BPEA | 1993 No. 2

Privatizing Russia

discussants: Jeffrey D. Sachs and Stanley Fischer
Stanley Fischer Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

1993, No. 2

WHEN ANATOLY B. CHUBAIS was put in charge of the State Committee on the Management of State Property (GKI) in October 1991, privatization was not at the top of Russia’s reform agenda. Price liberalization and control of the budget were the top priorities. Politicians and the public debated whether Russia should be privatizing at all before macroeconomic problems are solved. No privatization program existed at the time. In fact, the very name of Chubais’ agency reflected the government’s ambivalence about privatization. A year and a half later, privatization has become the most successful reform in Russia. By September 1993, more than 20 percent of Russian industrial workersw ere employed by privatized firms. Privatization has spread even more widely in service firms. More than 60 percent of the Russian people supported privatization, and Chubaish as become one of the better known politicians.