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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Excerpts From the Gaidar Speech

The following text was excerpted from acting Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar's speech to the Congress on Wednesday, as translated by the Federal News Service:

"Slightly more than a year ago our government began its work. From the very beginning we fully understood the burden of responsibility placed upon us.

"If you remember the discussion under way last autumn . . . then you recall that it was not about the question of how the production of tanks, fertilizers or even cotton cloth would drop in 1992;

"We discussed the threat of hunger, cold, stoppage of transport systems, the collapse of the state and society. Nothing of this kind happened. There is no threat of hunger or cold.

"With all the talk about massive discontent about the reforms, we managed to preserve social stability. Paradoxically, over the period of 10 very hard months of reforms, the amount of working time lost due to strikes dropped by six times compared to the level of 1991.

"What have we failed to do, in our opinion: The most important was that we failed to reach financial stabilization and strengthen the ruble.

"The dilemma our society is now facing is much tougher and much more dramatic than a simple choice between the U. S. and Scandinavian models (as proposed by parliament speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov in his speech). Foot-dragging in introducing structural reforms is criminal. Delays in introducing economic reforms drag our economy down in the abyss of underdevelopment.

"Which road will we take? Will we be able to pull our country out of its current crisis, will we be able to stay the course towards joining the society of civilized, market economies? Or will the inertia of recession, the inertia of a breakup drag us further down toward a chronically unstable financial system, subsequent low saving and low investment . . . toward populist politicians and authoritarian dictators coming one after another?

"It is very easy to skid toward the road of underdevelopment. It takes only delaying the speed of reforms. Then we will develop not according to the American or Swedish pattern but according to African or Latin American patterns.

"I would like to stress once again that the existing situation and existing opportunities for maneuver are largely predetermined by the country's hard-currency situation, a lack of reserves, very dangerous inflation levels, a deformed economic structure, and other numerous factors which will have to be taken into account by anybody in power, whether they want this or not.

"We are not in a big square where we can calmly discuss which road to take to get to a happy future. We stand on a very narrow path and can get out of the crisis only if we go along this path very carefully toward the community of civilized nations.

"It is very easy to skid from this narrow path, if we fail to ensure concrete, constructive, creative and responsible work by all bodies of power in Russia.

"Thank you".