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This article argues that the international financial markets' massive involvement in Russia had at best a limited basis in developments in the real economy, while financial inflows from the West both enabled and encouraged Russia to avoid the restructuring which lies behind the economic recovery elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe. The best hope for a positive future for Russia is to allow many Russian banks and firms to go bankrupt and to change the nature of foreign financing. Liberal reforms could then be pursued with a clean slate. However, the author sees little likelihood of either of these happening.