The Lessons of Perestroika, 20 Years After

Twenty years after Mikhail Gorbachev launched perestroika, many people have come to lament the slow pace of reform in Russia under President Vladimir Putin. But could it have been otherwise? This should not be a surprise, because the tumultuous Gorbachev and Yeltsin eras left the country exhausted. So who can blame Russians for suffering from the reform fatigue?

But if Russia is to get back on its feet, more reforms are needed. Yet before a new round of reforms is to begin, some basic principles about Russia's political capacities must be understood.

The first question that any would-be Russian reformer should ask nowadays (and which we did not ask during Gorbachev's perestroika) is the following, is society prepared to endure the short-term pains of reforms, and how willing it is to endure the pain?

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

http://prosyn.org/82Em1va;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.