US-Russia Economic Roundtable
41st Strategy for Peace Conference
October 26-28, 2000, Warrenton, Virginia
We will begin by attempting to assess the health of the Russian economy and prospects for growth in the near and long term. The Russian economy will have its largest growth rate ever this year since Russia became an independent country in 1991. Why? Have rising world oil prices and the August 1998 financial collapse fueled this growth, or are other factors contributing to growth? What does this new trajectory in the Russian economy mean for the "virtual economy"? What does this new growth mean for the stock market and direct foreign investment?
The second set of questions we will discuss address concerns about Putin's reform agenda. We now have a sense of what he and his advisers plan to do. Do they have the right policy prescriptions? How will their political agenda support or impede their economic reform agenda? In this discussion, we will want to pay particular attention to Putin's relationship to the oligarchs, center-regional relations, and the war in Chechnya as factors that may hinder or help the new president's economic reform agenda.
In our final discussion, we will focus on Russia's foreign economic relations and US policy responses. Russia's recently published new foreign policy doctrine placed great emphasis on economic issues. Does Russian foreign policy behavior reflect these doctrinal statements or not? More generally, what does the Putin era mean for US policy regarding economic assistance, trade, and investment? What should be the role of the World Bank, IMF, EBRD, and other international actors in the Putin era? At the end of this discussion, we hope to generate some policy recommendations for US foreign policymakers.