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Cartelization of the Russian Economy: The Main Causes, Consequences, and Ways of Their Elimination


The preconditions and recent history of the modern anticartel policy in Russia are considered. It is noted that in countries with traditional market economies, a negative attitude to cartels and tools to counter them were gradually formed during the globalization of national economies and changes in attitudes to national and transnational monopolies. Against the background of the semispontaneous destruction of the planned economy of the Soviet Union and the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in the 1990s, not only voluntary but also compulsory cartel agreements became widespread, the initiators and main beneficiaries of which were local and regional organized criminal groups, which predetermined the deep criminalization of contractual relations for a decade.

It is argued that the greatest threat to the successful development of Russia as a welfare state comes from the so-called auction cartels, which are, in fact, a “collusion within a collusion”; up to 90% of cartels are concluded in tenders. Cartel superprofits serve as an incentive to bribe the state apparatus.

The main trend of anticartel lawmaking and law enforcement in our country in recent years has been the identification and suppression of the largest cartels, 1/4 of which have signs of criminal acts. It is proposed to solve the problems of decartelization of the Russian economy on the basis of a comprehensive roadmap of anticartel measures, which, in the opinion of the authors of this article, should be included in the new National Plan for the Development of Competition in Russia for 2021–2025, which is currently being developed.

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    Liability for cartels that caused damage on a large or very large scale or made it possible to extract illegal income on a large or very large scale, as well as quantitative criteria for the corresponding amounts are established by Article 178 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.


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This article was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project no. 20-010-00773.

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Corresponding authors

Correspondence to A. G. Lisitsyn-Svetlanov, I. V. Bashlakov-Nikolaev, V. P. Zavarukhin or S. V. Maksimov.

Additional information

Translated by B. Alekseev

RAS Academician Andrei Gennad’evich Lisitsyn-Svetlanov is a Leading Researcher of the RAS Institute of State and Law (ISL RAS). Igor’ Vasil’evich Bashlakov-Nikolaev, Cand. Sci. (Econ.), is an Associate Professor in the Department of Antimonopoly Regulation of Moscow Region State University (MRSU). Vladimir Petrovich Zavarukhin, Cand. Sci. (Econ.), is Director of the RAS Institute for the Study of Science (ISS RAS). Sergei Vasil’evich Maksimov, Dr. Sci. (Law), is a Professor and Chief Researcher of the ISS RAS and an Assistant Head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) of Russia.

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Lisitsyn-Svetlanov, A.G., Bashlakov-Nikolaev, I.V., Zavarukhin, V.P. et al. Cartelization of the Russian Economy: The Main Causes, Consequences, and Ways of Their Elimination. Her. Russ. Acad. Sci. 90, 567–576 (2020).

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  • cartel
  • collusion at auction
  • competition
  • monopoly
  • abuse of dominance
  • decartelization
  • “Big Digital Cat,” anticartel roadmap.