PROFILE: Grigorii Yavlinskii: ‘A Brilliant Loser’

GRIGORII YAVLINSKIIS STAR ASCENDED rapidly in July 1990, when Boris Yeltsin appointed him deputy chairman of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic Council of Ministers and chairman of the Russian State Commission for Economic Reform. That spring, Yavlinskii had prepared a plan, titled “400 Days,” intended to shift the Soviet economy onto the path of market reform. His work attracted the attention of his former teacher, prominent reform economist Leonid Abalkin, who recommended him to Yeltsin. Yavlinskii thus found himself in a position to launch his plan (since renamed “500 Days”), the first openly declared economic reform program in Soviet history.