In This Review

The Piratization of Russia: Russian Reform Goes Awry
The Piratization of Russia: Russian Reform Goes Awry
By Marshall I. Goldman
Routledge, 2003, 288 pp

That the privatization of Russia's assets was a colossal heist is not news -- especially not to Goldman. He was among the first and staunchest critics of the Yeltsin-Gaidar economic reforms, including the most flagrant misappropriation: the insider-dominated transfer of public property to a small number of "oligarchs." Since then, the debate over Russia's economic path has grown increasingly heated and occasionally personal. Having been on the receiving end of these exchanges, Goldman throws his own punches here. He acknowledges that any plan would have been at least partially defeated by Russia's cultural and communist past but contends that the one chosen only made matters worse, producing new structural deformities that will not be easily corrected. Moreover, he argues, alternatives existed, taking China and Poland as examples. All in all, Goldman provides a clear, freewheeling version of his side of the argument.