Case 306 - Political Economy in Putin's Russia: YUKOS and the Demise of an Oligarch
Rotnem, Thomas E.
In October 2003 Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Russia’s richest “oligarch,” was arrested on charges of theft, embezzlement, and fraud. The Russian prosecutor general argued that Khodorkovsky was arrested due to illegal activities undertaken during the anarchic era of privatization in the mid-1990s. Western and domestic critics disputed such assertions, however, contending instead that Khodorkovsky was detained for political purposes by an increasingly authoritarian regime, headed by President Vladimir Putin. This case study will benefit instructors who wish to shed light on a variety of topics, including the developing authoritarianism in Putin’s Russia, interest group politics in post-Soviet politics, and the political economy of economic and administrative reform and foreign direct investment in post-communist societies.