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Up for Debate: Privatization: Who Wins? Russia's Reform Compromise

Was loans-for-shares privatization necessary, and what are its consequences? Central protagonists in Russia's reforms square off.


Yegor Gaidar
Acting Prime Minister of Russia, 1992

For former prime minister Gaidar, the risks of not carrying out loans-for-shares -- losing elections to resurgent Communists -- far outweighed the scheme's evident drawbacks.

Grigory Yavlinsky
Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, 1990

For economist and opposition politician Grigory Yavlinsky, loans-for-shares entrenched "criminal capitalism" -- playing on dangers perhaps deliberately overstated, and harming Russia's future.

Anatoly Chubais
First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, 1994-1996

An architect of loans-for-shares, reformer Anatoly Chubais decried cronyism, but focused on the final defeat of communist policies -- in his view, a far more important outcome.

Joseph Stiglitz
World Bank Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, 1997-2000

Economist and former World Bank official Joseph Stiglitz saw Russia's peculiar privatizations as a logical consequence of flawed shock-therapy liberalization policies.

Jeffrey Sachs
Professor of Economics, Harvard University

An early advisor to the Russian government, Jeffrey Sachs perceived a rise in corruption as time went on, perhaps because "Russia had a lot to steal."

Lilia Shevtsova
Senior Associate, Carnegie Moscow Center

Russian political analyst Lilia Shevtsova balanced the near-term dangers of corruption and inequality with the longer-term potential of generational renewal -- an argument for patience.

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