Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Minister: Clean Slate for Reform Policy?

In the last days of 1992 Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin divided up duties among his deputies. Financial and economic policy matters in the government were given to a new deputy prime minister, a 35-year-old doctor of economics, Boris Fyodorov.

Fyodorov is known for having developed the financial portion of "500 Days" -- the first Soviet program for shifting the economy to market principles.

And although the "500 Days" program was not accepted because of the conservative Soviet parliament and the vacillation of Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Fyodorov became the minister of finance for the Russian Federation.

Fyodorov is indebted to Yegor Gaidar for his return to the Russian government. When the newly appointed Chernomyrdin asked Gaidar who, in his opinion, could take over finances and general reform matters, the ex-prime minister named Fyodorov.

Fyodorov is assuming the position that Gaidar held when Gaidar had just become deputy prime ministerand had brought his team to Staraya Ploshchad. The direction and quality of Russia's reforms now depends to a great extent on Fyodorov, whose position is more complicated than Gaidar's was. The ex-prime minister was the undisputed leader of the team, while Fyodorov has just taken over one of the vacated positions. and Gaidar was deputy prime minister with no real prime minister, which gave him, in effect, full power.

Fyodorov will have a harder time pushing through his decisions. In case of a conflict, his opponents can appeal directly to the prime minister. Under these conditions it will be difficult to fight inflation, which is one of the first problems Fyodorov intends to tackle.

But the new minister for economic reform has some considerable advantages. Fyodorov is starting with a clean slate. He has not turned all professors of economics against him, as Gaidar did from the very beginning. and Fyodorov is planning on recruiting many economic specialists who were rejected by Gaidar's team. In a council created especially for this purpose he is planning to unite academics Leonid Abalkin, Nikolai Petrakov, and others.

There is no doubt that Fyodorov will try to use his long-standing acquaintance with Anatoly Milyukov -- chief economic advisor to Ruslan Khasbulatov. He and Milyukov worked together in the economic department of the Communist Party Central Committee. Fyodorov's job will also be made easier by the fact that international financial circles know him from his work at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, where he has, worked for the past two years.