Aslund on Russia's Capitalist Revolution

Anders Aslund, Peterson Institute

InfoShop at the World Bank, Washington, DC

January 8, 2008


The Peterson Institute and the InfoShop at the World Bank held a discussion meeting at which Anders Åslund presented the conclusions in his latest book, Russia's Capitalist Revolution: Why Market Reform Succeeded and Democracy Failed. Joining him in the discussion from the World Bank were Branko Milanovi and Pradeep Mitra.

The Russian revolution, collapse of the Soviet Union, and Russia's ensuing transformation belong to the greatest dramas of our time. Revolutions are usually messy and emotional affairs, challenging much of the conventional wisdom, and Russia's experience is no exception. This book focuses on the transformation from Soviet Russia to Russia as a market economy and explores why the country has failed to transform into a democracy. It examines the period from 1985, when Mikhail Gorbachev became the Soviet Union's Secretary General of the Communist Party, to the present Russia of Vladimir Putin. Åslund provides a broad overview of Russia's economic change, highlighting the most important issues and their subsequent resolutions, including Russia's inability to sort out the ruble zone during its revolution, several failed coups, and the financial crash of August 1998.

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