Sale of the Century by Chrystia Freeland
Russia's Wild Ride from Communism to Capitalism

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Synopsis

In the 1990s, all eyes turned to the momentous changes in Russia, as the world's largest country was transformed into the world's newest democracy. But the heroic images of Boris Yeltsin atop a tank in front of Moscow's White House soon turned to grim new realities: a currency in freefall and a war in Chechnya; on the street, flashy new money and a vicious Russian mafia contrasted with doctors and teachers not receiving salaries for months at a time. If this was what capitalism brought, many Russians wondered if they weren't better off under the communists.

This new society did not just appear ready-made: it was created by a handful of powerful men who came to be known as the oligarchs and the young reformers. The oligarchs were fast-talking businessmen who laid claim to Russia's vast natural resources. The young reformers were an elite group of egghead economists who got to put their wild theories into action, with results that were sometimes inspiring, sometimes devastating. With unparalleled access and acute insight, Chrystia Freeland takes us behind the scenes and shows us how these two groups misused a historic opportunity to build a new Russia. Their achievements were considerable, but their mistakes will deform Russian society for generations to come.

Along with a gripping account of the incredible events in Russia's corridors of power, Freeland gives us a vivid sense of the buzz and hustle of the new Russia, and inside stories of the businesses that have beaten the odds and become successful and profitable. She also exposes the conflicts and compromises that developed when red directors of old Soviet firms and factories yielded to -- or fought -- the radically new ways of doing business. She delves into the loophole economy, where anyone who knows how to manipulate the new rules can make a fast buck. Sale of the Century is a fascinating fly-on-the-wall economic thriller -- an astonishing and essential account of who really controls Russia's new frontier.
 

About Chrystia Freeland

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CHRYSTIA FREELAND was born in 1968 in Peace River, Alberta. She began reporting on Russia as Moscow bureau chief for the Financial Times in January 1995. Before that, she was the Eastern European correspondent for the Financial Times. She has also written for The Economist and The Washington Post. She has a BA from Harvard, and a master's of Slavonic studies from Oxford, where she studied on a Rhodes scholarship. Chrystia Freeland lives in Toronto, where she is deputy editor of The Globe and Mail.
 
Published January 1, 2000 by Doubleday Canada. 370 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel. Non-fiction

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The sorry story of the fiasco known as the Russian capitalist economy, thoroughly if at times crassly told by correspondent Freeland.

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