As with all concrete and complex case stories, the economic challenges facing Russia and Iraq are comparable only to a limited extent. The two countries’ respective economic legacies – Soviet-style central planning and oil-based authoritarianism reinforced by a twelve-year international embargo – are too speciﬁc to allow general comparison. However, there are enough common features to justify some analysis. Two stand out:
Both countries set out on the reform road after absolute collapse of the Soviet and Saddam Hussein regimes. Although the causes differed – implosion in the Russian case as opposed to the invasion of Iraq – there were two similarities in relation to economic reform. In both cases, it was collapse that made reform possible while also making it more hazardous and painful.