The Russian economist in question is also quite a way off on his appraisal of the Russian economy, which mirrors its political instability.
The CIS is still definitely feeling the effects of Soviet collapse and none more acutely than Russia (and the Ukraine), what has been holding Russia together are twofold issues of organised criminal activity among leadership and independent command of the military districts, which remain firmly in the hands of the Supreme Soviet and act quite outside the control of the Russian Parliament. The wars in Georgia for example conflagurated directly against the instructions and assurances of the Parliament (who supported the unified Georgian state, whilst the Supreme Soviet had strategic interests in military bases there and thus funded the pro-Soviet Abkhasian bid for independence, a move unsupported by NATO or the UN).
Essentially this is what is going on in Russia, where instead of the two pronged powerbases in the peripherary CIS nations (the Supreme Soviet being based in Russia), they are instead divided by nationalist uprising and splintered political representation.
Thus the improved economic stability speculated of Russia in recent years is in fact an illusion fostered by increasing troubles at its borders, and the more institutionalised nature of Russian political woes than surrounding territories.
Make no mistake that in terms of average quality of life, Russia is impoverished, with shocking crime rates in particular of violent crime and organised crime, and a relatively low value for common human life. Their industry sells better quality equipment on the export market than it does locally, including defence industry. The politicians and corporate figures however, are the modern Czars for the most part and individual district commanders the aristocracy.
According to local journalists the Soviets are alive and well, and little has changed if not for the worst.