Russia’s transition to a market economy has been tortuous to say the least. However, this book argues that the arguments and counter-arguments that pitch shock therapy against gradualism are wide of the mark and quite pointless. Indeed, the reasons for the warped outcomes can actually be traced back through the long sweep of Russian history. Decisions made in the distant past can fully influence policy- making in the present. The thesis can, like this, be seen as influenced by the ‘path dependency’ theories of Paul David among others.
“Stefan Hedlund is one of the few professional economists to acknowledge the importance of history in shaping economic behaviour. This approach is especially valuable in the case of Russia where the ‘burden of the past’ is a major factor influencing politics as well as economics”.