ECON: Russia coming around?

From: Bill Douglass (
Date: Sat Nov 17 2001 - 22:45:04 MST

This article from the Sunday _New York Times_ makes a decent case that
things may finally be starting to look up for Russia and its economy:

Registration on is free; I'll post the first couple paragraphs
below. I'd like to believe that Russia is at the stage now where Poland
was in 1993 or 94, but I'm skeptical:

Mr. Hirst [President of Citibank Russia] spent most of the 1990's in
Poland, where leaders imposed wrenching economic and political reforms
early in the decade to set the stage for growth. He said Russia today
was roughly where Poland was in 1993 or 1994, a year or two before social
and fiscal gains began barreling in. Russia could be on the cusp of its
own Polish-style renaissance, Mr. Hirst said.

Would that it were so. The idea of Russian being close to a "Polish-style
renaissance" strikes me as being a bit fanciful. People threw around
this type of optimism after the USSR collapsed, and Russians got a decade
of stagnation, economic contraction and, with Yeltsin's devaluation in
1998, financial meltdown. Comments?

Here are the first few paragraphs of the article:

November 18, 2001

At Last, Signs of Economic Revival in Russia


MOSCOW, Nov. 17 At last, Russia may be turning the corner.

Ask Yevgeny G. Peskin, vice president of IBS Group, an information technology
company based in Moscow. He says Russian demand for computer hardware
is growing at a 17 percent-a-year clip. Even better, demand for computer
services is up nearly 30 percent.

"Things have been happening with mind-boggling speed since 1990," he
said. "But in the last two years there was a massive change in the way
business is done in Russia."

Or ask Yuri Levada. His National Public Opinion Research Center measures
general optimism among Russian families, an index that has increased
more than 35 percent this year, to its highest point ever.

"All the ratings of consumer behavior and social behavior are better,"
he said. "The average person's situation is much better than two years
or even several months ago."

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