Russia's Economic Czar: A "Pessimistic Realist"

Presidential economic adviser Andrei Illarionov says if policymakers didn't learn their lesson in 1998's crisis, they may be doomed to repeat it

It's not easy being President Vladimir V. Putin's top economic adviser these days. That's especially true if you're an ardent free marketer in a state where entrenched bureaucratic interests still prevail. For Kremlin aide Andrei Illarionov, the maverick liberal economist who was the first to sound the alarm about Russia's impending August, 1998, crash and who now has the President's ear on all things economic, there's only one way to do this job: adopt the attitude of a "pessimisticheski realist," or pessimistic realist.

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