A sharp turn toward the market: economic reform in Russia (1992–1998) and its consequences

Alexander I. Tatarkin, Vladimir L. Bersenyov


By analyzing and systematizing the literature accumulated over the past twenty years on the history of reforms, we can put in order the existing views on the processes that took place during these transformations and de ne a new vector in understanding the socio-economic development of Russia in the last decade of the 20th century and the rst decades of the 21st century. The rst step in this direction is the analysis of publications that re ect the preparation, progress and results of the contemporary economic reforms in the 1990s. The historiographic review includes the monographs written both by the advocates of the shock therapy, and their opponents and critics, rst of all, Members of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The study of this literature allows to reveal the spectrum of opinions on whether the shock therapy was the preferred version of transformations, on assessing the results of reforms by the end of the 1990s and the opportunities for alternative ways to make the transition from a planned to a market economy. In particular, the advocates of the «shock therapy» refer to the threat of famine and civil war to justify decisions that led to decline in output, hyperin ation and other negative trends. Their critics point out that the lack of public support caused the market reforms to fail. By acknowledging the obvious, i. e. a signi cant deterioration of economic indicators, the advocates see their success in establishing the system of market institutions, and, on this basis, insist there was no alternative to implemented version of reforms. In turn, their opponents believe that the alternatives to the «shock therapy» existed, and their distinctive feature would have been the gradual cultivation and not the forced administrative introduction of market economy institutions.


historiography; contemporary economic reform; shock therapy; price liberalization; privatization; economic recession

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15826/recon.2016.2.2.015

Copyright (c) 2018 Alexander I. Tatarkin, Vladimir L. Bersenyov

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