Putin and the St. Petersburg chain reaction

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.


  1. Outstanding post. I am laughing out loud. You have found the comedy in a situation which sadly also creates lots of inefficiencies.

  2. I think its normal, but a very interesting point of view. Will check for licensplates now to discover the hidden structure of Moscow. That would be an interesting research for a communications or business student.

    Wonder how many Texas license plates you’d find in Washington 😉

    Keep up the good work. Greetings.

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