The idea of a deal between Mr Gorbachev and the West
has been given its most precise shape in the guise
of the "Grand Bargain" that Grigory Yavlinsky
has been hawking around the West the past few weeks,
writes Michael Maclay.
Mr Yavlinsky, a former deputy prime minister of Russia,
has been working with American academics on a blueprint
for the Soviet economy that would draw heavily on
He has to contend with the Pavlov plan, the Soviet
Prime Minister's proposal for immediate stabilisation.
This offers widespread privatisation, but is very
cagey about the role of foreign capital. In contrast,
Mr Yavlinsky would look to the West to provide upwards
of $20 billion in the first phase of his plan (some
estimates reach $150 billion), as the Soviet Union
created the legal and financial framework for a market
Treaties would simultaneously be negotiated between
the Soviet republics, and a new constitution embodying
multi-party elections would be adopted.
The economy would be stabilised, the price mechanism
made to work and privatisation introduced (though
more cautiously than under the Pavlov plan). Later
in the Nineties the economy would be restructured
and foreign aid flows reduced.
Those who support the Grand Bargain believe that
Mr Gorbachev has learnt that he will have to be much
bolder than before. They also think that the West
will recognise they are not buying a pig in a poke
if Mr Gorbachev recognises explicitly that he will
only receive the funds as and when he delivers on
Mr Yavlinsky and his academic minder, Dr Graham Allison
from Harvard, were not above a little intellectual
blackmail in London last week, suggesting that it
could surely not be in the Western interest to have
an impoverished superpower disintegrating violently
with 30,000 nuclear weapons around its territory.
But generally, Mr Yavlinsky made a warm impression,
a wry cherubic smile playing on his lips as he jousted
with some of his more sceptical inquisitors.
When asked if there was any point in giving money
to a Soviet Union on the point of disintegration into
national republics, he responded bluntly: "Not
helping would make it worse, much much worse. Then
you will have eight Soviet Unions, or 80, the same
problem many times over. Frankly, one Soviet Union
has been enough."