Learning Some Big Lessons From Little Estonia
Arvamus 22 Mar 2011  EWR
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Anders Aslund for The Moscow Times, 22 March 2011
Of all the post-Communist countries, none has been more successful in its reforms than Estonia. Today, it is difficult to imagine that only 20 years ago, Estonia and Russia were republics in the same state. A comparison between the two shows what really matters for social and economic development.

The least remarkable difference lies in gross domestic product. Estonia’s GDP per capita is about 20 percent higher than Russia’s at current exchange rates. This difference was about the same when both states belonged to the Soviet Union. In these terms, both have been successful. Estonia’s strong growth performance shows how limited Russia’s advantage is from its vast oil revenues, even when the oil price is close to an all-time high. The predicted growth rates for the next few years are similar at about 4 percent a year, though Estonia is more likely to outperform than Russia.

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