The New York Times Magazine
August 15, 1999, p. 34

The Russian Devolution. (Excerpt)

By John Lloyd, a writer living in London, was the Moscow bureau chief for The Financial Times from 1991 to 1996.

On the ground in Russia, Western advisers worked with the reformers to set up market institutions. But it was a fraught undertaking: the Westerners themselves were caught in -- or constructed -- webs of patronage.

A key text in the critics' armory is a book by Janine R. Wedel, published late last year, called "Collision and Collusion." Wedel, an anthropologist at George Washington University, had worked for many years in Poland and moved east to Russia in 1994. She came to realize that the Western "clan," as Russians called it, around Chubais was a very close-knit group indeed. Most of the more than $300 million provided for privatization by the Agency for International Development went directly to or was controlled by the Harvard Institute of International Development, run by Chubais's aides. Two of its Western members, Andrei Shleifer and Jonathan Hay, both then of Harvard, are now under investigation for allegedly undertaking "activities for personal gain."

"In a country like Russia," Wedel says, "it was exactly the wrong thing to do to choose a particular group of people -- the New Russians in politics. They were seen as embodying our ideas. They talked the talk. They were very savvy operators. It was fascinating how people from the West latched on to the features in their Russian counterparts they wanted to see."

On the web at The New York Times Magazine, 15 August 1999.

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