Chubais, Anatoly Borisovich

(1955– )
   Politician and oligarch. Born in the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic, Anatoly Chubais was the son of academics; his father was a university lecturer in scientific Communism and his mother was an economist. He continued the family tradition by graduating from the Leningrad Economic Engineering Institute as an economist, joining the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and taking a teaching job at his alma mater. In the early 1980s, he became a leader of an informal market-oriented circle of economists where he met the future prime minister of Russia, Yegor Gaydar, and established a network of intellectuals who eventually became distinguished members of the Soviet government.
   In the early 1990s, Chubais combined his research activities with a political career, following Anatoly Sobchak, who was elected as the chairman of the Leningrad Soviet, into politics as his deputy. They both advocated the idea of turning Leningrad into a special economic zone. In 1992, Chubais became a backer of economic shock therapy, meant to remedy the economic crisis of the Gorbachev years. However, the policy resulted in economic chaos and hyperinflation, as well as mass unemployment and poverty. Chubais was also responsible for the controversial voucher program initiated by Yeltsin. As a result, a small number of politically connected individuals, particularly the oligarchs, including Chubais himself, became fabulously wealthy while the rest of the nation was gripped by unprecedented poverty.
   In the 1996 presidential elections, Chubais proved instrumental in returning Yeltsin to office, and was made head of the presidential administration in return. In 1998, after transitioning through several top government posts, including head of the Federal Commission on Securities and Stock Market, he became the head of Unified Energy System, which controls the country’s power grid. He remained in this role for 10 years until becoming the director of Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies.
   Chubais served as one of the co-leaders of a liberal Union of Right Forces. In 2003, the party failed to gain access to the State Duma; Chubais’s unpopularity with average Russians harmed by the economic chaos of the 1990s was seen as a major reason for the political party’s weakness.
   See also Economy.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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