Yegor Gaidar, R.I.P.

The Washington Post put it well: “Russia’s Yegor Gaidar championed freedom

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4 Responses to “Yegor Gaidar, R.I.P.”

  1. Daniil Gorbatenko

    Well, he was certainly a quite radical reformer and a brave and remarkably honest politician.

    But the best summary of his tragedy is that he was too right wing for the Russian public’s taste and too left-wing for his reforms to succeed.

    Let’s hope that history will be fair to him.

  2. antiobjectivist

    As he helped the Russian life expectancy for men plunge into the 50s, it is apt that he died in his own 50s… this man’s experiment caused untold suffering and death. As his evil was ideologically correct he is spared the attacks that other experimenters got – you know, Mao and Pol Pot…

  3. It’s interesting that you use the language “helped” here. Do you think he went about urging men to drink and smoke more? What do you have in mind? The USSR was collapsing and could not be and should not have been saved. It ran out of resources. It was broken. Kaput. Oppressive. And the people who lived there were poor and getting poorer. The Soviet health care system was, shall we say, quite unequal in access (the privileged included party members, people who could pay bribes, people with propiska for life in major cities, etc.). It was not something a decent person would have wanted to save. And the transition from such a disaster to something better was on a road no one had ever traveled before. To compare Gaidar with the monsters you admire — Mao, Pol Pot, etc., all of whom murdered people in vast killing systems, is simply disgusting. Gaidar and his generation inherited a broken and ruinous system and tried to make the transition to something livable, with decidedly mixed consequences (the current nationalist regime is evidence of that), but overall very positive. The unfortunate Russian tradition of hard alcohol consumption, with all its terrible consequences, is not something that Mr. Gaidar caused, or even helped. The people who lived there were the people “created” by the USSR; they were as selfish and as beneficient, as responsible and as reckless, as that system encouraged people to be.

    You, sir, are ignorant. If you were to wish to be less so, you coudl do some reading:

    Yevgeny Andreyev, a demography expert with the Institute of National Economic Forecasting in Moscow, says that average life-expectancy fell steadily between 1965 and 1980, but the statistic has followed a roller-coaster path in the last twenty years. Average life expectancy rose in the mid 1980s, fluctuated through the 1990s, and has remained relatively stable over the last few years.

    There’s much more you could find, if you would but ask Mr. Google.

  4. Yegor Gaidar was a hero. The fast transition that he helped promote saved lives, rather than shorten them. The Russian transition was far more successful than is typically asserted. I’ll spare readers the technical details, but the actual economic collapse was worse under the Soviet than post-Soviet regime; to the contrary, the decline under Yelstin represented a reallocation of capital and started Russia onto a path where incomes could increase. Real incomes for individuals actually began increasing, contrary to what happened in Goskomstat’s statistics on official output.

    Yeltsin, Gaidar, & co. also made the individual *much* freer than s/he was previously. Presumably this counts for nothing to “antiobjectivist,” who seems to find mass executions and free markets to be equivalent, but it’s extremely important to those of us who care about the well-being of people.

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