Courtesy Reuters


The results of Russia's first post-communist election in December 1993 sent a shock wave through the world. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the nationalist demagogue of the Liberal Democratic Party, captured almost a quarter of the popular vote. The pro-reform bloc, Russia's Choice, came away with only 15 percent. Provoked by this dramatic outcome, Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin promised a new economic course, declaring that the election marked "the end to market romanticism." In resigning as finance minister, Boris Fyodorov predicted the new course would result in rampant inflation, the return of price controls, and the arrest of privatization, leading to

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