The Price of the Past: Russia's Struggle With the Legacy of a Militarized Economy

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The Price of the Past: Russia's Struggle With the Legacy of a Militarized Economy

By Clifford G. Gaddy
Brookings, 1996
225 pp. $26.95
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"For Russia, the first priority is not to preserve and protect the illusory value of assets embodied in its oversize defense-industrial sector," argues Gaddy, "but to develop the market economy that gives those assets value." Alas, he continues, policymakers normally start from the other end, searching for arms makers with valuable human and other assets and then trying to move those assets into some other line of production. They should let scientists and skilled technicians become, by dint of natural talent, what the market needs -- bankers, marketing specialists, insurance agents, tax and corporate lawyers -- leading Russia away from its "hypermilitarized" condition. The market gives Russia what it never had, a sense of what defense costs and proof that it has far more than it can afford. Gaddy offers a remarkably insightful analysis of the extent to which the Soviet economy was militarized, how best to measure it, precisely what happened when Russian reformers and foreign governments tried to rein in and transform the Russian defense industry, and where the matter rests today. A very solid, informative book.