Russia: A Long View
It is not so easy to take the long view of socioeconomic history when you are participating in a revolution. For that reason, Russian economist Yegor Gaidar put aside an early version of this work to take up a series of government positions--as Minister of Finance and as Boris Yeltsin's acting Prime Minister--in the early 1990s. In government, Gaidar shepherded Russia through its transition to a market economy after years of socialism. Once out of government, Gaidar turned again to his consideration of Russia's economic history and long-term economic and political challenges. This book, revised and updated shortly before his death in 2009, is the result. Its transition complete, Russia is once again becoming part of the modern world. Gaidar's account of long-term socioeconomic trends puts his country in historical context and outlines problems faced by Russia (and other developing economies) that more developed countries have already encountered: aging populations, migration, evolution of the system of social protection, changes in the armed forces, and balancing stability and flexibility in democratic institutions.
Topics of discussion in this astonishingly erudite work range from the phenomenon of modern economic growth to agrarian societies to Russia's development trajectory. The book features an epilogue written by Gaidar for this English-language edition. This is not a memoir, but, Gaidar points out, neither is it "written from the position of a man who spent his entire life in a research institute." Gaidar's "long view" is inevitably informed and enriched by his experience in government at a watershed moment in history.