block of modernization is the ‘hybrid’ nature of the current regime. Medvedev’s call for concrete and immediate actions to modernize the economy is more characteristic of playing with words and tactical manoeuvres than any real attempt to change the rules of the game.