Economists have allowed the “democratization” of Russia after the fall in oil prices


Report the chief economist of Renaissance Capital, Charles Robertson “the Revolutionary nature of growth” (have) on the relationship between country wealth (GDP per capita) and its ability to shift from an authoritarian to a democratic regime. The economist notes that after the collapse of oil prices in 1985 in a number of countries-exporters (Mexico, USSR, Iran, and Algeria) in 1988-1990 occurred democratic change. According to Robertson, something similar could happen this time: the drop in oil prices 2014-2015 may be followed by the democratization of political regimes in Russia, Iran and Venezuela. The author of the report comes from the fact that Russia is not a full democracy, and combines democratic and authoritarian elements. On a scale from -10 to +10 (from the “absolute autocracy” to “a fully democratic regime”) Russia and Venezuela are located at level +4.

The “democratization” of these countries could occur by the 2018-2020 years, said Robertson. At the same time he makes a reservation that the volume of historical data is not enough extensive to speak about the high probability of such a scenario.

Examining the data on the changes of political regimes and the dynamics of GDP per capita in historical perspective, Robertson came to the conclusion that for the open semi-authoritarian regimes,” which he includes Russia and Venezuela, with a GDP of $15-25 thousand per capita ($24 million, according to the world Bank over the past year, in constant prices of 2011) the probability of transition to democracy reaches its maximum (10%); other ranges of per capita GDP it is smaller.

Robertson believes that the leaving President Vladimir Putin out of power Russia can again become a democracy “such as it was in 2000-2006”. Under Putin, according to Robertson, the political regime in Russia could deteriorate to levels Turkey (+3) and below. The economist notes that the rating of the Russian political regime can severely impact the upcoming September parliamentary elections.

Russia, like other open semi-authoritarian” country, with a per capita GDP in the range of $15-25 thousand, fell in the “middle income trap”, says Robertson. Such economy can not grow without political change, but to rise above $25 thousand, as a rule, we need independent justice, political openness and freedom”. Therefore, “Russia has a choice — economic stagnation or political change,” says economist at Renaissance Capital.

While semi-authoritarian regimes with increasing wealth is becoming less likely (and does disappear with GDP per capita above $25 million), the countries-oil exporters are the way of democratization less likely, says Robertson.

To jump right from authoritarianism to democracy (bypassing the semi-authoritarian stage) is virtually impossible, writes the economist: to the authoritarian regimes in the GDP in the range of $15-25 thousand probability of such a transition is only 1.7%, and examples of such a transition with a GDP of $25 thousand not know the story at all. The reverse transition — from more democratic to more authoritarian regime — with GDP in the range of $15-25 thousand also, statistically, impossible. Therefore, stresses Robertson, he was sure from the beginning that the July military coup in Turkey will fail.

Autocracy with a GDP above $25 thousand per capita Robertson calls “the immortal”. The probability of a transition to a more democratic regime for the countries assessed by the report as zero. Not too high, the probability of democratic changes and authoritarian regimes with a GDP per capita of $15-25 thousand is the only event demonstrated Taiwan.

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