Policy Memos

Reforming the IMF? Lessons from Assistance to Post-Communist Countries

Policy Memo:


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The last year has seen a sharp turn in public opinion against Western assistance to former Communist countries, driven in large part by lurid scandals about the misuse of funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in Russia and Ukraine. In the wake of embarrassing and expensive financial crashes in Moscow and Kiev in 1998--which in turn followed the even more embarrassing and expensive crashes in East Asia--many voices have suggested that the Washington consensus about which policies to promote in these countries was mistaken. The drama of a US presidential election makes the Fund and the Bank particularly vulnerable to criticism. International financial institutions are on the defensive, and even Stanley Fischer (Deputy Managing Director of the IMF) has publicly suggested that the Fund may have overextended itself by becoming involved in detailed, long-term structural adjustment programs. [...]

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About the author

Professor, Director of the Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies, Director of the Peter D. Watson Center for Conflict and Cooperation, Department of Political Science
University of Rochester