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.
About the Author
Yegor Gaidar (1956–2009) was a Russian economist and politician and a key architect of economic reforms in Russia’s transition to a market economy.
“The causes of modern economic growth are one great mystery, the sources of Russia’s plight another. Only someone with the intellectual ambition of Yegor Gaidar would try to penetrate both mysteries in a single volume.”—Edward Lucas, The Wall Street Journal
“The analysis is remarkably sharp and succinct, devoid of self-exculpation, and informed by an astonishing array of Russian and Western sources. Readers with little knowledge of Russia will be stimulated by the book’s ambitious scope, and students of Russian history will be treated to a fresh perspective on critical issues, including an arresting explanation of the collapse of the Soviet Union.”—Foreign Affairs
“In this monumental work, Yegor Gaidar, the leading Russian economist of his generation, shows how Russia's economic and political development in the twentieth Century fit into the sweep of global history. Informed by a lifetime of scholarship and practical experience, Russia: A Long View is a tour de force that will enliven debates about Russia's place in the world for years to come.”
—Daniel Treisman, professor of Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles; author of The Return: Russia's Journey from Gorbachev to Medvedev
“In the mid-1990s, Yegor Gaidar was asked what Russia will look like in twenty years. He said, with amazing prescience, that he was certain it will be a market economy, but far less certain that it will be a democracy. Like the prediction, this book reflects Gaidar's deep and distinctive perspective on long-term economic development, Russia's transition, and Russia's future.”
—Andrei Shleifer, Professor of Economics, Harvard University
“Yegor Gaidar was Russia's 'national treasure.' A reformer of exceptional caliber and daring policy initiatives, he was also a scholar of profound erudition. His luminous writings in this volume show his acute insights into the economics and politics of recent Russian history. They also underline the tragedy of his premature death, which has deprived Russia of his manifold talents at a critical juncture in its troubled transition.”
—Padma Desai, Gladys and Roland Harriman Professor of Comparative Economic Systems, Columbia University