On January 21, Chubais answered to Zakharova’s remarks by calling her one of the key bloggers of the current government. He further claimed that Zakharova is an official while he’s not and this is why he cannot bear responsibility for the current situation in Russia.
Speaking about the situation in 1991, he said:
“The average salary was $12 per month, the ruble wasn’t convertible into other currencies, private enterprise was a crime, Sberbank, which held everyone’s savings, was bankrupt, the economy shrank by 10 percent to 12 percent a year, inflation was above 100 percent and the stores were empty.”
Chubais claimed that by the time Zakharova started her career most of those problems had been overcome thanks to the creation of a market economy and resurrection of private property.
These remarks in fact confirmed that there are two different groups in the Russian elites: the pro-Western/liberal group and the formally “patriotic” part. However, the most interesting thing is their hypocrisy.
Chubais described Zakharova as a state official, but intentionally ignored that she is not a key decision maker but a spokesperson. He also said that he has not been a state official for decades, but this is lie. Chubais was the head of OAO Unified Energy System of Russia [a state electric power holding] and now he’s serving as the head of another state company, the Russian Nanotechnology Corporation (Rosnano). These are in fact state official positions.
Another lie is that the situation in Russia has improved thanks to actions of Chubais and Chubais-like government officials. In fact, their actions in early 1990s led to the “Crisis of 1998”. This crisis was overcome thanks to actions of the new government led by Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov and his first deputy chairman Yuri Maslyukov [a former experienced Soviet executive manager]. This new government took extraordinary measures: economic policy changes, reduction of tariffs, value-added tax on food is reduced, and the default is overcome. Almost everything was done in direct contrast to the recommendations of the IMF and other Western organizations.
What kind of measures is the modern Russian government employing to overcome the economic problems. It’s interesting to note that its economic block is repeating steps of early 1990s. The experience of the Primakov-Maslyukov government ignored and the history is repeating itself.