MR Grigory Yavlinsky, the economist who is trying to
broker a western-assisted reform package for the Soviet
Union, has warned that the west would have as much to
lose from a failure of Soviet reform attempts as the Soviet
Mr Yavlinsky, who is currently in Boston to draft an
outline reform plan with Harvard economists, said in an
article published yesterday that the west could not isolate
itself from the consequences of chaos in the Soviet Union.
He said there was no way of predicting the geopolitical
implications of the economic collapse of a country bristling
with nuclear weapons and atomic power plants. The continued
free-fall of the Soviet economy could also spell ruin
for hundreds of western companies which depended on business
But in the article in lzvestia, the government newspaper,
he dismissed Soviet fears of abdicating the country's
independence by accepting western assistance on conditions
agreed with the west.
"Certainly we will have to review our traditional
idea of independence based on isolation from the world.
We long prided ourselves on our exceptional nature, without
even beginning to understand that the gap between the
development of the Soviet Union and that of other countries
was not narrowing but widening," he said.
He pointed out that the country had already become so
dependent on western imports that its present lack of
hard currency threatened to paralyse several sectors of
"Today there are all the premises for the appearance
of conditions favourable to a qualitatively new relationship
between the Soviet Union and the leading countries of
the world," he wrote.
He cited President Mikhail Gorbachev's landmark agreement
last month with the leaders of nine Soviet republics as
one example of an emerging political consensus within
the Soviet Union.
But he warned that unless the Soviet Union undertook
rapid reforms to produce concrete economic results, the
fragile political harmony could be split asunder by new
social and ethnic conflicts.
Mr Yavlinsky said he hoped to complete an outline reform
plan by June 15. If agreed by both the Soviet and US presidents,
the plan would then be sent to all Group of Seven governments
a month before their July 15 summit in London.