Thane GustafsonWheel of Fortune: The Battle for Oil and Power in Russia

Harvard University Press, 2014

by Filipp Velgach on January 20, 2015

Thane Gustafson

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Russia’s economy hinges on its ability to produce and sell natural resources. Especially oil. It comes as no surprise that the collapse of Soviet Union ushered in a mad scramble for control over oil resources. The oligarchs who sat atop the treasure trove of oil production following post-Soviet privatization, clashed with the Russian government over revenue sharing, production, and investment in the resource. Oil was power. With every oil-price cycle, Russian oil revenues dipped or rose, and with it came economic woes or prosperity. President Vladimir Putin played, and continues to play, an important role in the relationship between the state and the production of oil. Thane Gustafson‘s new book, Wheel of Fortune: The Battle for Oil and Power in Russia (Harvard University Press, 2014), is an in-depth analysis of the ups and downs of Russian economy, the interdependence between the state and the oligarchs, the fight for control over oil, and the future of Russian largest export. It is both a history and a foreshadowing of oil’s role in Russia’s economy going forward.

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