On July 7, the Gaidar Institute hosted the presentation of the book “Five Five Years of Liberal Reforms. Origins of Russian modernization and Egor Gaidar’s legacy” by Andrey Kolesnikov, Senior researcher at the Carnegie Endowment, winner of the Gaidar Prize for contribution to historical studies.

Andrey Kolesnikov's book explores and assesses the intellectual and political history of Russian liberal reforms of the 1990s intertwined with the biography of Egor Gaidar, as according to the author, "the history of Russian reforms of the 1990s, which laid the foundation not only for a market economy but also for political democracy a la Russe, coincides with the biography and ideological evolution of the main Russian reformer".

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Radical transformation was the project of Gaidar and his team. Yet, according to the author, it was inevitable and had no alternative. Their ultimate success depended on a consistent development of democratic institutions. Over the years, however, the modernization of the country has come to a halt. What exactly led to this outcome and whether successful reforms are possible in Russia presents a question that the author also tries to answer.

“Authoritarian modernization in post-Soviet Russia has failed. The success of reform efforts is only possible if Russia's political system is democratized: this is a required condition for reforms of the new wave. In fact, the democratization would have to be the principal reform. Then, values, norms and institutions will likewise emerge, adequate to the challenges of the XXI century.”

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Andrey Kolesnikov concluded by quoting Egor Gaidar: “I perceive our main task as solving the strategic state problems, finalizing market reforms and building a sustainable, dynamic, prosperous western-style society.”

The presentation was organized by the Egor Gaidar Foundation and the Gaidar Institute.

The discussion was moderated by writer Denis Dragunsky.