Tag Archives: Gontmakher

EDITORIAL: Gontmakher Strikes Back


Gontmakher Strikes Back

In November of last year, Russian economist Yevgeny Gontmakher published an op-ed item in the Russian newspaper Vedemosti in which he warned of, as the Carnegie Center’s Nikolai Petrov wrote recently in the Moscow Times “unrest if factories in one-industry towns shut down as a result of the crisis.”  Petrov remembers:  “At the time, the government accused both Gontmakher and Vedomosti of inciting social unrest. But government leaders did nothing to prevent such a scenario from playing out or to at least develop an effective contingency plan in case it did.”

In fact, the Putin regime did more than just “accuse” Gontmakher, it tried to silence him, threatening the paper with closure and Gontmakher with prosecution. 

Now, Gontmakher has been utterly vindicated.  The recent protest action in the town of Pikalyovo proves that was exactly right while the Kremlin was absolutely wrong. But don’t hold your breath waiting for the Kremlin to apologize and make amends.

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Annals of the Gontmakher Saga

A few days ago, we republished a translation from the Russian press by Robert Amsterdam by economist Yevgeny Gontmakher, an article which got the author in very hot water with the Kremlin.  Now the Moscow Times has a two-part op-ed series on the article.

First it offers a column by the author himself:

The shelf life of most newspaper articles is usually one or two days. After that, readers tend to forget whatever the article said. That is why I am so surprised by the continuing debate over my article, “Novocherkassk-2009,” published on Nov. 6 in Vedomosti. In that comment, I described a typical city with a workforce dependent on a single major factory or industry (Russia has about 700 such cities) and the social problems that could result if the economic crisis were to worsen.

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