chapter  1
32 Pages

The Twentieth-Century Russian Dialectic

In January 1992, for the second time in this century, a new Russian government that was determined to radically restructure the economy launched a program of reforms based on an economic vision imported from the West. In both cases, Russia hoped to establish a robust economic system through plans developed and administered by an elite cadre of planners who worked to insulate themselves from close public scrutiny. In the 1990s, as well as after the October Revolution, hasty improvisations were required to implement directives whose theoretical assumptions did not mesh well with prevailing social and economic conditions in Russia. Again, as in the seventeenth century and beyond, the rising tide of Western influences in Russia, and the resulting social dislocations, were seen as both welcome and intrusive--both promising and alarming.3 As under Lenin, early results fell notably short of expectations, which threatened to fundamentally reorient the reforms.