Far from Moscow, Scholars Strive to Create Zones of Free Enterprise in Soviet Far East

Article excerpt

VLADIMIR KUZNETSOV came out to this hilly port city in 1973 as a member of the Soviet Navy.

"I fell in love with this territory and my future wife, very beautiful like the city," he recalls with a smile.

The handsome, dark-haired Kuznetsov went on to Moscow, where he carved out his niche as a researcher at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (Imemo), a powerful Moscow think tank.

Several years ago, he returned here to work as deputy director of the economic development institute of the Far Eastern branch of the Academy of Sciences.

Then, this spring, his life took an unexpected turn when the legislature of the Maritime Territory asked him to become its chairman, in effect the governor of the region.

"I'm just a phenomenon of perestroika," he says, referring to Soviet restructuring. "When the deputies presented the idea to me, I thought it was a joke. Now I'm very glad. I like this job.... I'm a scholar and it's interesting to carry out my dreams."

Mr. Kuznetsov is only one of several "scholars" who have come east, far from the controls of Moscow, in a bid to introduce liberal ideas for reform.

Valeri Lifshits was an oil and gas expert at Imemo when he came out to head the Nakhodka branch of the same academy institute. …


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