It runs absolutely counter to our Western intuition and sense of justice, but as Vladislav Inozemtsev points out, Russia's corrupt officials actually benefit in times of global economic crisis, both in terms of their personal wealth and public support.
Concludes Prof. Inozemtsev in this op-ed in the Moscow Times [emphasis mine]:
Today's Russia is not a normal country. A significant portion of people who can adequately assess the situation either left the country or are leaving it right now. Many entrepreneurs sold their businesses to bureaucrats and pulled money out of the country, realizing the futility of their labors.[...] Of course, the problems are piling up — so sometimes they will come out. But both the speciality of Russia's situation and its difference from these in democratic market economies lies in the fact that the first alarm signals will sound when it will be too late to react. We will probably see a repetition of the dramatic events of the late 1980s — but, of course, this may not happen for awhile. Time during which economic problems will not preoccupy the Russian president — leaving him free to surprise the world once and again with his political follies.
It's well worth reading in its entirety to understand today's very strange Russia!
By Vladislav Inozemtsev
June 24, 2014 | The Moscow Times