Also from the RFE Russian

by Nathan Hamm on 9/17/2003

Also from the RFE Russian FP briefing
Gaidar gets a lot of the blame for destroying Russia’s economy, but his
ideas are sound and a lot of Russia’s problems were caused by piss-poor
privatization and terrible corruption. In short, Yeltsin destroyed
Russia’s economy. Gaidar might be able to achieve something with better

Yegor Gaidar, the former Yeltsin-era acting prime minister who was the
architect of Russia’s first post-Soviet economic-reform program, has
been invited by the U.S.-led coalition authority in Iraq to help
develop an economic-reform plan there, Russian and international media
reported on 8 September. Gaidar, a co-founder of the Union of Rightist
Forces (SPS) political party, told an SPS
congress in Moscow that many of Iraq’s current problems were “created
by the collapse of a totalitarian regime that had a high level of state
participation in the economy.” Thus, the situation has “parallels with
the histories and practices of post-socialist countries,” “The Moscow
Times” reported on 9 September. The U.S.-led coalition authority, he
said, wants “to work out how to minimize the
risks and privatize the economic system in the shortest period
possible.” Gaidar told the newspaper that he received the invitation on
5 September and had not yet discussed plans with U.S. administration
officials. He said that “time will tell” if he will quit his work in
Russia to advise the U.S.-led coalition authority in Iraq full-time.
Gaidar’s economic reforms in Russia, which critics charge amounted to
lots of “shock” and little “therapy,” remain controversial, so it is no
surprise that the news of his invitation to help develop Iraq’s
economic reforms sparked a mixed response. Yevgenii Yasin, the former
Yeltsin-era economic minister and godfather of Russia’s liberal
economists, said the invitation is
recognition of Gaidar’s accomplishments, “Vedomosti” reported on 9
September. “In his time, advisers came to us because it was thought
that we had no economists at that level, and now Gaidar is considered
the best,” Yasin said. But in an interview with posted on 8
September, Mikhail Delyagin, who stepped down last month as Prime
Minister Kasyanov’s economic adviser, said: “Gaidar represented
American interests in Russia, and very effectively. When it is said
that Gaidar’s liberal reform was ineffective, that’s not true: it was
super-effective. You just have to take into consideration that it was
carried out not in the interests of this country, but in those of
another country.” As a result of Gaidar’s reforms, the United States
was left with one less competitor, Delyagin asserted

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Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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