The way to do it, they said, was to sell state assets to them because they knew how to create wealth under the countries’ new capitalist system. This wealth would spread across the country and trickle down, raising the standard of living of all citizens, they said.
Many of the leaders took the bait, selling the assets for a fraction of their worth – and the oligarchs were born.
They are still a major force in the former Soviet Union, and it is the worse for it. It is high time that ex-Soviet countries replace oligarchs with captains of industry who are top managers and can create wealth for the entire country, not just themselves.