Open Letter to Boris Yeltsin
Abstract: This page contains an open letter to Boris Yeltsin.
Editing by Quintessence has been largely cosmetic - the text remains a
reflection of the original letter written by Michael Darby, which was
accompanied by the following note:
I have sent this letter to two English-language newspapers in Russia.
Please feel free to use all or part of this letter as you wish.
If you agree with the letter, please send to everyone you know, anywhere
in the world, who might be interested, especially in the media.
If you have any contacts in Russia, please send to them in the hope that
they might translate the document into Russian and pass to media and
Let us not delay, because there is a real danger that Russia might turn
in the direction of dirigism, which could set back the cause of liberty
by a decade.
Freemarketeers of Australia
PO Box 6105, Woodridge East, Queensland, Australia
Phone: +61 414 666 226. Fax: +61 2 9922 5848
28 August 1998
President Boris Yeltsin
President of the Russian Federation
Dear Mr. President,
From all around the world you will be receiving advice. Most of that
advice will attempt to persuade you to impose some or other control or
restriction upon the Russian people. All such advice is wrong, dangerous
to Russia, and potentially fatal to your Presidency.
Based on the lessons of history, particularly the economic boom which
followed the postwar decontrol of the economy of (Western) Germany, I
urge you to remain in office and to trust the market place.
I respectfully tender the following six-point plan to end the crisis
and consolidate your presidency.
With all good wishes for the future of your nation,
Freemarketeers of Australia
SIX POINT PLAN FOR CONSIDERATION BY PRESIDENT BORIS YELTSIN
- Accept and announce that the recent decline in the exchange value
of the ruble does have advantages for the Russian Federation, especially
in the export of minerals, the improvement in domestic competitiveness
of local manufacturers, and in appeal to tourists.
- Announce that currency exchanges will re-open on Monday 31 August,
and that currency and stock exchanges will never again be closed by the Government.
This measure will remove the element of fear.
Announce that you will be in person at the door of the currency
Exchange when it opens to exchange all your personal stock of dollars
for rubles at the market rate.
Your loyal Ministers will insist on following your example.
- Announce that printing of rubles has ceased, and that future
printing of currency will be limited to replacement of old and destroyed
notes. This measure will immediately halt the decline in the value of
the ruble, stimulate capital inflow, and prompt a steady recovery of the
3. Customs, Border control
- Announce a date of auction to the highest bidder of all Russia's
space research assets.
- Announce that all other State-owned commercial assets will be
swiftly denationalised, by distribution of shares in each asset among
the citizens of the Russian Federation. Where an asset is wholly
contained within a State, distribution of shares could be equally
distributed among each citizen within that State. This measure will
restore the confidence of the people in the future of Russia, and in
your Presidency. Moreover, this measure will take off the pressure for
massive increases in social welfare. Commercial assets for
denationalisation include but are not limited to: telephone and cellular
phones systems, factories; schools; universities; mines; dams;
broadcasting stations; nuclear reactors and other power stations;
electricity reticulation; all buildings not directly related to the
functions of government; airlines and airports; railways, tramways,
buses and trolley-buses; dams; oil and gas wells, refineries, storage
and pipelines; water and sewerage; sporting facilities; ports and docks;
banks; merchant shipping; forests; agricultural assets not already in
private hands. Shares in these various assets will become defacto
subsidiary currencies, which will supplement but not threaten the rouble.
Distribution of share capital in State-owned industries is subject to
the principle that employees to whom unpaid wages are owed have a prior
claim upon the share capital of their employer corporation.
4. Foreign Affairs
- Replace all visa requirements for all visitors with a straight visa
fee of US$100 per month, payable on arrival, and extendable. This
measure will bring an immediate spectacular increase in the availability
of foreign currency; from tourists, from investors, and from commercial
buyers of Russian Federation products. Present visa requirements are a
terrible impediment to the economy. With the abolition of visa
requirements, embassies and consulates around the world may be closed or
downgraded. In many countries the interests of the Russian Federation
may be well-served by honorary chargés-d'affaires. The reduction in the
foreign profile of the Russian Federation will permit the sale of many
buildings and the saving of very large amounts of foreign currency.
- Abolish all import duties. The devaluation of the ruble removes any
need for protection of Russian industry. Persistence with import duties
increases the cost of many inputs of industry, and impairs the
purchasing power of Russians.
- Accept a large fee from Japan for withdrawing from the Kuril Islands.
- Accept a large fee from the USA for demilitarising Kaliningrad.
- Accept a large fee from Finland and its allies for demilitarising
- Abolish permanently all taxation on income derived from savings.
- 0 -
- Relax, and trust the ingenuity of the Russian people and the
subtlety of the market place to overcome all problems and build the
economic strength of the Russian Federation.