Collapse of an Empire: Lessons for Modern Russia

Brookings Institution Press
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"My goal is to show the reader that the Soviet political and economic system was unstable by its very nature. It was just a question of when and how it would collapse...." —From the Introduction to Collapse of an Empire The Soviet Union was an empire in many senses of the word—a vast mix of far-flung regions and accidental citizens by way of conquest or annexation. Typical of such empires, it was built on shaky foundations. That instability made its demise inevitable, asserts Yegor Gaidar, former prime minister of Russia and architect of the "shock therapy" economic reforms of the 1990s. Yet a growing desire to return to the glory days of empire is pushing today's Russia backward into many of the same traps that made the Soviet Union untenable. In this important new book, Gaidar clearly illustrates why Russian nostalgia for empire is dangerous and ill-fated: "Dreams of returning to another era are illusory. Attempts to do so will lead to defeat." Gaidar uses world history, the Soviet experience, and economic analysis to demonstrate why swimming against this tide of history would be a huge mistake. The USSR sowed the seeds of its own economic destruction, and Gaidar worries that Russia is repeating some of those mistakes. Once again, for example, the nation is putting too many eggs into one basket, leaving the nation vulnerable to fluctuations in the energy market. The Soviets had used revenues from energy sales to prop up struggling sectors such as agriculture, which was so thoroughly ravaged by hyperindustrialization that the Soviet Union became a net importer of food. When oil prices dropped in the 1980s, that revenue stream diminished, and dependent sectors suffered heavily. Although strategies requiring austerity or sacrifice can be politically difficult, Russia needs to prepare for such downturns and restrain spending during prosperous times. Collapse of an Empire shows why it is imperative to fix the roof before it starts to rain, and why sometimes the past should be left in the past.
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About the author

Yegor Gaidar, Boris Yeltsin's acting prime minister in 1992, was the architect of "shock therapy" reforms designed to hasten Russia's transition to capitalism in the 1990s. He is currently the director of the Institute for the Economy in Transition, a Moscow-based research organization.

On November 24, 2006,Yegor Gaidar fell seriously ill while presenting the Russian edition of this book in Ireland. Much speculation at the time, including Gaidar's own article in the Financial Times, attributed the illness to poisoning.

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Publisher
Brookings Institution Press
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Published on
Jan 1, 2010
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Pages
332
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ISBN
9780815731153
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / Globalization
Political Science / Political Economy
Political Science / Public Policy / Economic Policy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Yegor Gaidar
Yegor Gaidar, the first post-Soviet prime minister of Russia and one of the principal architects of its historic transformation to a market economy, here presents his lively account of governing in the tumultuous early 1990s. Though still in his forties, Gaidar has already played a pivotal role in contemporary Russian political history, championing the cause of dramatic economic reform, aggressive privatization of state enterprises, and painful fiscal discipline in the face of widespread popular resistance.

Gaidar�s youthfulness, energy, and daring are symbolic of a new phenomenon in Russian politics - the emergence of a younger generation of politicians with a distinctly technocratic bent, looking firmly to the United States and Europe for inspiration and sharing little of the old generation�s nostalgia for Communist stability. It was largely the implementation of Gaidar�s policies that drove the Russian parliament to rebel against Boris Yeltsin in 1993, leading to the bloody tank assault on the parliament itself. Though Yeltsin prevailed, it was clear that the political and social costs of �shock therapy� were too great for Russia�s fragile democracy to bear, and Gaidar himself was ousted to appease the conservatives. His unfinished agenda was put on hold, though he later returned when Yeltsin needed to placate international financial forces.

Gaidar remains active in Russian politics, having formed his own political party, Russia�s Democratic Choice. In this book, he brings his story through Yeltsin�s cliffhanger re-election in 1996, and assesses the still-precarious state of the market reforms and democratic politics.

Yegor Gaidar
�What was the revolution of the 1990s for Russia?� writes Yegor Gaidar. �Was it a hard but salutary road toward the creation of a workable democracy with workable markets, a way for Russia to develop and survive in the twenty-first century? Or was it the prologue to another closed, stultified regime marching to the music of old myths and anthems?�

Few are as well-equipped to consider this matter as Gaidar, noted Russian economist and prime minister during Boris Yeltsin�s early years as post-Soviet Russia�s leader. He is also a student of the socioeconomic history of his country, which he traces in the book with skill and insight.

Both Eastern and Western influences are examined in light of Russia�s particular challenges and choices over the years and the kinds of institutions it developed as a result. The author focuses on comparing attitudes toward private property and the persistence of Eastern forms of landownership. He sees Marx�s concept of the �Asiatic mode of production� as unfortunately still reflecting Russian realities.

Gaidar�s interesting analysis of Western development offers a perspective on private ownership of property in relation to government ownership that explains a lot about the evolution of socioeconomic and political systems East and West.

�If our country begins yet another cycle of privatization of authority and office,� concludes the author, �it will shut itself off from the First World. If we can open up this socioeconomic space, if we can let liberal democratic evolution take its course, then Russia will have every chance in the world to take its rightful place among twenty-first-century civilizations.�

State and Evolution was published in Russia in 1994. The English edition includes a new preface discussing the significance of events since that time.

Mark Dice
What is the New World Order? Proponents say that it's an anticipated new era of global cooperation between diverse nations and cultures aimed at ushering in a utopia providing all the earth's citizens with everything they need.

Detractors claim it's the systematic take-over by secret societies, quasi-government entities and corporations who are covertly organizing a global socialist all-powerful government which aims to regulate every aspect of citizens lives, rendering them a perpetual working-class while the elite leadership lives in luxury.

Conspiracy theory expert Mark Dice looks at the evidence, claims, and conspiracy theories as he takes you down the rabbit hole to The New World Order.

TOPICS:

- Calls for a New World Order by Politicians and Businessmen.  
- World Governed by the Elite Through Occult Secret Societies
- Mainstream Media Controlled by the Elite
- High Level Officials and Institutions are Above the Law
- Why Immorality and Destructive Behavior is Encouraged

- Banking, Money, and Taxes
- One World Currency
- Population Reduction
- One World Religion
- A Coming Global Dictator Who Will Claim to be God

- Global Police and Military Force
- A Nation of Spies and Culture of Fear
- Elimination of the Right to Bear Arms
- Elimination of National Sovereignty
- Monitoring the Population with Big Brother

- A Medicated and Sedated Population
- Weather Weapons and Chemtrails
- Nephilim and Anunnaki
- Satanism and Luciferianism
- Underground Bases and Tunnels
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By the author of The Illuminati: Facts & Fiction
 

Yegor Gaidar
�What was the revolution of the 1990s for Russia?� writes Yegor Gaidar. �Was it a hard but salutary road toward the creation of a workable democracy with workable markets, a way for Russia to develop and survive in the twenty-first century? Or was it the prologue to another closed, stultified regime marching to the music of old myths and anthems?�

Few are as well-equipped to consider this matter as Gaidar, noted Russian economist and prime minister during Boris Yeltsin�s early years as post-Soviet Russia�s leader. He is also a student of the socioeconomic history of his country, which he traces in the book with skill and insight.

Both Eastern and Western influences are examined in light of Russia�s particular challenges and choices over the years and the kinds of institutions it developed as a result. The author focuses on comparing attitudes toward private property and the persistence of Eastern forms of landownership. He sees Marx�s concept of the �Asiatic mode of production� as unfortunately still reflecting Russian realities.

Gaidar�s interesting analysis of Western development offers a perspective on private ownership of property in relation to government ownership that explains a lot about the evolution of socioeconomic and political systems East and West.

�If our country begins yet another cycle of privatization of authority and office,� concludes the author, �it will shut itself off from the First World. If we can open up this socioeconomic space, if we can let liberal democratic evolution take its course, then Russia will have every chance in the world to take its rightful place among twenty-first-century civilizations.�

State and Evolution was published in Russia in 1994. The English edition includes a new preface discussing the significance of events since that time.

Yegor Gaidar
Yegor Gaidar, the first post-Soviet prime minister of Russia and one of the principal architects of its historic transformation to a market economy, here presents his lively account of governing in the tumultuous early 1990s. Though still in his forties, Gaidar has already played a pivotal role in contemporary Russian political history, championing the cause of dramatic economic reform, aggressive privatization of state enterprises, and painful fiscal discipline in the face of widespread popular resistance.

Gaidar�s youthfulness, energy, and daring are symbolic of a new phenomenon in Russian politics - the emergence of a younger generation of politicians with a distinctly technocratic bent, looking firmly to the United States and Europe for inspiration and sharing little of the old generation�s nostalgia for Communist stability. It was largely the implementation of Gaidar�s policies that drove the Russian parliament to rebel against Boris Yeltsin in 1993, leading to the bloody tank assault on the parliament itself. Though Yeltsin prevailed, it was clear that the political and social costs of �shock therapy� were too great for Russia�s fragile democracy to bear, and Gaidar himself was ousted to appease the conservatives. His unfinished agenda was put on hold, though he later returned when Yeltsin needed to placate international financial forces.

Gaidar remains active in Russian politics, having formed his own political party, Russia�s Democratic Choice. In this book, he brings his story through Yeltsin�s cliffhanger re-election in 1996, and assesses the still-precarious state of the market reforms and democratic politics.

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