Friday, February 27, 2004

# Posted 4:31 AM by Patrick Belton  

OH, PRIVATISATSIYA: An interesting glimpse into the economic structure of contemporary Russia is in Forbes's just-released list of billionaires: once you scan past the palaver about Harry Potter, you get to this interesting bit:
New York was the home base of choice for the super-rich, with 31 of them living there. Moscow came in second with 23, followed by Hong Kong with 16 and Paris with 10.
Almost as many billionaires live in Moscow as in New York! That there would be comparable numbers of billionaires living in the financial capital of a nation with a PPP GDP of $1.409 trillion and that of one of $10.45 trillion is a stunning indication of the oligarchic character of a country where like medieval Western Europe there are only two true powers, declining oligarchs and a rising dirigiste state. The professional and commercial middle classes, so important for democratization, are in mother Russia dearly missed.
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