No Precedent, No Plan

No Precedent, No Plan

Inside Russia's 1998 Default

By Martin Gilman

Foreword by Michel Camdessus

The definitive insider's account of Russia's painful transition to a market economy, as told by the IMF's senior man in Moscow at the time.





The definitive insider's account of Russia's painful transition to a market economy, as told by the IMF's senior man in Moscow at the time.

In 1998, President Boris Yeltsin's government defaulted on Russia's debts and the country experienced a financial meltdown that brought its people to the brink of disaster. In No Precedent, No Plan, Martin Gilman offers an insider's view of Russia's financial crisis. As the senior representative of the International Monetary Fund in Moscow beginning in 1996, Gilman was in the eye of the storm. Now, he tells the dramatic story of Russia's economic evolution following the collapse of the Soviet Union and analyzes the 1998 crisis and its aftermath.

Gilman argues that the default and collapse, although avoidable, actually spurred Russia to integrate its economy with the rest of the world's and served as a harbinger of the recent global economic crisis. Gilman details the IMF's involvement and defends it against criticism by economist Joseph Stiglitz and others. In the 1990s, the collapse of the Soviet Union left Russia in chaos, with a barely functioning government and no consensus on the path toward a democratic and economic transformation. The smooth transition to a market economy that had been accomplished in other countries in Eastern Europe was impossible. Gilman describes the ordeal of the 1998 crisis and argues that the IMF helped Russia avoid an even greater catastrophe. He recounts Russia's emergence from the IMF's tutelage and explains how the shell-shocked Russian public turned to Vladimir Putin in search of stability after the trauma of 1998.

No Precedent, No Plan offers a definitive account—the first from an insider's perspective—of Russia's painful transition to a market economy.


$31.00 X ISBN: 9780262014656 360 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 7 figures, 1 table


Michel Camdessus.


  • 1998 will go into history books as one of the most dramatic years in contemporary Russian history. Martin Gilman was at the very center of these remarkable developments, which makes his insider story such fascinating reading.

    Aleksei Mozhin

    Executive Director for Russia, International Monetary Fund

  • As both a direct participant in Russia's economic transformation and a level-headed, insightful analyst of it, Martin Gilman has written a truly unique book. No Precedent, No Plan highlights the critically important role of state weakness in explaining Russia's trajectory and, by opening up the 'black box' of the state for the reader, makes that often overlooked story compelling and eminently readable.

    Samuel Charap

    National Security and International Policy Program, Center for American Progress

  • Those who have a stereotypical view of what has happened in Russia since the collapse of the USSR will take no comfort from reading No Precedent, No Plan. Drawing on a unique combination of experience and expertise, Martin Gilman convincingly proves that 'the reality is more complex, and perhaps more troubling.' By putting the story of Russia's struggle for a market economy in broader international and historical context, he makes an invaluable contribution to our view of these critical years in Russia.

    Fyodor Lukyanov

    editor, Russia in Global Affairs