The resignation of Yegor Gaidar from his post as first deputy prime minister is an objective revelation. It shows that the attempt to impose a thorough bourgeois economy on the former USSR is meeting with formidable obstacles that cannot be overcome by mere sleight-of-hand economic maneuvers.
In the final analysis, the struggle comes down to this: Which class will be saddled with the burden that accompanies the introduction of a thorough capitalist economy in Russia?
Since the Gorbachev era began, Gaidar has become the principal link between the imperialist bankers and the Russian bourgeoisie. As a capitalist politician and the leader of the party calling itself Russia's Choice, he stands next to President Boris Yeltsin in the esteem of the imperialist bourgeoisie.
Clinton's meeting with Yeltsin
When U.S. President Bill Clinton arrived in Moscow to meet with Yeltsin, it was for the purpose of shoring up Yeltsin's political strength and demonstrating the U.S. government's and ruling class's concern over the progress of the so-called reforms to introduce a full-scale capitalist economy in the former USSR.
If Clinton's visit was to be more than a goodwill gesture toward Yeltsin, proper diplomatic procedure would have dictated that Clinton and Yeltsin include in their discussions the principal proponent of the bourgeois restoration, the one considered in the imperialist West to be the key in promoting the vandalizing and dismantling of socialist enterprises. That person is Gaidar.
But Clinton avoided such a meeting, for it would have meant a review of the economic problems in the former USSR. Gaidar would have presented Clinton with a description of the perilous state of the economy as a whole. The U.S. could have concluded such a meeting only by acceding to more loans and grants and encouraging the imperialist allies to do likewise.
Instead, Clinton made his visit a mere goodwill gesture to Yeltsin. He left abruptly without meeting with the principal proponent of the very capitalist restructuring of Russia that the imperialist West is looking for.
So it was really inevitable that Gaidar would resign his post and charge publicly that under the conditions now prevailing in Russia (really the inability of the Yeltsin government to continue its vandalizing of socialist industry), rampant inflation is absolutely inevitable.
Gaidar is a staunch opponent of any and all kinds of social benefits such as increases in unemployment insurance. He sounds just like the conservatives in the West who say that social benefits feed inflation while increases in super-profits do not.
There is no question that not only Yeltsin but also Gaidar have read the results of the parliamentary election in December. It clearly indicated the disenchantment of the masses with the economic policies of the Yeltsin counter-revolutionary regime.
No inflation under USSR
How to rein in inflation without coming into collision with the masses is the problem of problems of a bourgeois regime, whether it be fascist, militarist or democratic in character.
But why look abroad for examples of how to deal with inflation when a truly shining example can be found in the history of the USSR itself? Only a few years after the 1917 workers' and peasants' revolution and the destruction caused by the ensuing civil war, the Soviet government was able to eliminate inflation by lifting the living standards of the masses, not depressing them. The scourge of inflation was successfully avoided with the beginning of the planned economy and socialist construction.
That is what made it possible for the USSR to have a stable currency for many decades. Even if the Soviet government could not get the imperialist West to accept the ruble for some years, it was acceptable to the masses at home because of its reliability as a stable currency.
The Yeltsin government can't do this. It is fearful of the masses, especially since the recent election, and is seeking any and all avenues to obtain loans and credits from the West. It hopes thereby to avoid the harsh measures that will be necessary if this counter-revolutionary government is to carry out capitalist restoration.
However, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the two agencies that have sanctioned loans on previous occasions, are not likely to do it again this time. After all, the principal guardian of the bourgeois economy has resigned his post in disgust over the inability of the Yeltsin government to carry forward the capitalist restoration with the kind of speed that is necessary to restore the confidence of the world imperialist banking system.
Only two choices
Clearly, the Yeltsin administration is coming to a fork in the road.
They could go whole-hog in support of capitalist restoration, which would require a readiness to take on the mass anger provoked by the resulting devastating layoffs and cutbacks.
Or they could throw overboard the rotten cargo of bourgeois economics and return to orthodox socialist planning, at least as it existed in the 1960s when the Soviet economy was considered second only to that of the U.S. in terms of reliably repaying credits and loans. The imperialist banks at that time rivaled one another in attempting to extend loans and credit to the Soviet government.
But can the Yeltsin government of the bourgeoisie, which has repressed those fighting against capitalist reaction, now successfully appeal to the masses, reject the road of bourgeois restoration, and go back to socialist construction? From all appearances, this would be an utterly incredible turnabout on the part of the Yeltsin regime.
They would first of all have to open the prisons and release all those they have jailed!
If Yeltsin were to assume such an extraordinary posture, what would it mean? In terms of historical analogies, it would be playing Bonapartist politics. A Bonapartist regime moves from one class camp to another, but not out of loyalty to either one, while it relies on the military and the police as its fundamental support.
Can such a position last for any length of time? Only if class antagonisms soften. Such an eventuality could only happen if there were a vast and rapid economic improvement. Where would that come from? Yeltsin would have to retrace his steps. It's a very, very unlikely situation.
The political situation in the former USSR cries out for a return to socialist construction. And that can be guaranteed only by the formidable emergence of a reorganized communist movement that has been reformed in a revolutionary direction.
Therein lies the hope for the socialist regeneration of what used to be the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
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