Property to the People: The Struggle for Radical Economic Reform in Russia

Property to the People: The Struggle for Radical Economic Reform in Russia

Property to the People: The Struggle for Radical Economic Reform in Russia

Property to the People: The Struggle for Radical Economic Reform in Russia

Synopsis

This text sets Russia's current economic transformation in the context of economic and political change, and provides an overview of issues central to the economic reform debate in Russia. It also highlights the human dimension of large-scale economic change through case studies and interviews.

Excerpt

The Gorbachev era ended with only polite notice at the end of 1991, and Boris Yeltsin's path was suddenly clear, for the moment, to radically redirect Russia's economic course. Elected president of the USSR's Russian Republic by a large margin earlier in the year, his public support had been further enhanced by his compelling challenge to the leaders of the August coup. Yeltsin's approval ratings were impressive, his backing among legislators extraordinary, and his team of advisers talented and determined to pursue rapid economic reform. Repeatedly, during the months that followed, Yeltsin's cabinet members emphasized their aim of dealing a fatal blow to the command system in the process of fashioning a market economy.

A year later, the Russian economy was on the verge of collapse according to most indicators; it appeared that Yeltsin had lost much of his public support; and the Congress of People's Deputies, which had earlier handed him broad administrative powers to pursue his program for radical reform, removed his chief economic adviser from office and was decidedly unhappy with Yeltsin as well. the following March he narrowly escaped impeachment, and in April 1993 he was fighting for his political life.

The issues that had precipitated the August 1991 coup were predominantly political. Gorbachev's opponents did not want the central command structure to be gutted by the new Union Treaty . . .

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