FSU: Building Market Economy Monetary Systems–My Travels in the Former Soviet Union
By Warren L Coats (2020) Kindle and paperback versions available at: https://www.amazon.com/FSU-Building-Economy-Monetary-Systems-ebook/dp/B08K3WNQK2/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=warren+Coats&qid=1601491694&s=books&sr=1-2
By the end of 1991 the pressures for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) to break up into 15 separate countries climaxed. On December 25, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as the President of the USSR and the next day the Supreme Soviet voted to end its existence. The demise of the Soviet Union was precipitated by the failure of its system of central planning to deliver an acceptable standard of living for its unfortunate citizens. Thus, Russian and the other now Formerly Soviet Republics wanted to transition into market economies as quickly as possible. They wanted to become what they called “normal” countries and to join the rest of the world.
Of direct relevance to me, my employer, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), suddenly faced the prospect of fifteen new members, each of which wished to convert its branch of Gosbank, the central bank for the USSR, into its own independent central bank overseeing the monetary and financial systems of market economies.
Four months after the USSR was formally dissolved, I was on a charter flight from Geneva, Switzerland, to Alma Ata, Kazakhstan, with eleven other economists to provide technical assistance to the National Bank of Kazakhstan. We knew almost nothing about the people we were to meet, the living conditions we would find, the social customs that we might be expected to understand, and the condition of the former branch of the Gosbank of the USSR that we were to help become a normal central bank. It was a challenging but very exciting undertaking.
In this book, I attempt to share some of the more interesting social, primarily non-economic, encounters of my work in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova from 1992 to 1995.
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