Articles by Konstantin Sonin

Russians Need to Be Less Fearful

Minorities have always faced a common danger at all times and in all countries: If your nationality, skin color, sexual orientation, political views or artistic tastes differ in some way from the norm, the majority might seek to impose its values, attitudes and tastes on you by force.

The Limits of Change

So many changes have occurred in Russia in recent months that the stability of state institutions and policies have come into question. Some of the changes have been obvious Ч for example, the renewed focus on the military and state security is reflected in the budgets of recent years.

Crimea Makes Economic Crisis Worse

It is no simple task for economists to calculate the costs of Russia's current foreign policy course, the losses resulting from frightened investors and creditors and the damage that sanctions will cause.

No More Cheap Money

Why did most economists conclude that events connected with Ukraine would have a negative impact on the Russian economy?

The Forgotten Victory Day

Sunday marked the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Paris, when Russian, Prussian and Austrian troops took control of the French capital and forced Napoleon to abdicate.

Why Economic Growth Needs a Free Press

Several major events involving freedom of the press occurred last week. First came news that the head of, a leading media website, was fired, followed by a significant number of its staff quitting in protest.

Crimean Invasion Is Worse Than a Crime

It is said that after Napoleon committed a particularly shocking and amoral blunder, Foreign Minister Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord remarked that "it was worse than a crime, it was a mistake."

Central Bank's War for Independence

Central Bank officials have recently spoken of the threat of "stagflation" in Russia. But critics quickly pointed out that economists first coined the term to describe unsuccessful attempts by several U.S. administrations to spur economic growth in the 1970s through active monetary policy.

When Flexibility Is Better Than Stability

In the last month, the ruble depreciated by almost 10 percent against major world currencies. This has focused attention on how the exchange rate is determined and the role the Central Bank plays in that process.

Precarious Pessimism

It is a simple truth that optimism is fundamental to economic development. If a businessperson lacks confidence that today's investment will bring profit tomorrow, he will not invest.

My Muted Optimism For Change in Russia

Although there was more bad news than good for Russia in 2013, the year unexpectedly ended on a positive note. For the first time in many years, the number of political prisoners dropped rather than rose.

Trade Barriers Do More Harm Than Good

Economics commentators have very little "wiggle room." The general reader has no desire to go into the finer points of economic theory, and so the writer must use whatever pretext he can to capture the interest of his audience Ч even if the subject initially seems unrelated to economics.

Yesterday's News

It is becoming increasingly difficult in this "information age" for journalists to present news in a form that will immediately attract attention.

Migrants Are Not the Problem

From the standpoint of economics, the unrest in Biryulyovo has reignited the same old debate over whether Moscow needs migrant workers.

New Trade Wars Are a Bad Idea

A fierce debate is raging in Russia over whether Ukraine should become an associate member of the European Union or join the Customs Union with Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.

A Chance for Progress in Russian Science

After the turbulent events of the summer and protests by the academic community, reforms to the Russian Academy of Sciences were finally signed into law without a lot of noise. But the reform process has yet to begin.

Navalny's 27% Is a Win for Entire Nation

It rarely happens, but there was more than one victor in the Moscow mayoral election on Sept. 8: opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, Muscovites and all of Russia could be considered winners.

Why Putin Might Want Navalny as Mayor

The debate over how many votes opposition leader Alexei Navalny will garner in the Moscow mayoral elections Sept. 8 seems pointless to me.