CEE architects of transition: Viktor Gerashchenko
Viktor Gerashchenko served as chairman of the Gosbank from 1989 to December 1991 and head of the central bank of Russia from 1992 to 1994 and 1998 to 2002. He was chairman of International Bank of Moscow from 1996 to 1998 and Russia’s IMF representative 1998 to 2000. He was elected to the State Duma in 2003.
To many western economists, Viktor Gerashchenko was a conservative who held Russia back during its transition to a market economy.
As the last chairman of Gosbank, the central bank of the Soviet Union, and the second head of its Russian replacement, he was blamed for failing to subscribe to western monetary policy orthodoxy and stoking hyper-inflation. US economist Jeffrey Sachs, who himself came in for criticism for his role in reforming Russia after the end of the Soviet Union, famously referred to him as “the world’s worst central banker”.
Bankers who worked with him during his time at International Moscow Bank in the mid 1990s, however, have great respect for their former boss. He is also fondly remembered by ordinary Russians, to whom he endeared himself during several forays into politics through his dry wit and trenchant criticism of the Kremlin.