chapter  2
23 Pages

Critical Responses to Radical Reform

ByBertram Silverman, Murray Yanowitch

Public opinion surveys on the matter in 1993—1994 reveal that Russians shared the experts' critical perceptions of emerging patterns of income inequality. The sacrifices imposed on the Russian people were seen as a necessary cost of extirpating the nomenklatura as a ruling elite, and in so doing, making the reforms irreversible. Radical reformers paid little attention to how the costs of reform would be shared or how to protect the losers. Reformers have been more attracted to the free market attributes of capitalism than to the social democratic features of most already existing market systems. Many reformers viewed the Soviet safety net as undermining efficiency and modernization, a relic of the past that needed to be radically modified. The bleak picture painted by the critics was designed, they contend, to promote populist resistance to the radical reform of the economic system.