An extract on #evimsahane
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia had undergone a radical transformation, moving from a centrally planned economy to a globally integrated market economy. Corrupt and haphazard privatization processes turned over major state-owned firms to politically connected "oligarchs", which has left equity ownership highly concentrated.
Yeltsin's program of radical, market-oriented reform came to be known as a "shock therapy". It was based on the recommendations of the IMF and a group of top American economists, including Larry Summers. The result was disastrous, with real GDP falling by more than 40% by 1999, hyperinflation which wiped out personal savings, crime and destitution spreading rapidly.
The majority of state enterprises were privatized amid great controversy and subsequently came to be owned by insiders for far less than they were worth. For example, the director of a factory during the Soviet regime would often become the owner of the same enterprise. Under the government's cover, outrageous financial manipulations were performed that enriched a narrow group of individuals at key positions of business and government. Many of them promptly invested their newfound wealth abroad producing an enormous capital flight.
Difficulties in collecting government revenues amid the collapsing economy and a dependence on short-term borrowing to finance budget deficits led to the 1998 Russian financial crisis.
In the 1990s Russia was "the largest borrower" from the International Monetary Fund with loans totaling $20 billion. The IMF was the subject of criticism for lending so much as Russia introduced little of the reforms promised for the money and a large part of these funds could have been "diverted from their intended purpose and included in the flows of capital that left the country illegally".
Russia is also a leading producer and exporter of minerals and gold. Russia is the largest diamond-producing nation in the world, estimated to produce over 33 million carats in 2013, or 25% of global output valued at over $3.4 billion, with state-owned ALROSA accounting for approximately 95% of all Russian production.
Expecting the area to become more accessible as climate change melts Arctic ice, and believing the area contains large reserves of untapped oil and natural gas, Russian explorers on 2 August 2007 in submersibles planted the Russian flag on the Arctic seabed, staking a claim to energy sources right up to the North Pole. Reaction to the event was mixed: President Vladimir Putin congratulated the explorers for "the outstanding scientific project", while Canadian officials stated the expedition was just a public show.
Under the Federal Law "On Continental Shelf Development" upon proposal from the federal agency managing the state fund of mineral resources, or its territorial offices, the Russian government approves the list of some sections of the mineral resources that are passed for development without any contests and auctions, some sections of federal importance of the Russian continental shelf, some sections of the mineral resources of federal importance that are situated in Russia and stretch out on its continental shelf, some gas deposits of federal importance that are handed over for prospecting and developing mineral resources under a joint license. The Russian government is also empowered to decide on the handover of the previously mentioned sections of the mineral resources for development without any contests and auctions.