The transition to a market economy proves to be far more difficult in Russia than in the former centrally planned economies of eastern Europe. The Russian economy continues to face serious problems, including substantial inflationary pressures, falling output, and capital flight. The most positive aspect of the transition has been the relatively fast pace of privatization.
Challenges for Russian Economic Reform contains papers published by the post-Soviet Business Forum at the Royal Institute of International Affairs that have been revised for this volume. The contributers, specalists in Russian economic affairs, examine the principal economic and institutional factors that have hindered transformation in Russia. The sheer size of the country has complicated the problem of exposing domestic producers to foreign competition and has weakened the ability of central authorities to control the regions. Economic stabilization has been hampered by the difficulties in establishing sound economic relations with the former Soviet republics.
David Dyker and Michael Barrow analyze the problems of monopoly and competition policy in Russia. Philip Hanson assesses the obstacles to economic stabilization posed by regional economic interests and examines regional diversity in reform implementation. Michael Kaser examines the problems of privatization by regions and sectors in Russia and the CIS and the institutional obstacles encountered by foreign investors. Alan Smith explores the problems created by the breakup of traditional trade and payment relations with the non-Russian republics of the former Soviet Union and bilateral trade links with Eastern Europe. He also provides an overall assessment of Russian economic performance since the collapse of communism.
Alan Smith is a senior lecturer on the economics of eastern Europe at the University of London's School of Slavonic and East European Studies.