The head of the Russian Federal Crime Service has suggested that key sectors of the economy should be returned to state ownership to support Moscow’s war in Ukraine. Alexander Bastrikin, chairman of the commission of inquiry, said at a televised meeting that “we are essentially at war” and talked about the importance of economic security. Bastrikin, who reports directly to President Vladimir Putin, proposed to “take the path of nationalizing the main sectors of the economy.”
This is an unusual policy shift for Vastrykin, who is more involved in law enforcement than economic policy. It’s worth noting that after the collapse of the communist Soviet Union, the state’s most valuable assets fell into the hands of so-called oligarchs, many of whom were later forced to sell their companies or return control to the state under Putin.
Russia’s economy and government finances are heavily dependent on the production of oil, gas, and metals. While Russia’s largest natural gas producer Gazprom is already under state control, its largest oil company Rosneft is not officially under government control but is headed by Putin’s long-time ally Igor Sechin.
The intervention of Moscow in Ukraine has not been officially called an aggression by Russia, who insists it had to act to protect the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine and to avert NATO threats. These arguments have been dismissed by Kiev and the West as baseless pretexts for wars of conquest.
Reporting by Reuters, the article has been edited by Kevin Liffey and Mark Potter.