) is a Swedish economist
and expert on economic transition
from centrally planned to market economies
. Åslund served as an economic adviser to the governments of Russia and Ukraine and from 2003
was director of the Russian and Eurasian Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
. Åslund was a firm believer and key advisor in the controversial "shock therapy
" measures that were applied to the Russian economy, although Åslund has argued at times that the Russian government stayed away from practical implementation.
He has been a senior fellow at the Washington-based Peterson Institute since 2006.
Åslund in Sweden
Åslund's political position inclines toward market liberalism and decreased taxation and reduction of social welfare programs and systems, and is therefore regarded as a somewhat controversial economist in Sweden. His main claims regarding the Swedish welfare system are that it in itself generates bureaucracy that causes less redistribution of resources to the citizens most in need of resources, and that the bureaucracy creates an economical crisis by requiring an increased amount of resources in itself. Åslund has suggested that Sweden needs a Russian-style shock therapy
Åslund is known for his often Sensationalistic
statements and forecasts on Russian politics. He predicted that Dmitry Medvedev
, if elected president, will be overthrown by military coup d'etat
In his Moscow Times article "Unmasking President Putin's Grandiose Myth" he alleged the enormous wealth of Vladimir Putin:
- "Everybody around Putin is completely corrupt, but many think that the president himself is honest. In February 2004, presidential candidate Ivan Rybkin named three men as Putin's bagmen, including Gennady Timchenko, the co-founder of the Gunvor oil-trading company. After Rybkin made this statement, he vanished from the political stage. In September, the Polish magazine Wprost wrote that Timchenko, a former KGB officer and member of Putin's dacha cooperative in St. Petersburg, has a net worth of $20 billion. Officially, Timchenko sells the oil of four Russian oil companies, but how are the prices determined to generate such profits?
- In a sensational interview in Germany's Die Welt on Nov. 12, Stanislav Belkovsky, the well-connected insider who initiated the Kremlin campaign against Yukos in 2003, made specific claims about Putin's wealth. He alleged that Putin owned 37 percent of Surgutneftegaz (worth $18 billion), 4.5 percent of Gazprom ($13 billion) and half of Timchenko's company, Gunvor (possibly $10 billion). If this information is true, Putin's total personal fortune would amount to no less than $41 billion, placing him among the 10 richest in the world."
- Russia's Capitalist Revolution: Why Market Reform Succeeded and Democracy Failed, 2007, ISBN 978-0-88132-409-9, see PDF
- How Russia Became a Market Economy, 1995, ISBN 978-0815704256
- Changing the Economic System in Russia, 1993, ISBN 1855671298, with Richard Layard