When Putin appoints, say, an old pal from St. Petersburg to head a state-owned company, the new CEO brings his own pals to help him run the business; those pals bring in their own buddies, and so on. As a consequence, there are too many cars with St. Petersburg plates in Moscow.
O Fortuna, velut luna statu variabilis! Yesterday, a secretary in a dingy office — now the HR director at a subsidiary of a subsidiary of a state-controlled energy behemoth. Yesterday, a mid-level bureaucrat in the mayor’s administration — today, the helmsman at Gazprom. Yesterday, selling sugar and spice to St. Pete shopkeepers — today, selling equipment to Rosneft and Gazprom.
Personal loyalty — how indispensable are you! Not only in Russia’s bureaucratic jungle but also in those boundless realms of its economy that are founded upon perpetual redistribution of monopoly rents.