Days of Defeat and Victory

Yegor Gaidar, Author, E. T. Gaidar, Author, Jane Ann Miller, Translator
Yegor Gaidar, Author, E. T. Gaidar, Author, Jane Ann Miller, Translator University of Washington Press $30 (312p) ISBN 978-0-295-97823-9
Reviewed on: 12/04/2000
Release date: 12/01/2000
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Those seeking a deeper understanding of the tumultuous economic and political changes that occurred in Russia during the 1990s will welcome this translation of Gaidar's lively and candid account of his role in Russia's painful and still incomplete transition to a market economy. As the first post-Soviet prime minister of Russia and as one of the most ardent champions and architects of economic reform, the young economist won a place in Russia's postcommunist history but saw his name associated with reforms hated by many Russians. The policies promoted by Gaidar were a major cause of the Russian parliament's 1993 rebellion against Boris Yeltsin, which cost more than 150 people their lives. Thus the title of Gaidar's account of his experiences reflects not only Russia's political and economic fortunes but his own personal journey from economist to politician. The memoir begins with Gaidar's personal background and his rise as a prominent economist, followed by his unlikely entry into politics, his dismissal from Yeltsin's government, his subsequent return as deputy prime minister, and his formation of a political party, Russia's Democratic Choice. True to his reputation as a blunt and honest speaker, Gaidar recounts these dramatic events in a straightforward manner, constantly addressing the morality of decisions he and others have made in the name of progress for Russia. In the process, Gaidar opens a window onto the formidable challenges of introducing democratic and economic change in his native land. 12 photos not seen by PW. (Jan.)
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