How Russia Became a Market Economy

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Brookings Institution, 1995 - Business & Economics - 378 pages
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The breakup of the Soviet Union and the attempted transformation of Russia into a democracy and a market economy constitute one of the most significant events of our time. A transformation could hardly be greater, yet judgments vary from failure to substantial achievement. This book clarifies that Russia has actually become a market economy.Anders Åslund provides the most detailed and insightful assessment to date of the Russian transformation from a socialist economy to a market economy. His account covers the period from the formation of the Russian reform government in November 1991 through the autumn of 1994. He discusses the preconditions of economic reform, the formation of a reform program, relations with other former Soviet republics, liberalization, macroeconomic stabilization, and privatization. The final chapter evaluates the transformation.As a longtime specialist on the Soviet economy and an economic adviser to the Russian government during most of this period, Åslund analyzes the original intentions of the government, what they were able to accomplish, and why they fell short.The book's general conclusion is that the greater the speed, consistency, and determination, the more impressive the results. The main threat to the reform process was the resistance from the state enterprise managers, who wanted to enrich themselves at the expense of the state. The reformers could only win if they acted swiftly and firmly. According to Åslund, the Russian transformation has not been too quick, as many maintain, but rather too slow.

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About the author (1995)

Anders Aslund is a leading specialist on post-communist economic transformation, especially the Russian and Ukrainian economies. In January 2006, he joined the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, D.C. From 1994 until 2005, Dr Aslund worked at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace as a senior associate and later as Director of the Russian and Eurasian Program. He is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. He served as an economic advisor to the Russian government, 1991 94, to the Ukrainian government, 1994 97, and to President Askar Akaev of the Kyrgyz Republic, 1998 2004. Dr Aslund is the author of seven books, including Building Capitalism: The Transformation of the Former Soviet Bloc (Cambridge University Press, 2002), How Russia Became a Market Economy (1995), and Gorbachev's Struggle for Economic Reform (1989). In addition, he has edited twelve books, most recently, Revolution in Orange, and he has published widely, including in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, National Interest, New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, and Wall Street Journal.