Conversations on Russia: Reform from Yeltsin to Putin

By Padma Desai | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
yegon gaidan
The Shock Therapist

APRIL 2000

"The Russians'" desire to support a functioning government is the most impor-
tant factor behind Putin's popularity.

A large part of the Russian public, especially the younger and better educated, is
suspicious of the United States. On the other hand, they do not want another
cold war.

There are very few subjects in economic policy on which "Putin" is clear, but he
has been clearest in his commitment to the protection of private property and his
strong opposition to renationalization.

The IMF is in the situation of a whipping boy.…The IMF is not bad, but it is
an organization that was created to deal with currency crises, and then it took on
the management of budgetary crises.

"W"e did not start the reforms because somebody promised to support us. We
started the process because there was absolutely no other way.

"Putin" does not have a good record in the field of democratic freedoms.

"Yeltsin" was the first popularly elected president of the Russian state.

I would like to live in Europe but not leave my own country and "still be able to"
speak Russian.

It is strange, but it will take enormous efforts to make "reform" and "democ-
racy" bad words in Russia.

"The Communists" will never rule Russia again.


OCTOBER 2004

Russia is a young and unstable democracy. Therefore, voters tend to elect lead-
ers who are far from the best. With greater experience, they will understand that
local problems need to be resolved at local levels.

-95-

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