Russia Beyond The HeadlinesCorruption, bureaucracy and economic development are under discussion in the English-language blogosphere.

Businessman Kendrick White’s blog opens by concentrating on Russian bureaucracy and the barriers it can present. In a country of “extraordinary opportunities”, ideas are too often curtailed by problems in the system.

White believes that “realisation of any innovative idea requires fundamental trust by all parties” and “a functioning, fair, legal system that people respect”.

He points to Silicon Valley as an example to follow, saying Russia can “create some of the world’s leading innovation clusters in places such as Nizhny Novgorod, Tomsk, Novosibirsk, Chelyabinsk and around Moscow and St Petersburg”.

On the Discovery Institute’s blog, venture capitalist Thomas Nastas writes on the Russian need for economic diversification.

He advocates global connections: “While it is counterintuitive to seek more international integration now, that is exactly what is needed to make diversification a reality for Russia… Working collaboratively from different parts of the world as integral parts of a global supply chain reduces risk and investment for all.”

The Russia Monitor’s Jesse Heath posts his reaction to the government’s recent anti-corruption movements, in which President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin disclosed their financial information.

“It is reasonable to conclude that Medvedev understands how crippling the corruption problem is in Russia and is serious about combating it… The big question is whether this anti-corruption push is for real, and whether it will last long enough to bring about the fundamental changes in Russian politics, business, society, and culture that must take place.”

Paul Goble, an academic, analyses new efforts to build bridges between “those who identify themselves as ethnic Russians and… those who define themselves as civic Russians.”

An eight-point plan was agreed at a meeting in Moscow, with representatives of both sides outlining a “basis for further discussion and refinement.”

Goble believes “this effort to reach across what has often been a gulf suggests there are people who are now prepared to discuss what might be done to build alliances, a trend that could provide important support for civic peace at a time of increasing tension.”

Published in Russia Now, April 2009, with The Daily Telegraph (UK).