Sale of the Century: Russia's Wild Ride from Communism to Capitalism

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Doubleday Canada, 2000 - Capitalism - 370 pages
In the 1990s, all eyes turned to the momentous changes in Russia, as the world's largest country was transformed into the world's newest democracy. But the heroic images of Boris Yeltsin atop a tank in front of Moscow's White House soon turned to grim new realities: a currency in freefall and a war in Chechnya; on the street, flashy new money and a vicious Russian mafia contrasted with doctors and teachers not receiving salaries for months at a time. If this was what capitalism brought, many Russians wondered if they weren't better off under the communists.
But this new society did not just appear ready-made: it was created by a handful of powerful men who came to be known as the oligarchs and the young reformers. The oligarchs were fast-talking businessmen who laid claim to Russia's vast natural resources. The young reformers were an elite group of egghead economists who got to put their wild theories into action, with results that were sometimes inspiring, sometimes devastating. With unparallelled access and acute insight, Chrystia Freeland takes us behind the scenes and shows us how these two groups squandered a historic opportunity to build a new Russia. Their achievements were considerable, but their mistakes will deform and maim Russian society for generations to come.
Along with a gripping account of the incredible events in Russia's corridors of power, there's a vivid sense of the buzz and hustle of the new Russia, and great inside stories of businesses that have beaten the odds and become successful and profitable. Freeland also shows the conflicts and compromises involved when "red directors" of old Soviet firms and factories yielded to -- or fought -- the radicallynew ways of doing business. She delves into the loophole economy, where anyone who knows how to manipulate the new rules can make a fast buck. No one who wants to understand the world today will be able to resist this essential and astonishing account of who really controls Russia's new frontier.

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User Review  - JohnnyOstentatious - LibraryThing

One benefit of a book is that it can act as a document for when an author is confident enough to make a prediction. Case in point: Chrystia Freeland’s Sale of the Century, which covers Russia’s ... Read full review

SALE OF THE CENTURY: Russia's Wild Ride from Communism to Capitalism

User Review  - Kirkus

The sorry story of the fiasco known as the Russian capitalist economy, thoroughly if at times crassly told by correspondent Freeland.The Russian economy hasn't really collapsed, according to Financial ... Read full review


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About the author (2000)

Chrystia Freeland grew up in Peace River, Alberta. She began reporting on Russia as Moscow bureau chief for the "Financial Times in January 1995. Before that, she was their Eastern European correspondent. She has also written for "The Economist and the "Washington Post from Kiev, Ukraine, where she was based from 1991 to 1993. She obtained her BA from Harvard, and received a Rhodes Scholarship. At Oxford University, she earned her Master's of Slavonic Studies. Chrystia Freeland lives in Toronto where she is Deputy Editor of "The Globe and Mail.

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