For a Kinder, Gentler Society
The Disastrous 1990s in Russia
Emulating the West Paved the Path to Putin
  • Konstantin Sidorov
Reviews Table of Contents Introduction «Back
The Disastrous 1990s in Russia. Emulating the West Paved the Path to Putin
Sound Bite

The USSR achieved military parity with the West in the 1970s, and the 1980s seemed a propitious time to take a daring leap toward capitalism with help from Russia’s new friends. But Perestroika, Glasnost and new legal codes designed with advice from Western experts led to an utter economic and social breakdown. Shocking concrete examples of the corruption, chaos and misery in the disastrous 1990s are related by the author, a Russian close to the administration in Moscow.

If the intent was to turn Russia into a cowboy-capitalistic hell and undermine Russians' confidence in capitalism, it succeeded. But it did not succeed in stealing resources and destroying the West's long-term rival. No wonder the public was ready for a strong, smart, energetic leader to set a new direction...and so we have Putin.


About the Author

Konstantin Sidorov came of age during the late years of the Soviet Union, lived through the tumultuous 1980s when liberal reforms seemed to burst open a world of possibilities, and then the harsh reality of the 1990s when the results of unrestrained free-market capitalism immediately unleashed what may be obvious in hindsight: crony capitalism, with public assets being sold or given to whoever was in the strongest position at the moment; corruption, where everything could be had for a price, including state or technological secrets; decadence and self-indulgence in lieu of the self-discipline and education that had allowed the Soviet Union to progress so much in a few decades.

Sidorov, who says he was close to members of the administration in Moscow, was revolted by what he saw. Russia seemed to get all the ills and none of the benefits of the transition. The social safety net was gone, jobs were gone, poverty sky rocketed and the average lifespan plummeted. He wrote his manuscript under a pseudonym and made plans to emigrate, dropping this book in the mail to us on his way out.

About the Book

After decades of War Communism, the Soviet public was hungry for a little self-indulgence, consumer goods, and pleasures like foreign travel. Moscow felt secure enough in the 1980s to drop their single-minded focus on military and industrial...

After decades of War Communism, the Soviet public was hungry for a little self-indulgence, consumer goods, and pleasures like foreign travel. Moscow felt secure enough in the 1980s to drop their single-minded focus on military and industrial strength, and Gorbachev began introducing liberal reforms.

However, this opened the floodgates to both exhilarating and noxious influences. In a few short years, the Soviet Union broke apart and, with Communism dead but no coherent system to replace it, the economy blew up as well. Corruption of every kind flourished in the new era of "liberty" and "freedom." Bribery became the norm, in politics as in commerce.

Konstantin Sidorov documents an array of abuses that are stunning in their variety and audacity. Western funds poured in from foundations and corporations, as people sought new markets and new ways to gain influence over our former adversary. Just like the City and Regional budgets, these funds often disappeared without the stated goals being touched. 

Briefly, this was an exciting time of opportunity but principally, it impoverished the population further and demoralized them, too. No wonder trust in the Western system and the West in general wore thin. Finally, Vladimir Putin was put in place to turn things around.


Pages 280
Year: 2022
BISAC: HIS032000 HISTORY / Russia & the Former Soviet Union
Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-1-62894-488-4
Price: USD 22.95
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-1-62894-489-1
eBook
ISBN: 978-1-62894-490-7
Price: USD 22.95
Available from

Search the full text of this book

Reader's Comments

    There are no reader's comments for this book.

Add a Reader's Comment

Note HTML is not translated

Rating : Bad Good

captcha