Yavlinsky, Grigory Alekseyevich

Yavlinsky, Grigory Alekseyevich
(1952– )
   Politician. Born into a prosperous military family in Lviv, Ukraine, Yavlinsky, who is of mixed Jewish-Russian origin, became a junior boxing champion before studying economics. He ultimately earned a kandidat (PhD) in the field. During the late Soviet period, he gained national fame as the author of the controversial 500 Days Program, which intended to transition the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) from a command-and-control system to a free-market economy in rapid fashion.
   In order to push through his plans, he was appointed deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and placed in charge of economic reform; when his program was rejected, he left the post. In the wake of the constitutional crisis of 1993, he and two other economic liberals established the Yabloko political bloc, which would ultimately emerge as Russia’s premier liberal political party. Yavlinsky’s political goal was to create an anti-Yeltsin force that functioned within the established norms of a democratic, pluralist political system. He was a fierce critic of the war in Chechnya and an early supporter of Yevgeny Primakov as prime minister.
   He twice ran for president, in 1996 and 2000, placing fourth and third, respectively. He had a complicated relationship with Vladimir Putin, sometimes winning praise from the president, as was the case with his role as a negotiator in the Nord-Ost theater crisis, while vociferously opposing his policies at other times, particularly the concentration of power in the executive branch and the arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. On 22 June 2008, he stepped down as head of Yabloko after more than a decade at the helm.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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