Week in review: Meet Yuri Maltsev

Andy Matthews

Every week, NPRI President Andy Matthews writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.

When you’re the president of a free-market think tank, trying to defend the principles of limited government and individual liberty in the face of a historical tide that seems always to be going against you, it’s easy to feel like you’ve taken on a heavy lift.

You might even permit yourself an occasional feeling of self-satisfaction over your willingness to embrace such a great challenge, and to devote your time and energy to so noble a cause. This is tough work, you might think to yourself. But it’s important work, and by God, somebody’s got to do it. And I guess it’s up to people like me to answer that call.

And then you learn about someone like Yuri Maltsev.

Who is Yuri Maltsev? Well, Dr. Maltsev is a lot of things, including a college professor of economics, an author of five books and countless articles, and a frequent commentator on some of the nation’s leading television news stations.

He was also a member of a senior economics team that worked for Mikhail Gorbachev in the Soviet Union, putting together Gorbachev’s package of political and economic reforms known as perestroika

That term — perestroika — is a Russian word that literally means “restructuring” or “reconstructing,” and it reflects the magnitude of the shift that was occurring in the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Unlike today’s American people, who, despite our country’s mounting problems, still stand on a centuries-old tradition of classical liberalism and democratic ideals, Russians of that era were trying to adopt a system that was entirely foreign to so many of them.

So yeah, maybe those of us in America’s free-market movement don’t have it quite so rough. We’re trying to preserve a way of life. Dr. Maltsev and his team were trying to create a completely new one.

I could tell you a lot more about Yuri Maltsev and his story, but I’ve got a much better idea — I’m going to let him tell you himself.

On June 17, Dr. Maltsev will be the keynote speaker at NPRI’s annual Spring Celebration, which will once again be held at the Eldorado Hotel & Casino in Reno. Tickets and tables for the event are now on sale, and you can reserve your spot by clicking here.

A number of individuals affiliated with NPRI have already seen Dr. Maltsev speak in person, and those who join us on June 17 are in for a real treat. His presentation is sure to feature a wonderful blend of insight, analysis and humor. And it will come from a truly unique perspective.

Dr. Maltsev defected to the United States in 1989 and, having lived under communist rule, he brought with him a profound understanding of the way intrusive government stifles economic growth and innovation. (There’s something else he brought with him — something quite hilarious, actually — but for that anecdote you’ll have to come to our dinner.)

Having continued his work in the economic realm here in the U.S., he has developed an even deeper appreciation for the role that free markets and open government (glasnost, to again use the Russian term) play in creating and sustaining a just and prosperous society.

His keenest observation during his time in the U.S. will serve as the central theme of his speech at NPRI’s dinner. That observation is the extent to which Americans, especially in recent years, have allowed our nation’s freedom-based foundation to erode, and permitted a more statist, collectivist system to develop in its place.

So dire has the situation become, in Dr. Maltsev’s view, that he believes it may well be time for a perestroika of our own here in the United States. And on June 17, he will not only discuss why he believes that to be the case, but he’ll also talk about how those of us who cherish liberty can become even stronger champions for the principles that have long served as the backbone of America’s greatness.

The challenges we face today may not be quite as steep as what Yuri Maltsev and his colleagues undertook in the Soviet Union more than two decades ago. But let’s not understate it, either — we certainly have our work cut out for us, and reclaiming America’s proud heritage of freedom is going to take all the effort we can muster.

I hope you’ll join us on June 17 as we recommit ourselves to that effort, and take in some words of wisdom to help us along the way.

Thanks for reading, and take good care.

Andy Matthews
NPRI President

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