500 Days Program

   The 500 Days Program (programma500 dnei”) was the colloquial name for the partially implemented economic reform plan intended to transition the Soviet economy from a command-and-control system to a more market-based economy. Published in the late summer of 1991, the original report upon which the program was based was known as “Transition to the Market,” which envisaged a 400-day timetable for implementation. The plan’s main architects were Grigory Yavlinsky, who went on to become a major voice for economic liberalization in post-Soviet Russia, and the free-market advocate Stanislav Shatalin. Modeled on Poland’s “shock therapy” model of rapid transition, the program called for huge budget cuts for the KGB and military, mass privatization, an end to price-fixing by the state, and integration into the world economic system. While the program received strong backing from Russian leader Boris Yeltsin, Mikhail Gorbachev was less enthusiastic. Owing to harsh criticism of the plan by conservative Prime Minister Nikolay Ryzhkov and delays in the Supreme Soviet, the 500 Days Program was watered down and a timetable for implementation was abandoned.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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