boris yeltsin’s Cabinet, 1991
CRISIS MANAGER: CASEY WETHERBEE
It is 1991, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has officially dissolved. After almost 70 years of communist dictatorship, the newly elected Boris Yeltsin and his cabinet will have to work on establishing the nascent Russian Federation’s place in the post-Cold War world order. Cabinet ministers in the committee will tackle the most important questions of constructing a new national identity. Does Russia move towards economic liberalization or continue with a tightly managed command economy? What kind of relationships will Yeltsin’s administration have with the former Soviet states? With the U.S.? There will be no shortage of obstacles for the cabinet to face, and each cabinet minister will have to rise to the challenge.
Topic A: Economic transition
During his campaign in 1991, Boris Yeltsin found the most support among a base of individuals who had been most disadvantaged under the Soviet system, and who thus desired radical reform. Gorbachev’s perestroika reforms had moved towards a “mixed socialist economy,” but there was significant pressure to move towards privatization and liberalization. Cabinet ministers will have to balance the interests of the Russian populace with the best interests of the country in deciding how to address the economic situation and combat potential crises.
topic b: foreign policy
As Russia was the most powerful republic in the USSR by far, the country has an important role among the post-Soviet ecosystem, and thus has to balance individual sovereignty with preserving its interests in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Perhaps more importantly, however, Yeltsin’s cabinet will have to consider Russia’s place in a newly unipolar world in which the USSR “lost” the Cold War and the Western order dominates the international system.