Abel G. Aganbegyan is an economic specialist whose ideas of reforming the Soviet economy greatly influenced Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika program.
Born in Tbilisi (capital of the Soviet Republic of Georgia) on October 8, 1932, he received undergraduate and doctoral degrees in economics from the State Institute of Economics in Moscow in the 1950s. Aganbegyan began working in the general economics department of the USSR Council of Ministers' State Committee for Labor and Social Problems in 1955, and he joined the CPSU one year later. He rose quickly through the committee's hierarchy, becoming sector head and deputy head by 1961. He became the director of the Siberian branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1966 (a position he held until 1985). Joining the faculty of Novosibirsk State University in 1968 as professor of economics, he came to believe that the Soviet economy did not perform well because of flaws in the planning system, and that the Soviet system was in need of drastic change.
As editor of Eko, the widely read journal of the Siberian branch of the Academy of Sciences, Aganbegyan gained a large following among younger, reform-minded economists. His views on economic reform received a great deal of official attention. He wrote and lectured extensively on the need for changes in wages and government subsidies. Aganbegyan suggested that the Soviets eliminate subsidies for all but education, elder health care, and book publishing.
Mikhail Gorbachev attended many of Aganbegyan's seminars and was