Freedom vs. Non-Freedom: A View from Russia

Andrei Illarionov
President, Institute of Economic Analysis

Andrei IllarionovAndrei Illarionov completed his undergraduate degree in 1983 and his Ph.D. in 1987, both at St. Petersburg University. He has also studied in Austria, the United Kingdom and the United States. In 1993, he was appointed the chief economic advisor to Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, resigning the next year in protest of government policies. In 2000, he was appointed the chief economic advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which capacity he was the driving force behind the adoption of a 13 percent flat income tax. In December 2005, he again resigned in protest of government policies. Dr. Illarionov has written three books and over 300 articles. He is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society, the Economic Freedom Network and the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on October 3, 2006, at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar at the Drake Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.

Let me conclude these remarks with words spoken by Winston Churchill about another great war for freedom:

I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.

That war for freedom was won. We may yet win, indeed we must win, this current war. But to win, we must work together.