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Leonid Abalkin - one of "the last Mohicans" of the Soviet Economic Science Died

Leonid Abalkin - one of "the last Mohicans" of the Soviet Economic Science Died
04.05.2011

Known scientist-economist and the statesman, academician Leonid Abalkin died in Moscow being 80 years old. L.Abalkin was one of the leading economists of the former USSR. During epoch of reorganization he was included into a number of developers of programs on transition from planned Soviet economy to the controlled market.

 

In 1989 L.Abalkin became the vice-president of ministerial council of the USSR in the government of Nikolay Ryzhkov, the head of the governmental commission of economic reform. He occupied that post till the end of 1990. L.Abalkin's offers on economic transformations encountered resistance in the state and party machinery as they saw in them the threat to the command management methods of economy.

 

Simultaneously L.Abalkin's ideas were exposed to sharp criticism from the part of more radical supporters of transition to market economy. L.Abalkin's opponents got the best after the ruin of the Soviet Union and formation of the government of Egor Gaydar.


From editorial board: Reforms put into practice on Leonid Ivanovich's tip were criticized at that time not only by the right but also by the left. In particular, they marked inconsistency of the reforms, desire to carry out market reform thus avoiding serious changes in a way of life of the Soviet people. His law about joint-stock enterprises actually opened epoch of privatization of the former public property - long before mortgaging auctions and Gaydar's epoch. Huge fortunes were made of air during that time, only on insider information and ability to use it.

 

It's necessary to say that Abalkin himself and his environment had no relation to it. It was, more likely, inevitable consequence of processes which late Soviet nomenclature let out having lifted the lid.

 

In due time I published a number of articles with sharp criticism of reform of Ryzhkov-Abalkin. It is necessary to say they were very sharp, even on the verge of a foul. Certainly, omnipotent prime minister of still Soviet government and his almost omnipotent assistant, possibly, could crush "pen-pusher, scribbler", as a matter of fact a milksop using nomenclature way - one call in MCC of the CPSU and I would be kicked out from edition at once. But... I had a meeting with assistant to the vice-premier who for almost two hours was explaining to me position of the government.

 

Then I agreed with some things and some of them accused but I understood distinctly - I deal with decent and intelligent people. Who really want to make almost impossible - actually they really failed. It is possible to tell, I was right but for some reason I don't feel happiness because it'll be better, if Abalkin turned to be right. It'll be better if he succeeded to set the national economy out of crisis "bloodlessly" and the country wouldn't collapse.

 

Naturally, the suссessors already were not able to do anything, all slid to its natural end. Аbalkin had chance for next two decades to observe the result of what failed to come true, of the future. Quite often I met him later. He always politely greeted me and, apparently, he never had the desire to clarify anything from that, old dispute. All was clear without it.

That generation of the Soviet nomenclature to which we - still living - have a lot of fair claims leaves in front of our eyes. If to compare them with the present generation of heads - it is perfectly different type of human beings, with other motivations, other purposes and ways of their achievement. It's obviously dying out type which didn't sustained competition to cephalopods mollusks of the present with bought doctor's degrees but not understanding things which could be learned at simple Soviet high school.

Alas, after generation of Abalkin we have only young grafs, kudrins and others - well, reap as one has sown...

Rest in peace...

 

Аnatoly Baranov, editor-in-chief of FORUM.msk

 

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