Academician Stanislav Shatalin has died at the age of 62. (Interfax, March 3) Shatalin, a leading Soviet economist of the mathematical school, is best known as leader of the team that produced in August-September 1990 what became known as the "500 Days Program" for radical economic change in the USSR. The team included Yegor Gaidar, Grigory Yavlinsky, and others subsequently well known as reform politicians in the post-Soviet period. For its time, the 500 Days Program was indeed radical: it called for price de-control, fiscal and monetary discipline to contain inflation, and rapid privatization. It also envisaged the conversion of the USSR into an economic union with only loose political ties between the constituent republics. The program was too radical for then Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, whom Shatalin accused of caving in to pressure from Communist hard-liners. A watered-down version prepared by a different team was officially adopted, but by then the Soviet Union was on the verge of disintegration.
Shatalin belonged to an older generation than the other authors of the 500 Days Program and was already a sick man by that time. He did not subsequently play a conspicuous part in Russian debates on economic transformation. But the 500 Day Program served as an important precursor of the radical reform program introduced in Russia by Gaidar in January 1992 .
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