Yegor Gaidar

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Yegor Gaidar
Егор Гайдар
Gaidar in 2008 - crop.jpg
Gaidar in 2008
Prime Minister of Russia
In office
15 June 1992 – 15 December 1992
PresidentBoris Yeltsin
First DeputyVladimir Shumeyko
Preceded byBoris Yeltsin (Acting)
Succeeded byViktor Chernomyrdin
First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia
In office
18 September 1993 – 20 January 1994
Prime MinisterViktor Chernomyrdin
In office
2 March 1992 – 15 December 1992
PresidentBoris Yeltsin
Minister of Finance
In office
11 November 1991 – 2 April 1992
PresidentBoris Yeltsin
Preceded byIgor Lazarev
Succeeded byVasily Barchuk
Personal details
Yegor Timurovich Gaidar

(1956-03-19)19 March 1956
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Died16 December 2009(2009-12-16) (aged 53)[1]
Odintsovo, Russia
Political partyUnion of Rightist Forces (2001–2008)
Other political
Communist (1980–1991)
Democratic Choice (1994–2001)
Spouse(s)Irina Smirnova (div.)
Maria Strugatskaya
Children3; including Maria
Alma materLomonosov Moscow State University

Yegor Timurovich Gaidar (Russian: Его́р Тиму́рович Гайда́р; pronounced [jɪˈɡor tʲɪˈmurəvʲɪtɕ ɡɐjˈdar]; 19 March 1956 – 16 December 2009)[1] was a Soviet and Russian economist, politician, and author, and was the Acting Prime Minister of Russia from 15 June 1992 to 14 December 1992.

He was the architect of the controversial shock therapy reforms administered in Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which brought him both praise and harsh criticism. He participated in the preparation of the Belovezh Accords. Many Russians held him responsible for the economic hardships that plagued the country in the 1990s that resulted in mass poverty and hyperinflation among other things, although liberals praised him as a man who did what had to be done to save the country from complete collapse.[2] Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University's Earth Institute, who advised the Russian government in the early 1990s, called Gaidar "the intellectual leader of many of Russia's political and economic reforms" and "one of the few pivotal actors" of the period.[3]

Gaidar died of pulmonary edema, provoked by myocardial ischemia[4] on 16 December 2009.

Personal life[edit]

Gaidar was born in 1956 in Moscow, RSFSR, Soviet Union, the son of Ariadna Bazhova[5] and Pravda military correspondent Timur Gaidar, who fought in the Bay of Pigs Invasion and was a friend of Raúl Castro.[a] His paternal grandfather was Soviet writer Arkady Gaidar and his maternal grandfather was writer Pavel Bazhov.[8][9] Despite the Turkic-sounding surname, Gaidar was Russian; his grandfather, originally called "Golikov", adopted the name "Gaidar" from the Khakas language as a nom-de-plume.

Gaidar married the daughter of writer Arkady Strugatsky during his time at the university.[8] His daughter, Maria Gaidar, was one of the leaders of the Russian democratic opposition. From July 2009 till June 2011 she was Deputy Chair of the Government of Kirov oblast.[10][11] In 2015 and 2016 she was vice-governor of Odessa Oblast in Ukraine.[11]


Gaidar graduated with honors from the Moscow State University, Faculty of Economics, in 1978 and worked as a researcher in several academic institutes. A long-time member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and an editor of the CPSU ideological journal Communist during the perestroika, he joined Boris Yeltsin's camp during Perestroika. In 1991 he quit the Communist Party[citation needed] and was promoted to Yeltsin's government.

While in government, Gaidar advocated free market economic reforms according to the principle of shock therapy. His best-known decision was to abolish price regulation by the state, which immediately resulted in a major increase in prices and amounted to officially authorizing a market economy in Russia. He also cut military procurement and industrial subsidies, and reduced the budget deficit. Gaidar was the First Vice-Premier of the Russian Government and Minister of Economics from 1991 until 1992, and Minister of Finance from February 1992 until April 1992.

He was appointed Acting Prime Minister under President Boris Yeltsin in 1992 from 15 June until 14 December, when the anti-Yeltsin Russian Congress of People's Deputies refused to confirm Gaidar in this position and Viktor Chernomyrdin was eventually chosen as a compromise figure. Gaidar continued to advise the new government. On 18 September 1993, he was again appointed the First Vice-Premier under Chernomyrdin as a deliberate snub to the opposition. He played an active role in the Russian constitutional crisis of 1993.

On 3 October, he famously spoke live on Russian television, then broadcasting from an emergency station near Moscow, as there was fighting going on in the Ostankino complex, calling on Muscovites to gather to defend Yeltsin's government so that Russia would not be "turned into an enormous concentration camp for decades".[12]

In the 1993 Duma elections, in the aftermath of the crisis, Gaidar led the pro-government bloc Russia's Choice and was seen by some as a possible future Prime Minister. However, due to the bloc's failure to win the plurality of votes in the election, Gaidar's role in the government diminished and he finally resigned on 20 January 1994.

Gaidar in the early 1990s

During the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia Yegor Gaidar, Boris Nemtsov and Boris Fyodorov were in Belgrade, Yugoslavia on a mediation mission.[13]

Reforms controversy[edit]

Gaidar was often criticized for imposing ruthless reforms in 1992 with little care for their social impact; however, it has to be understood that the country back then was at the brink of a famine. Russia had no currency for buying import goods, at the same time, no-one gave credits as the country was essentially bankrupt.[14] The collapse of the Soviet social system led to serious deterioration in living standards. Millions of Russians were thrown into poverty due to their savings being devalued by massive hyperinflation. Moreover, the privatization and break-up of state assets left over from the Soviet Union, which he played a big part in, led to much of the country's wealth being handed to a small group of powerful business executives, later known as the Russian oligarchs, for much less than what they were worth. The voucher privatization program enabled these few oligarchs to become billionaires specifically by arbitraging the vast difference between old domestic prices for Russian commodities and the prices prevailing on the world market. Because they stashed billions of dollars in Swiss bank accounts rather than investing in the Russian economy, these oligarchs were dubbed "kleptocrats."[15] As society grew to despise these figures and resent the economic and social turmoil caused by the reforms, Gaidar was often held by Russians as one of the men most responsible.[16] On the other hand, the ubiquitous goods deficit of the Soviet years disappeared and it became possible to buy all goods in the shops. Per capita calorie consumption under Gaidar diminished by 3.5% from 2526.88 kCal to 2438.17 kCal.[17]

According to Franklin Foer writing in The Atlantic, however, "when Yegor Gaidar ... asked the United States for help hunting down the billions that the KGB had carted away, the White House refused."[18]

One of Gaidar's most outspoken critics was the Yabloko economist and MP Grigory Yavlinsky, who had proposed since 1990 a 500 Days programme for the transition of the whole USSR to market economic, which was first backed and then dismissed by the government of Nikolai Ryzhkov. Yavlinsky emphasized the differences between his and Gaidar's reforms program, such as the sequencing of privatization vs. liberalization of prices and the applicability of his program to the entire Soviet Union.

Gaidar's supporters contend that although many mistakes were made, he had few choices in the matter and ultimately saved the country both from bankruptcy and from starvation. According to the BBC's Andrei Ostalski, "There were only two solutions—either introduce martial law and severe rationing, or radically liberalize the economy. The first option meant going all the way back to the Stalinist system of mass repression. The second meant a colossal change, a journey—or, rather, a race—through uncharted waters with an unpredictable outcome."[19]

Poisoning case[edit]

In November 2006 Gaidar went to Dublin, Ireland, to present his book Death of the Empire: Lessons for Modern Russia at an academic conference. Shortly after breakfast, a fruit salad and a cup of tea, Gaidar felt sick and returned from the conference hall to his room at the hotel. He was called on the phone to come down and deliver his speech, which Gaidar later recalled as a call that saved his life, as he would surely have died if he had been in his room unattended. After Gaidar had tried to deliver his speech he collapsed in the university hallway and was rushed to a local hospital. His colleague Ekaterina Genieva recalled that "He was lying on the floor unconscious. There was blood coming from his nose; he was vomiting blood. This went on for more than half an hour".[20] Next day he moved from the hospital to the Russian embassy's premises and arranged a transfer to Moscow where doctors familiar with his health status suggested that it looked like he was 'poisoned'.[21]

In an interview published in the FT, Gaidar claimed that it had been an attempted political murder, where "most likely that means that some obvious or hidden adversaries of the Russian authorities stand behind the scenes of this event, those who are interested in further radical deterioration of relations between Russia and the west".[22][23]

Anatoly Chubais, another Russian reformist official and a former colleague of Gaidar, rejected the possibility of Kremlin involvement in this case, commenting that "Yegor Gaidar was on the verge of death on 24 November. The deadly triangle – Politkovskaya, Litvinenko and Gaidar – would have been very desirable for some people who are seeking an unconstitutional and forceful change of power in Russia."[21]

Irish police opened an official investigation of the case.[24] One of the versions voiced by the Russian opposition leaders and Kremlin supporters suggested that Boris Berezovsky, then a Russian oligarch in exile, may have been behind it.[25] Andrey Illarionov, a former Putin adviser now living in the US, commented that the whole case was staged, and the reason for taking Gaidar to hospital must have been hyperthensia, stress or alcohol.[26]


Gaidar died at the age of 53 in Odintsovo raion, Moscow Oblast, Russia.[27] Gaidar's aide Valery Natarov stated that Gaidar died unexpectedly, early on 16 December 2009, at his Moscow Oblast home while he was working on a book[28] for children. Gaidar died of pulmonary edema, provoked by myocardial ischemia.[4] He is survived by his wife, three sons and daughter.[29]

Gaidar was regarded as an object of loathing among ordinary Russians who lost everything during the shock therapy economic reforms.[30]

Exiled Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky and convicted fraudster Platon Lebedev expressed their condolences.[31][32] "He laid the foundation of our economy".[33]

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has expressed condolences to relatives and friends of Yegor Gaidar.[34][35] Medvedev called Gaidar a "daring, honest and decisive" economist who "evoked respect among his supporters and opponents."[36] "The death of Gaidar is a heavy loss for Russia," says Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.[37] "We have lost a genuine citizen and patriot, a strong spirited person, a talented scientist, writer and expert.... He didn't dodge responsibility and 'took the punch' in the most challenging situations with honor and courage," the statement said.[36]

The White House offered condolences over Gaidar's death. U.S. National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said that, although controversial, Gaidar's legacy formed the foundation of a dynamic market-based economy.[38]

Gaidar Forum[edit]

In honor of Yegor Gaidar, each year in mid-January the Russian Presidency holds the Gaidar Forum that attracts the Russian political and business elite, with top European politicians also attending. The Forum is organized the week before the World Economic Forum in Davos and thus also serves to formulate the Russian positions on a variety of topics.[citation needed]

Academic and political positions[edit]

Positions held[edit]

  • Director of the Institute for Economy in Transition[39]
  • Executive Vice-President of the International Democratic Union (Conservative International)
  • Steering Committee member "Arrabida Meetings" (Portugal)
  • Member of the Baltic Sea Cooperation Council under the Prime-Minister of Sweden
  • Member of the Editorial Board of "Vestnik Evropy" (Moscow)
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the "Acta Oeconomica" (Budapest)
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the CASE Foundation (Warsaw)
  • Member of the International Advisory Board of the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO[40] (Moscow)

Honorary positions[edit]


  • Collapse of an Empire: Lessons for Modern Russia, by Yegor Gaidar, Brookings Institution Press (17 October 2007), ISBN 0-8157-3114-0.
  • Russian Reform / International Money (Lionel Robbins Lectures) by Yegor Gaidar and Karl Otto Pöhl (Hardcover – 6 July 1995)
  • Days of Defeat and Victory (Jackson School Publications in International Studies) by E. T. Gaidar, Yegor Gaidar, Michael McFaul, and Jane Ann Miller (Dec 1999)
  • State and Evolution: Russia's Search for a Free Market by E. T. Gaidar, Yegor Gaidar, and Jane Ann Miller (Donald R. Ellegood International Publications) Hardcover (Aug 2003) ISBN 978-0295983493
  • The Economics of Russian Transition by Yegor Gaidar (15 August 2002)
  • Ten Years of Russian Economic Reform by Sergei Vasiliev and Yegor Gaidar (25 March 1999)
  • Russia: A Long View, by Yegor Gaidar (Author), Antonina W. Bouis (Translator), Anders Aslund (Foreword), The MIT Press (12 October 2012), ISBN 0-2620-1741-5.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ According to Andrey Illarionov, Timor Aikadievich Gaidar (Russian: Тимур Аркадьевич Гайдар) was a high ranking GRU agent posing as a Pravda reporter while he was in Cuba, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan during the Soviet War in Afghanistan, as well as Syria, Indonesia, the Persian Gulf, Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh. At his home in Cuba, the younger Gaidar was six when he claimed he saw his father meet with Major General I. D. Statsenko (Russian: И. Д. Стаценко), who was the commander of the 53rd (41st) missile division, Rear Admiral A. M. Tikhonov (Russian: А. М. Тихонов), who was the head of counterintelligence of the Group of Soviet Forces in Cuba (GSVK) (Russian: Группы советских войск на Кубе (ГСВК)), and Raul Castro, who was the Minister of War for the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, while 15 ships of the United States 7th fleet could be seen from his window although the 7th Fleet would have been in the Pacific Ocean during the Cuban Missile Crisis which the Soviets called operation Anadyr (Russian: операции Анадырь).[6][7]


  1. ^ a b Anton Denisov. "Post-Soviet reform architect Gaidar dies aged 53 | Top Russian news and analysis online | 'RIA Novosti' newswire". RIA Novosti. Retrieved 17 December 2009.
  2. ^ Yegor Gaidar The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 December 2009
  3. ^ "Yegor Gaidar, Shock Therapy Architect, Dies at 53 (Update2)". Bloomberg. 30 May 2005. Retrieved 17 December 2009.
  4. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 December 2009. Retrieved 26 December 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Gaĭdar, Egor Timurovich (1999). Days of defeat and victory. University of Washington Press. p. 6. ISBN 0-295-97823-6.
  6. ^ Илларионов, Андрей (Illarionov, Andrey) (4 May 2011). "«Трудный путь к свободе» Часть вторая" [Hard road to freedom: Part two]. «Континент» Литературный, публицистический и религиозный журнал ( №146 2010, № 4 октябрь — декабрь (in Russian). Archived from the original on 10 November 2012. Retrieved 26 March 2022. See 20. Наш человек в Гаване (20. Our Man in Cuba).
  7. ^ Илларионов, Андрей (Illarionov, Andrey) (4 May 2011). "«Трудный путь к свободе» Часть вторая" [Hard road to freedom: Part two] (PDF). «Континент» Литературный, публицистический и религиозный журнал ( №146 2010, № 4 октябрь — декабрь (in Russian). pp. 164–170. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 March 2022. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  8. ^ a b Medvedev, Roy Aleksandrovich; George Shriver (2000). Post-Soviet Russia: a journey through the Yeltsin era. Columbia University Press. p. 13. ISBN 0-231-10606-8.
  9. ^ Антон, Васецкий (Anton, Vasetsky) (24 December 2009). "Гайдар-дед, Гайдар-отец, Гайдар-сын" [Gaidar-grandfather, Gaidar-father, Gaidar-son]. Trud (in Russian). Archived from the original on 27 October 2021. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  10. ^ "Биографии членов правительства" (in Russian). Archived from the original on 30 September 2011.
  11. ^ a b Divisions Revealed as Kremlin Critic Moves to Work for Ukraine Government, The Moscow Times (20 July 2015)
  12. ^ "Егор Гайдар в октябре 1993 г." – via
  13. ^ "Russia's Reaction to NATO Aggression Against Yugoslavia". 29 March 1999. Archived from the original on 28 February 2005. Retrieved 17 December 2009.
  14. ^ Гайдар и его реформы by Григорий Герасимов
  15. ^ Johanna Granville, "Dermokratizatsiya and Prikhvatizatsiya: The Russian Kleptocracy and Rise of Organized Crime,"Demokratizatsiya (summer 2003), pp. 448-457.
  16. ^ "Russia's market reform architect Gaidar dies at 53". Yahoo! News. Reuters. Retrieved 17 December 2009.[dead link]
  17. ^ "Калорийность потребленных продуктов питания в среднем на члена домохозяйства, за сутки, килокалория". 3 December 2009. Archived from the original on 3 December 2009.
  18. ^ Foer, Franklin (7 February 2019). "Russian-Style Kleptocracy Is Infiltrating America". The Atlantic.
  19. ^ Yegor Gaidar: The price to pay BBC News. Retrieved 17 December 2009
  20. ^ Parfitt, Tom; Bowcott, Owen (1 December 2006). "Family believes former Russian prime minister also poisoned". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  21. ^ a b "Former Russian PM Gaidar poisoned, say his doctors". The Independent. 1 December 2006. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  22. ^ "I was poisoned and Russia's political enemies were surely behind it". Financial Times. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  23. ^ "Gaidar alleges he was poisoned by Putin's enemies". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  24. ^ "Ирландская полиция начала расследование странной болезни Гайдара". Deutsche Welle (in Russian). 1 December 2006. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  25. ^ "Яд для Гайдара". Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  26. ^ "Спецоперация "Отравление Гайдара Борисом Березовским"". Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  27. ^ "Yegor Gaidar, Russian economic reformer, dies aged 53". BBC News. 16 December 2009. Retrieved 17 December 2009.
  28. ^ "Gaidar, Russia's free-market architect, dies at 53 - Business". MSNBC. 17 October 2002. Retrieved 17 December 2009.[dead link]
  29. ^ Anton Denisov (19 March 1956). "Yegor Gaidar, architect of Russia's free market transition, dies | Top Russian news and analysis online". RIA Novosti. Retrieved 17 December 2009.
  30. ^ "Russian politician who became hate figure for 'shock therapy' tactics". The Irish Times.
  31. ^ "Умер Егор Гайдар". Эхо Москвы.
  32. ^ "Михаил Ходорковский: "Несмотря на разногласия..."" [Mikhail Khodorkovsky: "Despite the differences ..."]. Radio Fee Europe. 16 December 2009.
  33. ^ "ПРЕССЦЕНТР Михаила Ходорковского и Платона Лебедева – "Он был очень талантливым и высокоответственным человеком"". Retrieved 17 December 2009.
  34. ^ "Президент России". Retrieved 17 December 2009.
  35. ^ "По факту смерти известного политика и экономиста Егора Гайдара будет проведена доследственная проверка" [An investigation verification will be conducted upon the death of a prominent politician and economist Yegor Gaidar]. Retrieved 17 December 2009.
  36. ^ a b "Gaidar, acting Russian PM under Yeltsin, dies". USA Today. 16 December 2009. Retrieved 17 December 2009.
  37. ^ "Кончина Гайдара – тяжелая утрата для России, считает Путин" [Gaidar's death - heavy loss for Russia, Putin said]. RIA Novosti. Retrieved 17 December 2009.
  38. ^ "White House offers condolences over Gaidar's death". Voice of Russia. 17 December 2009. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2009.
  39. ^ Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy
  40. ^ "Московская школа управления СКОЛКОВО – Московская школа управления СКОЛКОВО". 16 December 2007. Retrieved 17 December 2009.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of Russia

15 June 1992 – 14 December 1992
Succeeded by