Why So Many Russians Hate Mikhail Gorbachev

The Soviet Union ran on a command economy. To a great extent, it was isolated from the rest of the world economy. When the Soviet Union came apart in 1991, it had to reconstruct its economy to work with the rest of the world. That would never have been easy.

But as Gorbachev was rightly blamed for the breakup of the Soviet Union, the economic mess of the 1990s was not his fault. However, blame for one meant blame for the other to many ordinary citizens.

Paul Krugman offers economic information from 1990s Russia to show why Russians might have been angry. It was bad.

Many Russians lost all their savings. The way enterprises were privatized built the oligarch class.

Could it have been done better? Many of the satellites and former republics managed softer landings. A team from Harvard University advised the Russian government on economic “shock therapy.” The US Congress, led by Newt Gingrich’s Republicans, would have nothing to do with a Marshall Plan for the former Soviet Union. They barely were willing to fund a pittance for helping Russia to make its nuclear inventory safe.

Many Russians blame Gorbachev.

Also – why some of the former republics hate Gorbachev. It’s different from how Russians feel. And how Americans can’t transcend their priors about Gorbachev’s legacy.

Cross-posted to Lawyers, Guns & Money

One comment

  1. The Blog Fodder · September 8

    American economic advisors can shoulder a great deal of blame for the economic mess of the 90s. The mass privatization favoured the corrupt siloviki that had accumulated cash as they were able to snap up whole industries for very little. Privatization of land was handled very badly.
    Same thing happened in Ukraine creating our own oligarchs. I do not know who gave them advice in agriculture but I hope they burn in hell. It may have been deliberate as a vibrant ag industry in Ukraine would be a great threat to Europe especially. Canada tried for years to get the Ministry to institute a proper extension system targeted to small and medium farmers but independent consultants were deemed the way to go which only benefitted the big farms. consultants hoard information, extension workers disseminate it.


Comments are closed.