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A Normal Country

By Andrei Shleifer and Daniel Treisman. Reading for week of January 6, 2004.

Leah Halvorson Email LeahHalvorson

During the 1990s, Russia underwent an extraordinary transformation from a communist
dictatorship to a multi-party democracy, from a centrally planned economy to a market economy, and from a belligerent adversary of the West to a cooperative partner. Yet a consensus in the US circa 2000 viewed Russia as a disastrous and threatening failure, and the 1990s as a decade of catastrophe for its citizens. Analyzing a variety of economic and political data, we demonstrate a large gap between this perception and the facts. In contrast to the common image, by the late 1990s Russia had become a typical middle- income capitalist democracy.


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