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Post Soviet Part III

The Party - The mid to late 90s were a time of hardship for most Russians as the radical economic changes taking place brought high inflation and the loss of old social safety nets. This situation was inherited by Putin when he became acting president after Yeltsin resigned on the last day of the 20th century. Putin was elected in his own right in March 2000 but it wasn’t clear how long he would last in office in difficult times. His popularity and ability to consolidate power got a huge boost, however, with a surge in global oil and gas prices just in time for his re-election in 2004. When I visited Moscow again in 2006 it bore no resemblance to the city I knew in the early 90s with its long queues and only a few restaurants and beer halls open after 8pm. The trickle-down from Russia's massive carbon reserves had fueled a consumer boom and a party culture for a new class of oligarchs, their friends and their eye-candy entourage living inside a shiny new Moscow bubble.
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