Question 1

After 70 years of being subjected to state propaganda that capitalism and market are “bad,” most Russians did not understand the value or importance of vouchers.


Question 2

Most Soviet groceries were sold unwrapped; for liquid goods (for example milk) customers had to bring their own containers.



Question 3

The first ad to appear on Russian television advertised…


Question 4

In 2003 Mikhail Khodorkovsky bought Moscow News, a venerable liberal weekly that was one of the first Soviet newspapers to experiment with the freedom of glasnost (the paper disappeared from print and online sources in 2014, apparently by “order from the authorities”). What Soviet leader founded this newspaper?


Question 5

Similar to the U.S., all of today’s Russian oil companies are privately owned.



Question 6

In 1995, facing severe fiscal difficulties, Yeltsin’s government adopted a program under which the state would borrow money from the oligarchs in exchange for select state assets (including state-owned shares in oil companies). The catch was: if the state couldn’t pay the load on time, the oligarchs would be entitled to buy the properties outright. This deal that many economists call “rigged” became known as…


Question 7

Up until 1991, prices for consumer goods in Russia and the Soviet Union were “fixed” and determined by the state.



Question 8

Most Russians generally want to disassociate themselves from the Soviet times, therefore no advertisement campaigns today draw on the Soviet experience.



Question 9

Cyril Tuschi’s film Khodorkovsky opens up with the director asking young Russians whether they know who Khodorkovsky is. What is the young people’s response?


Question 10

During the Soviet era, citizens of the USSR did not need to file an income tax form (or send in individual tax payments): the tax was automatically deducted from each salary before it was given to the workers.


Question 11

Khodorkovsky founded one of the first private banks in Russia.



Question 12

When did it become legal to establish private commercial banks in Russia?


Question 14

CNN news clip that opens up the Khodorkovsky documentary states that Khodorkovsky was a “patron to Russian political parties.” Which of the parties listed below did Khodorkovsky support (financially)?


Question 15

What was the name of the oil company that Mikhail Khodorkovsky acquired from the Russian government?


Question 16

Khodorkovsky was arrested by the Boris Yeltsin administration on the accusation of tax evasion.



Question 17

Chechnya was one of the 15 Soviet republics.


Question 18

As a student majoring in chemistry and specializing in explosives, Khodorkovsky was very active in Komsomol (Communist Youth League in the Soviet Union).



Question 19

Judging by the documentary Khodorkovsky, this former oligarch was not allowed to communicate with the world outside his jail cell.


Question 20

During the Soviet era the Soviet government “owned” large oil companies. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, in 1995 – 96 the government sold these key oil companies to…


members of Boris Yeltsin’s family


Western companies (e.g. Amoco or BP)


large corporations in Japan and China


politically-favored Russian businessmen

Question 21

Did a Muscovite traveling to Kiev (Ukraine) or Minsk (Belarus) need a visa before the collapse of the USSR?


Question 22

Conduct mini-Internet research and determine where Mikhail Khodorkovsky is now. Which of the following statements below is correct?


Khodorkovsky currently resides in Switzerland and remains Vladimir   Putin’s active critic


Khodorkovsky is currently in prison in Siberia, completing his term. He   is to be released in 2 years.


Khodorkovsky tragically died in the Siberian prison.


Khodorkovsky moved to the United States where he became a professor of   Economics at Columbia University. He remains a vociferous critic of the   Kremlin.

Question 23

Which of the following oligarchs founded Open Russia, a charitable group modeled after George Soros’s Open Society Institute, with projects ranging from educational initiatives for young people to the support of human rights NGOs?


Mikhail Khodorkovsky


Boris Berezovsky


Mikhail Gorbachev


Boris Yeltsin

Question 24

As Yeltsin began to transfer ownership of Soviet assets into the private hands, most of these former Soviet enterprises ended up in the hands of a small group of the so-called oligarchs. Who were these newly created billionaires? (note that more that one answer might be correct).


“Self-made” men, comparable to Bil Gates of Microsoft, Steve   Jobs of Apple, or Michael Dell of Dell Computers


Black money operators and money changers, whose activity was illegal   (i.e. underground) during the Soviet years, but became official once private   ownership was legalized.


Former government officials, who managed certain state properties on   behalf of the Soviet government and, due to corruption and flaws in Russian   laws, simply took over the enterprises they had been managing all along.

Question 25

In an effort to transition the top-down, centrally planned economy to market forces, Boris Yeltsin ultimately decided to transfer everything that the state owned (factories, stores, etc.) to private owners. To make sure that EVERY Russian had a vested interest in the success of the new market system, the state also issued every citizen of Russia a voucher (shares in formerly state-owned enterprises). What was the value of these shares that each Russian citizen received?


1,000 dollars


10,000 dollars


10,000 rubles


100,000 rubles

Question 26

You now know that Boris Yeltsin replaced the top-down command economy with free market forces after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Were free market policies ever introduced in Russia or the Soviet Union between 1917 and 1991?


0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *