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ďShock therapyĒ reforms under the leadership of Gaidar lasted for about a year: in December 1992 Yeltsin sacrificed him as a concession to the demands of the Supreme Soviet and replaced him with Victor Chernomyrdin (b. 1938) as head of the government. Chernomyrdinís government admitted that the Russian economy was in shambles and that something needed to be done to stop the sharp decline in industrial production. However, Gaidarís basic monetarist approach, with its emphasis on strengthening the rouble, on financial stabilization, and on the fight against inflation, was retained.  

 
Boris Yeltsin and Victor Chernomyrdin

Having said that the previous economic policy had been seriously flawed, Chernomyrdinís government was unable to offer an alternative to Gaidarís course and to change the balance of negative and positive effects of the capitalist modernization.

Under Chernomyrdinís government, industrial and agricultural output continued to fall. The lack of investment resulted in a primitivization of industrial production and a return to outdated technologies. The acute underfunding dealt a crushing blow to education, science, culture, health care, and other spheres vital to the functioning of a modern society. The structures of the welfare state created under communism were crumbling. The Russian population was rapidly polarized into the poor and the rich. A sharp deterioration in the standards of living led to a significant decline in the birthrate: for an average family to have a baby became a luxury it could no longer afford.

Millions of workers and intellectuals felt uncertain about their future and feared losing their jobs because of the continuing deindustrialization and sharp contraction of the educational, cultural, and academic establishments. By 1994 the number of fully or partially unemployed exceeded ten million Ė nearly 14 percent of Russiaís entire working population.

The mounting socioeconomic problems and the hardships imposed by the reforms were the social cost of the radical transformation. The price for most citizens was exorbitantly high and directly affected the behavior of voters during the 1993, 1995, and 1999 parliamentary elections and the 1996 and 2000 presidential elections.

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