PRIVATIZATION OF RUSSIAN INDUSTRY
In the early and mid 1990s Russian President Boris Yeltsin launched an ambitious privatization program. In what was the largest sell-off of state-owned property in history, enterprises were sold at a rate of about 800 a month and by time it was complete 77 percent of Russia's large and mid-size enterprises and 82 percent of the small ones were private. The 15,000 privatized factories accounted for two thirds of industrial output and 60 percent of the industrial work force. The 85,000 privatized shops, restaurants, small business and service establishments represented 70 percent of the national total. Everything from sawmills to rolls of barbed wire was auctioned off. Tires are sold at a price that was equal to a month's wage for a Russian worker and MiG-29 jet fighters went for $23 million. [Source: Mike Edwards, National Geographic, March 1993 ♠]
The privatization program was at the core of economic restructuring and was a critical consideration for foreign loans and investment in Russia's economy. On the surface the privatization of Russian industry seemed to go fairly smoothly but the reality was a different story. Many state-owned companies involved with natural resources were raped by gangsters and corrupt officials. Jeffrey Sachs, a Harvard economist has advised the Russian government in the 1990s, wrote the New York Times: "Russia's resources provided an unparalleled opportunities for theft by officials. Oil, gas, diamonds and metal ore deposits were nominally owned by the state and thus by nobody. They were rip for stealing...the system was often skirted or compromised by ad hoc decrees and hidden arrangements."
A Russian business reporter told National Geographic: "The government is now selling shops to private people—not to the people worked in them, but the new rich who have gathered capital in some way. Under the old laws such manipulations would have been considered crimes."∞
After industry was initially privatized only 27 million of Russia's 67 million workers were in the private sector. The state was still responsible for paycheck for 40 million people. Tax revenues didn't come close to meeting the ends of these salaries. The government take turns paying off different groups.
Book: “The Privatization of Russia: Russian Reform Goes Awry” by Marshall Goldman, associate director of the Davis center of Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University; “Sale of the Century: Russia's Wild Ride From Communism to Capitalism” by Chrystia Freeland (Crown Business, 2000); “Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia” by Stephen F. Cohen (Norton, 2000)
Russia’s privatization campaign was masterminded and led by Anatoly Chubais. One Yeltsin's closest and longest serving advisor and for many year the second most powerful person in Russia after Yeltsin, he led the program to privatize to state property and served as Yeltsin's finance minister deputy prime minister. In 1996, he was selected finance minister of the year by Euromoney magazine for following policies developed by Harvard's Jeffrey Sachs.
Chubais is a former academic researcher. Hated by the Communist political class, he was considered by many to be arrogant, abrasive and combative but a sharp, able manager. He was popular in the West and close to some of the oligarchs, who he helped make wealthy men, but often at odds with other oligarchs and members of the Duma in parliament. Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov refused to along with Yeltsin's plan of privatization, complaining the "youth squad" led by Chubais gave away state property "like a drunk selling everything in the house."
Chubais was considered the architect of Russia's economic policy in the 1990s but also earned the epithet as the most hated man in Russia for setting up the system which allowed a tiny group of insiders and speculators to take control of much of Russia’s assets and become fabulously wealthy oligarchs. But even his critics gave some credit for quickly establishing a system based market economics after the collapse of the Soviet Union and rapidly moving property owned by the state into private hands, nailing the final nail in the coffin of state socialism. Chubais said in 1995, "Even before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the managers were stealing everything they could, in association with the state bureaucrats. You could not stop it. You could not get the manager—the insiders—out. They were powerful enough to block everything. The only way out was to get property into the private sector was to get the insides motivated and rewarded."
Chubais was fired and rehired twice. He left the government in April 1998 when Yeltsin sacked his entire cabinet, At that time it was revealed that Chubais had accepted $90,000 to write a book for a publisher owned by a Swiss company that benefitted from Chubais's policies. In 1998, after Yeltsin retired, Chubais became the CEO of Russia’s national electric monopoly, Unified Energy Systems RAO, the world’s largest electricity utility in terms of generating capacity. In 2000, Chubais faced a revolt from investors, who accused him of planning to sell assets for too low a price. Later he launched political party, the Union of Right Forces, that challenged, Putin.
In March 2005, Chubais survived an assassination attempt 18 miles west of Moscow. His attackers set off a bomb in front of his armored BMW as he left his dacha to go to work and sprayed his car with gunfire. The ambush was regarded as bungled. No one was hurt. The car carrying Chubais bodyguards suffered most of the damage. The bodyguards fired on the attackers as they fled into the woods. Chubais had many enemies. He said the attack was the forth attempt on his life.
Yeltsin’s Privatization Program
The Yeltsin privatization program began with small enterprises, a large proportion of which were in private hands by 1995. Sales of larger enterprises, accomplished in several phases, encountered substantial difficulties, however. In 1995 allegations of corruption slowed the process, as did persistent opposition from the antireform State Duma factions. Privatization was virtually halted during the 1996 presidential election campaign, but in July 1996 the administration announced new goals and a reformed system for ownership transition. [Source: Glenn E. Curtis, Library of Congress, July 1996 *]
Initially positive, Western evaluations of Russia's privatization program were tempered in 1996 by continued government favoritism toward former state enterprises, by the sale of investment shares to banks and other institutions with close state connections rather than to the public, and by the program's distinct slowdown in 1996. In October 1996, the government had collected only 14 percent of the year's targeted privatization revenue of $2.2 billion. In November the planned public sale of stock in two major state-owned telecommunications firms, Rostelekom and Svyazinvest, was canceled in favor of stock sales to two large banks that had financed Yeltsin's 1996 campaign, heralding a new privatization scandal. The 1997 national budget set a privatization income goal for 1997 at $1.1 billion, but already in February Vladimir Potanin, head of the privatization revenue collection commission, expressed doubt that the goal could be met. *
In April a series of presidential decrees moved Government policy closer to privatization in some sectors, although strong political support for the giant monopolies in the State Duma guaranteed that Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov would have a hard struggle in breaking them down. According to the new privatization goals, Government subsidies of housing and municipal services, which were budgeted at $27 billion in 1997, were to be reduced. (The average Russian paid only 27 percent of such costs in 1997.) According to a sliding scale, subsidies would reach zero in 2003, although some state housing support would remain for the neediest individuals. In the spring of 1997, local increases in utility and housing costs brought demonstrations in St. Petersburg, and Moscow's powerful mayor, Yuriy Luzhkov, objected strongly to the national proposal. *
Provisions were made for substantial modification of the pricing and/or structure of the state-controlled electric power industry and the railroad network, and Yeltsin ordered the sale of 49 percent of the telecommunications giant Svyazinvest, division of which was one of the most controversial privatization issues. In July 25 percent of total Svyazinvest shares were won at auction by a group including Russia's Uneximbank and German and United States investors. Because of the backward state of Russia's telephone system, telecommunications was considered potentially one of Russia's largest growth industries. The results of the Svyazinvest auction, which Boris Nemtsov touted as fully free and equitable, set off loud protests from the powerful business interests that failed to acquire shares. The issue threatened to split the large-business bloc that had supported Yeltsin before and after the 1996 election. *
First Phase of Privatization in Russia
In most respects, between 1992 and 1995 Russia kept pace with or exceeded the rate of selling off sate-owned assets established in the original privatization program of October 1991. As deputy prime minister for economic policy, the reformist Chubais was an effective advocate of privatization during its important early stages. In 1992 privatization of small enterprises began through employee buyouts and public auctions. By the end of 1993, more than 85 percent of Russian small enterprises and more than 82,000 Russian state enterprises, or about one-third of the total in existence, had been privatized. [Source: Library of Congress, July 1996 *]
On October 1, 1992, vouchers, each with a nominal value of 10,000 rubles (about $63), were distributed to 144 million Russian citizens for purchase of shares in medium-sized and large enterprises that officials had designated and reorganized for this type of privatization. However, voucher holders also could sell the vouchers, whose cash value varied according to the economic and political conditions in the country, or they could invest them in voucher funds.*
By the end of June 1994, the voucher privatization program had completed its first phase. It succeeded in transferring ownership of 70 percent of Russia's large and medium-sized enterprises to private hands and in privatizing about 90 percent of small enterprises. By that time, 96 percent of the vouchers issued in 1992 had been used by their owners to buy shares in firms directly, invest in investment funds, or sell on the secondary markets. According to the organizers of the voucher system, some 14,000 firms employing about two-thirds of the industrial labor force had moved into private hands.*
Russian Privatization Auctions
As part of Yeltsin's privatization program, shares from thousand of former state-owned enterprises were auctioned off or given to workers and managers. Most of the enterprises were bankrupt companies that the government no longer wanted to support. Between 1992 and 1994, the government gave away 144 million vouchers, which could be converted into stock shares, for more than 100,000 state companies (everything from small shops to oil giants). Prize enterprises included Rostelecom (the Russian phone company) and the oil giant Lukoil.
Describing one of the first privatization auctions, overseen by a Czech in Nizhni Novgorod in late 1992, John Lloyd wrote in the New York Times Magazine, "As each lot came up, the auctioneer described the shop in glowing terms and then threw it open to the audience. As he did so, it became obvious that the groups had already decide among themselves, which was to bid for each shop under the hammer; there was little bidding up of the price. Some of the groups, were men with darker skin than the fair Russians: a couple of matrons near me said, "Blacks!"...and then "Mafia!. This was no gathering of economically knowledgeable actors. The majority were puzzled and hostile citizens raised in a Soviet culture, with a few sharp customers thrown in—perhaps already accustomed to cutting corners and wheeling and dealing in the many cracks in the command economy."
In some cases there were no auctions. The vouchers were simply distributed to employees at the companies that were being privatized and given to other people. Through ways that are still not completely known some individuals were able to amass large amounts of shares for valuable properties even though the auctions doled out shares to 41 million Russians. Because the shares didn't pay dividends and failed to attract foreign investors, many were snapped at cut rate prices by speculators. Many workers were hard up for cash and sold their shares not realizing their worth. Vouchers were also given to relatives and counterfeit vouchers were printed up.
Politics and the Second Phase of Russia’s Privatization
The next phase of the privatization program called for direct cash sales of shares in remaining state enterprises. That phase would complete the transfer of state enterprises and would add to government revenues. After that procedure met stiff opposition in the State Duma, Yeltsin implemented it by decree in July 1994. But the president's commitment to privatization soon came into question. In response to the monetary crisis of October 1994, Yeltsin removed Chubais from his position as head of the State Committee for the Management of State Property, replacing him with little-known official Vladimir Polevanov. Polevanov stunned Russian and Western privatization advocates by suggesting renationalization of some critical enterprises. Yeltsin reacted by replacing Polevanov with Petr Mostovoy, a Chubais ally. In the ensuing eighteen months, Yeltsin made two more changes in the chairmanship position. [Source: Library of Congress, July 1996 *]
In 1995 and 1996, political conditions continued to hamper the privatization program, and corruption scandals tarnished the program's public image. By 1995 privatization had gained a negative reputation with ordinary Russians, who coined the slang word prikhvatizatsiya , a combination of the Russian word for "grab" and the Russianized English word "privatize," producing the equivalent of "grabification." The term reflects the belief that the privatization process most often shifted control of enterprises from state agencies to groups of individuals with inside connections in the Government, the mafiya , or both. Distrust of the privatization process was part of an increasing public cynicism about the country's political and economic leaders, fueled by the seeming failure of Yeltsin's highly touted reform to improve the lot of the average Russian.*
The second phase of the privatization program went ahead with the sale of state-held shares for cash. Although the process was virtually complete by the end of the first quarter of 1996, the Government failed to garner expected revenues. A 1995 transaction in which state banks awarded loans to state firms in return for "privatization" shares in those enterprises characterized the second phase of privatization; banks provided the government badly needed cash based on the collateral of enterprise shares that banks presumably would be able to sell later. But most of the twenty-nine state enterprises originally slated to participate withdrew, and the banks that received shares appeared to have a conflict of interest based on their role in setting the rules of the bidding procedure. *
In the most widely publicized deal, the Uneximbank of Moscow received a 38 percent interest in the giant Noril'sk Nickel Joint-Stock Company at about half of a competing bid. Other banks and commercial organizations joined the traditional opponents of privatization in attacking the loans-for-shares program, and in 1996 the Government admitted that the program had been handled badly. As a result of corruption allegations, the State Duma formed a committee to review the privatization program. And Prime Minister Chernomyrdin requested off-budget funds to buy back shares from the banks.*
Privatization and Yeltsin's 1996 Reelection
Yeltsin's June 1996 bid for reelection brought a virtual halt in privatization of state enterprises during the campaign period. In February 1996, the Procuracy announced a full-scale investigation into privatization practices, in particular a 1995 transaction in which state banks awarded loans to state firms in return for "privatization" shares in those enterprises. Because the faults of the Yeltsin privatization program were an important plank in the 1996 presidential election platform of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation—the strongest opposition party—Yeltsin's campaign strategy was to reduce privatization as far as possible as a campaign issue. Part of that strategy was to shift the privatization process from Moscow to the regions. In February 1996, a presidential decree simply granted shares in about 6,000 state-controlled firms to regional governments, which could auction the shares and keep the profits. [Source: Library of Congress, 1996 *]
After Yeltsin's reelection in July 1996, his financial representatives announced continuation of the privatization program, with a new focus on selling ten to fifteen large state enterprises, including the joint-stock company of the Unified Electric Power System of Russia (YeES Rossii), the Russian State Insurance Company (Rosgosstrakh), and the St. Petersburg Maritime Port. The Communications Investment Joint-Stock Company (Svyazinvest), sale of which had failed in 1995, was to be offered to Western telecommunications companies in 1996.*
The new, postelection privatization stage also was to reduce the role of enterprise workers in shareholding. Within the first years of such ownership, most worker shares had been sold at depressed prices, devaluing all shares and cutting state profits from enterprise sales. Therefore, to reach the budget target of 12.4 trillion rubles (about $2.4 billion) of profit from privatization sales in 1996, distribution was to target recipients who would hold shares rather than sell them immediately.*
Despite periodic delays, the inept administration of the program's more recent phases, and allegations of favoritism and corrupt transactions in the enterprise and financial structures, in 1996 international experts judged Russia's privatization effort a qualified success. The movement of capital assets from state to private hands has progressed without serious reversal of direction — despite periodic calls for reestablishing state control of certain assets. And the process has contributed to the creation of a new class of private entrepreneur.*
Rigged Auctions of Russian Privatization
The auctions were supposed to be free and fair but they were not. The most profitable enterprises did not come up at the public actions. These were either doled out to state officials or were sold at relatively closed auctions, organized by Chubais. Factories and other valuable properties were sold in rigged auctions for fractions of their worth. A tiny group of insiders and speculators took control of much of Russia’s assets and became fabulously wealthy oligarchs.
The oligarchs managed to pick up properties at a fraction of their value because high bid were disqualified on technicalities or the bidding process was rigged (Yukos Affair). Hundreds of companies, maybe thousands of them, were acquired in this fashion. Laws were poorly written and poorly enforced and full of loopholes that enabled insiders to pull off tricky schemes.
The seizure of state assets after the collapse of Communism is referred to by some Russians as "spontaneous privatization." Some regarded the process as the swindle of the century. One common joke was that Russia was more eager to privatize the managers than privatize the companies.
The term oligarchs refers to a small group of industrialists and bankers who became fabulously rich during the Yeltsin era. In some ways resembling robber barons like Rockefellers and Carnigies, they are men who carved out empires while in their thirties, forties and fifties in the chaotic period that occurred while Communism declined and capitalism rose to take its place.
Some of them live relatively modesty. Other are quite ostentatiously with private jets and huge mansions. Many settled abroad, some in London. Most travel around in armored Mercedes sedans while in Russia led and followed by vehicles with body guards, carrying customized assault rifles. One reportedly ordered a new Boeing 767 equipped with its own anti-missile system.
The oligarchs are mostly well-educated and many had jobs in the Soviet bureaucracy before they became involved in business. Their acquisitions were often the result of connections rather than entrepreneurial skill. As they became rich they invested in media to gain influence. Influence spawned more wealth and influence. They also created banks that became receiving points for state funds that sometimes disappeared to overseas accounts. They also won tax exemptions and special privileges issued by presidential decree.
The Russian economy is dominated by oligarchs. As of 2003, there were 17 Russians on the Forbes list of the world’s richest men. This is quite something when you consider that only 15 years before there were few people in Russia with more than a few thousand dollars. By one estimate the oligarchs control 70 percent of Russia’s economy, including nearly the entire oil industry.
The oligarchs are among the most loathed figures in Russia. A survey in 2003 found that 70 percent of Russians disliked them. The oligarchs have been widely criticized for using underhanded methods to attain their assets and then double crossed foreign investors by diluting the value of minority shareholders in their companies.
Book: “The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in New Russia” by David Hoffman (Public Affairs, 2002)
How the Oligarchs Obtained Their Assets
Most of the oligarchs got their start in the late 1980s, when the Soviet economy was liberalizing. The details of how some of them got their assets is still mysterious but many of them had key positions within the Soviet bureaucracy that allowed them to grab property. A few were Communist party leaders that acted quickly to cement control over profitable businesses such as oil, natural gas, precious metals and banking. Others were young upstarts who had more business sense than their Communist Party bosses and were able to take advantage of their boss’s ignorance or disinterest to develop schemes to gain property.
Some oligarchs were able to arrange sweetheart deals for state assets without having to go through the auction process because of their connections. Others were able to take advantage of the ignorance of the bureaucrats in charge of privatizing certain properties. Explaining how he was able to get some of his early assets the oligarch Boris Berezovsky told a PBS documentary: “The Soviet bureaucrats didn’t believe that capitalism would prevail. You would give an official $10,000, and he’d give you the property title. Not for one second did he expect this factory to stay private. He was convinced that the Reds would return and take it back.”
To get ahead and get an edge over rivals, the oligarchs used aggressive takeover tactics, manipulated regional legislatures and judges and took advantage of the lack of laws and the ease in which they could skirt the weak laws that existed. Often they behaved more like gangsters, using muscle to take advantage of the weak, than businessmen, trying to come up with a deal that appealed to all parties involved. The oligarch Mikhail Khodorvosky said, “At the time Russian law allowed us to do things that were unthinkable in the Western business world.”
The influence of the oligarchs was particularly strong among poorly-paid bureaucrats and judges in Russia’s provinces. One liberal politician told the New York Times, “There is much manipulation in the courts and law enforcement. It’s a kind of corporate, partly criminal system—a legal marriage between business and power.”
Oleg Deripaska is a tough, lanky aluminum baron known for the aggressive and unscrupulous methods of obtaining assets. As of 2002 he had an estimated worth of $1.5 billion and controlled the world’s second largest aluminum company. In the mid 1990s at the tender age of 26 he became the director of a large aluminum plant in Siberia at a time when different groups hired contract killers in their fight to grabs assets. His past has so many black marks the United States will not give him a visa. In 2002, Deripaska made a “loans for shares” deal in which he made a $10 million loan to a consortium building the 3,000-megawatt, $2 billion Bogichansk power plant in Siberia that was only half finished because it was short of cash. According to agreement if the loan was not paid back the oligarch would acquire 25 percent of the power plant—and that situation occurred.
How the Oligarchs Got Very Rich
The Oligarchs made their money by snatching up valuable state assets at dirt cheap prices. They used all the methods mentioned above and others to grab properties. Sometimes oligarchs stripped their acquisitions of assets or acquired natural resources and then sold them off and shipped the money abroad. Other times they were able gain large percentage of valuable properties. Once they gained hold of a property or the majority of shares they were able manipulate minority shareholders. See Yukos Affair
Some oligarchs were able to make large amounts of money through speculation and "easy money" business opportunities. In 1990, the cost of ton of oil in Russia was the same as the free-market price for a pack of Marlboros. Those that were able to ship the oil overseas made huge profits. Other made huge profits buying other resources and selling them abroad at a high mark up. When the ruble crashed similar opportunities arose because prices of things like oil, timber and minerals remained fixed in rubles, while their value in dollars soared.
Many of the future oligarchs started their own banks when the Russian financial system was liberalized under Gorbachev. When prices were freed in 1992, the oligarchs made huge fortunes on ruble-dollar speculation through their banks, often using government money to do it. Since Russia had no formal treasury, deposits were often made with "unauthorized" banks, often those owned by the oligarchs.
In the process of doing all this, the oligarchs performed one important task they maneuvered the Communist Party elite and conservative factory managers out of their jobs and spawned some degree of reform and movement towards efficiency.
Yeltsin and the Oligarchs
Yeltsin was an underdog going into the 1996 election with an approval rating in the single digits . Many analysts believe that the abundant air time and positive publicity he was granted in the newspapers and television stations controlled by the state and the oligarchs was the deciding factor in the election. If Yeltsin hadn’t won there is good chance the President would be a member of the Communist Party and that would have been very bad news for the oligarchs.
Under Yeltsin the oligarchs were created in rigged auctions that allowed them to acquire properties for a fraction of what they were worth. The oligarchs in turn supported Yeltsin by giving him money and television exposure, in the media they ran to allow him to get reelected in 1996. Yeltsin in turn was then committed to support the oligarchs as they became even richer and more powerful
The oligarchs became very powerful under Yeltsin. One Yeltsin aide told the New York Times, “To some degree the oligarchs regarded themselves as the real government of Russia and to some degree they “were” the real government. They could easily dismiss ministers and nominate people who people who would be loyal to them in ministerial positions.
The oligarch Boris Berezovsky was referred to as Rasputin because of the influence he had on Yeltsin and his family. Valentin Yumashev (a former journalist and ghostwriter of Yeltsin's memoirs) said Yeltsin’s daughter and son-in-law were close to Berezovsky. Berezovsky fell out of favor after one of his companies was accused of bugging Yeltsin.
Loans for Shares Deals Between Yeltsin and the Oligarchs
The oligarchs gave money to Yeltsin in the form of loans he never paid and media exposure in their television stations to help him win the 1996 Presidential election. In return the oligarchs were rewarded with stakes in some of Russia’s most valuable companies. That is how Berezovsky obtained his stake in Aeroflot and Khodorkovsky obtained Yukos. It was method used by many of the oligarchs to obtain their most valuable properties.
In 1995, when the Yeltsin government needed cash to pay off its debts and salaries owed soldiers, teachers and pensioners, it asked the oligarch-owned banks for help in what was called a "loan for shares" swaps. In return for the money, the banks received specific state-owned enterprises as collateral. When the companies were privatized, the banks took over their shares, often at below market rates, when the government couldn't pay back its loans. Critics called the process kleptocapitalism.
In some cases banks were given shares in state enterprises in return for loans. The shares were supposed to be held in a trust. When they were turned into equity the banks bids for them at an auction. The auctions were outrageously rigged. The oligarchs also made loans to struggling companies or projects with the caveat that if the money was not paid back the oligarch could claim some of the struggling company’s assets.
Failure of Privatization in Russia
The privatization program is now regarded by many as a big mistake. It allowed the wholesale transfer of valuable state assets to the Oligarchs at dirt cheap prices and allowed inefficient factories to be turned over to their mangers who resisted restructuring and drained money from state coffers.
The seizure of assets at bargain rates deprived the government of money that was supposed to help jump start the economy. The Oligarchs in many cases didn't put money into the companies they purchased to help them grow, prosper and become more efficient, stimulating domestic production and creating jobs. Instead they were more interested in selling off anything of value, converted assets to cash and cash to dollars that were squirreled out of the country, depriving the Russian economy of growth-spurring money.
Despite privatization only 10 million people worked in the private sector as of 1999. The government employed 40 million of Russia’s 67 million workers. When ownership was divided among many small shareholders, the Soviet-era managers continued the run the companies as part business and part welfare agency.
The Russian-version privatization made corruption, crime and cynicism worse. Some of the so-called reformers were the ones who profited most from it. Russians often refer to the whole process as the "great grab." Alfred Kokh, the head of Russia's privatization agency, was forced out resign after accepting a $100,000 in a book deal from a Swiss company interested in setting up deals with the government.
Nobel-prize-winning, World Bank economist Joseph Stiglitz wrote that the biggest mistakes that were made were that: 1) the economic incentives that encouraged asset stripping rather than wealth creation; 2) Russia’s human capital in technical and scientific areas was wasted; and 3) the large, relatively equal middle class had its livelyhood taken away. Historically it has been the existence of middle class that brought stability and argue for fairness in an economic system.
Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, U.S. government, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.
Last updated May 2016