*Winter is Coming*, by Garry Kasparov
That new book has the subtitle Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must be Stopped. In addition to its critique of Putin, there is a good deal of political economy in this book, including some hypotheses which are worthy of further investigation. For instance:
Unfortunately, Putin, like other modern autocrats, had, and still has, an advantage the Soviet leadership could never have dreamed of: deep economic and political engagement with the free world. Decades of trade have created tremendous wealth that dictatorships like Russia and China have used to build sophisticated authoritarian infrastructures inside the country and to apply pressure in foreign policy. The naive idea was that the free world would use economic and social ties to gradually liberalize authoritarian states. in practice, the authoritarian states have abused this access and economic interdependency to spread their corruption and fuel repression at home.
It is no coincidence that right-wing autocracies have a much better track record of emerging from political repression and achieving democratic and economic success. Chile, Portugal, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan — their regimes were about power for the sake of power, without a deeper ideology. When their regimes fell, with elections in most cases, the roots, the human values of individual freedom, were still healthy enough to flourish.
It is easy enough to criticize Kasparov for being “too hawkish,” but the reality is that virtually all of his earlier predictions about Putin and Russia have come true, including ones which I have heard but he may not have published directly.