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.
The central paradox about contemporary Russia is why capitalism has taken root, but democracy has not. Åslund provides a crisp, comprehensive, and compelling answer. Russia's Capitalist Revolution will become a classic overnight....
Michael McFaul, Director, Center on Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University
...the book rewards the reader with encyclopedic knowledge, intimate insight, firm thinking, and lucid language.
Pekka Sutela, Eurasian Geography and Economics
Anders Åslund's Russia's Capitalist Revolution is an exceptionally well-informed account of Russia's tortuous evolution since the reforms of Gorbachev.
Richard Pipes, Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of History Emeritus, Harvard University
This book depicts accurately and elegantly the manifold and complete collapse of the Soviet Union. Åslund clarifies the many components necessary for carrying out reforms. Like few others, he understands the importance of a strong reform team....
Yegor T. Gaidar, former prime minister of Russia
[Russia's Capitalist Revolution]. . . may be the best book ever written on the subject . . . . It is written in a very clear language that [is] a special pleasure to read.
Andrei N. Illarionov, former economic adviser to President Putin
Chapters (in pdf format) are provided for preview only.
1. Perestroika: The Great Awakening
2. The Collapse: 1988–91
3. Revolution: 1991–93
4. The Rise and Fall ofState Enterprise Managers: 1994–95
5. The Oligarchy: 1996–98
7. Authoritarianism and Recentralization: 2004–07