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People watch the storming of the Supreme Soviet ("White House") in Moscow during the
Russian constitutional crisis of October 1993. Photo: Dmitry Borko/

Suggested readings

Bendukidze is listed as one of the top 20 oligarchs in Russia in "Ownership concentration in Russian industry" by Sergei Guriev and Andrei Rachinsky (2004), published by the Centre for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR) at the New Economic School (NES).

In an interview with Kommersant (dated 1995), entitled "Being Cool Won't Help You Dodge the Bullet" («Крутизна на траекторию пули не влияет»), Bendukidze spoke about the rise of criminality in Russia in the 1990s and the striking increase in the number of contract killings of businessmen, whose casualties included some of his colleagues in the lobby group Round Table of Russian Business. He advocated harsh measures, saying that one can only deal with the situation in Russia by "shoot[ing] all the bandits." In his opinion, a "tough authoritarian regime" of the "Taiwanese-Chilean type" would be necessary for a transition to normal economic development and for curbing rampant criminality. Bendukidze also noted that it was impossible to do business legally in Russia without fear of being killed over some dispute.

A description of Russia's wild capitalism can also be found in Paul Klebnikov's Godfather of the Kremlin – the Decline of Russia in the Age of Gangster Capitalism (2000). He notes about Russia's early capitalism that:

"Russia's new businesses were pushed into the world of organised crime by the corruption of the government apparatus, which meant that commercial success was overwhelmingly dependent on political connections. Businessmen were hampered by a crushing tax code – which impelled enterprises to conduct business off the books – and the absence of an effective legal system …" (p. 30)

As for privatisation:

"By the end of 1993, when Russians actually were able to use their vouchers, inflation and devaluation of the ruble had destroyed 95 percent of the voucher's face value, and Russia's industrial and natural-resource wealth was valued at a mere $5 billion." (p. 130)

Bendukidze achieved success in Russia and became known for his commitment to liberal economic policy, which he promoted in various political and economic forums. To get an idea of how Bendukidze was viewed in Russia around the time he left for Georgia, Vitaliy Tretyakov's June 2004 article in Rossiiskaya Gazeta, published under the title "Bendukidze's Mission – "Миссия Бендукидзе" is particularly useful.

April 2010

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