What is 'Kremlinomics'

The term "Kremlinomics" is a portmanteau of the words "Kremlin" (symbolizing the seat of Russian power) and "economics," therefore referring to the economic policies associated with Russia. It has held somewhat different meanings at different points in time. It is generally used to refer to leftist economic policies, alluding to Russia's previous status as the anchor of the USSR, either specifically referring to policies followed by the USSR or as a pejorative term describing policies perceived as leftist in the West. It has also been used to refer to the policies that Russia followed in the wake of the 2008 crisis.

BREAKING DOWN 'Kremlinomics'

When the Kremlin was the seat of power of the USSR during the Cold War, it was also the de facto leader of the Eastern Bloc which at that stage subscribed to socialism and communism as the overarching economic ideologies. The hallmark of socialism and communism is significant government involvement in the economy, even to the point where the government may direct how all economic activity in the country takes place. It is also marked by a desire to redistribute income from those with a surplus to those in need. During the Cold War, the global "war" over economic ideology was that of communism versus capitalism, with the USSR (and the Kremlin) symbolizing the former and the USA symbolizing the center of the latter. The usual connotation of the term kremlinomics derives from this era, and thus usually refers to left-leaning economics, even though such policies in western countries are a far cry from real socialism or communism — hence it may be considered a pejorative or emotive term when used in this context.

Kremlinomics has therefore been used as a financial buzzword used to describe economic policies which some view to be overly leftist. The term gained popularity on the right during the early months of the Obama administration in the United States. Obama's detractors saw his policies as socialist or leftist, and used the term to voice their displeasure with the president and his administration. The term has also been used occasionally in other western countries to criticize left-leaning policies.

It has also been used as a description for the economic policies that Russia may be following at a given point in time, and was used in this context in (usually somewhat critical) analyses of Russia's response to the 2008 crisis.

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