Volsky, Arkady Ivanovich

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(b. 1932), political leader and industrial lobbyist in the 1990s.

Arkady Ivanovich Volsky began his career in the military-industrial sector as deputy chief of the Department of Machines from 1978 to 1984. He became active in politics by serving on several high-profile committees dealing with industry and gained national recognition as Mikhail Gorbachev's special representative in Nagorno-Karabakh during the crises there from 1988 to 1990. Volsky is best known for founding the Union of Science and Industry in 1990, which he renamed the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs after the failed 1991 coup. He used this position to establish the perception that he spoke for the interests of managers and business entrepreneurs during the crucial era of privatization and transition to capitalism. In mid-June 1992 he was a central figure in the formation of the Civic Union, a broad alliance of political parties and parliamentary factions that played an important role in forcing alterations to the program of rapid privatization and economic reform presented by Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar. Volsky was widely seen as one of the key forces behind the June 1993 replacement of Gaidar with Viktor Chernomyrdin and others who favored a slower transition with a greater role for incumbent managers. Although Volsky continued to head the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, its influence, and his, peaked in 1993 and rapidly declined thereafter. By the late 1990s privatization had transformed the economic and political landscape, bringing power and influence to a small and shifting group of wealthy, well-connected oligarchs, deeply undermining his claim to speak for the business class.

See also: civic union; privatization


Lohr, Eric. (1993). "Arkadii Volsky's Political Base." Europe-Asia Studies 45:811829.

Eric Lohr