Putin's Power Surge

SERGEI GUNEYEV for TIME

GONE: Illarionov, in TIME's Moscow office last week

For much of the past decade, Andrei Illarionov has played a unique role in Russia: that of a liberal economist who helped shape policy while at the same time openly criticizing the government. He called for a devaluation of the ruble before the August 1998 financial crisis; he is credited as one of the architects of Russia's flat income tax; and from the outset of the first term of President Vladimir Putin, who appointed him economic adviser in 2000, he has been outspoken in his efforts to curb state interference in the economy, especially in the all-important energy sector. "He's one...

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