Creating a Culture of Giving
February 12, 2012
Op-ed by: Simon Saradzhyan, Belfer Center fellow
Topic: Russian philanthropic projects
“It is a truism that rapid accumulation of wealth by a privileged minority is bound to generate lasting resentment by the majority. It is the latter that presidential candidate Vladimir Putin decided to use as a campaign issue when he announced last week that Russia’s business tycoons should pay a fee to win public acceptance of privatization deals they benefited from in the 1990s.
Whether Putin will follow through with this campaign promise is an open question. After all, most of Russia’s surviving ‘robber barons’ have been recently both more law-abiding and loyal to him. Not only do they dutifully pay taxes, but they also invest where the government asks them to. And some of these moguls even agree to play the role of opposition to create the impression of a competitive democratic process.”