The author uses world history, the Soviet experience, and ecomic analysis to demonstrate why swimming against the tide of history would be a huge mistake. The USSR sowed the seeds of its own ecomic destruction, and Gaidar worries that Russia is repeating some of those mistakes in its stalgia for empire. Once again, for example, the nation is putting too many eggs into one basket, leaving the nation vulnerable to fluctuations in the energy market.
Yegor Gaidar, Boris Yeltsin's acting prime minister in 1992, was the architect of shock therapy reforms designed to hasten Russia's transition to capitalism in the 1990s. He is currently the director of the Institute for the Economy in Transition, a Moscow-based research organization.On November 24, 2006,Yegor Gaidar fell seriously ill while presenting the Russian edition of this book in Ireland. Much speculation at the time, including Gaidar's own article in the Financial Times, attributed the illness to poisoning.