A limping transition: the former Soviet Union thirty years on

The purpose of this essay is to assess where FSU countries are 30 years after the break up of the USSR in terms of their economic and political system

Publishing date
14 February 2023
Marek Dabrowski
Monument to the Red Army

The post-communist transition in the Soviet Union’s successor states has been discouraging in many ways. The foundations of market economies were put in place by the early 2000s but adopted policies and institutions have proved suboptimal and distortive in many countries. Overall, the region has demonstrated how economic and political transition are closely correlated, with the latter impacting strongly on the former. In particular, the autocratic drift in Russia has caused reversals in economic reforms and aggressive policies against its neighbours, culminating in the devastating war in Ukraine.

This essay is a revised and substantially expanded version of a paper presented at a conference in memory of Professor Oleh Havrylyshyn, on ‘Economic History, Comparative Economics and Policy-making in Transition’, organised by University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, London, 20-21 June 2022. The author thanks the conference participants and Bruegel’s research team for valuable comments that helped improve on the earlier versions of this essay. 

About the authors

  • Marek Dabrowski

    Dr. Marek Dabrowski is a Non-Resident Scholar at Bruegel, co-founder and Fellow at CASE - Centre for Social and Economic Research in Warsaw and Visiting Professor at the Central European University in Vienna.

    He was Chairman of the CASE Supervisory Council and its President of Management Board (1991-2011), Chairman of the Supervisory Board of CASE Ukraine in Kyiv (1999-2009 and 2013-2015), Member of the Board of Trustees and Scientific Council of the E.T. Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy in Moscow (1996-2016), Professor at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow (2014-2022), and Fellow under the 2014-2015 Fellowship Initiative of the European Commission – Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs. He is a former First Deputy Minister of Finance of Poland (1989-1990), Member of Parliament (1991-1993) and Member of the Monetary Policy Council of the National Bank of Poland (1998-2004).

    Since the end of 1980s he has been involved in policy advising and policy research in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Egypt, Georgia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Somali, Syria, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Yemen, and in a number of international research projects related to monetary and fiscal policies, growth and poverty, currency crises, international financial architecture, perspectives of European integration, European Neighborhood Policy, trade policy, and political economy of transition.

    He has also worked as a consultant in a number of EU, World Bank, IMF, UNDP, OECD and USAID projects. Marek is the author of several academic and policy papers, and editor of several book publications.

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