Staunton, Jan. 19 – 2022, Nikolay Krotov says, marked the end of “the long 1990s which in fact began in 1987” when Gorbachev launched perestroika, a period which was “surprisingly similar to the 1920s” when the Soviet government facing economic collapse adopted the New Economic Policy to address the immediate needs of the population and save itself.
Among the parallels which the Moscow commentator surveys are the multiplication of banks and trading companies, a blurring of the divide between public and private economic activity, a rise in corruption, a crisis in religion, the destruction of the old order without certainty about the new, the collapse of worker discipline, the influx of people into the cities, chaos in the border regions, and ongoing turmoil among elites (mk.ru/social/2023/01/19/v-2022-godu-zakonchilis-dlinnye-90e.html).
In 2022 as in 1929, the country was in increasingly dire straits; but now as almost a hundred years ago, a leader has emerged in the person of Vladimir Putin to do what Stalin did in the 1930s, shift away from NEP and create the conditions for new growth, albeit at potentially enormous costs.
Whether the country has the will or the stomach to do that again, however, remains very much an open question, Krotov suggests.
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