The decisions of 17 August 1998 constitute a clear break in the history of the Russian transition. On the one hand, the abandonment of the "corridor" policy, which had provided the framework for change over the last years, has ended the relative price stability obtained three years ago. On the other hand, the partial default on State debt, and the unilateral moratorium on the foreign commitments of the banking sector indicate that these two agents have become insolvent. At the same time, the various strategies of resistance to competition and financial discipline, which a majority of enterprises have adopted, have indeed been validated by the financial crisis: logically the latter has affected most those agents who are the best integrated into the cash economy and monetary transactions. Consequently, these events have also accentuated a profound characteristic of the Russian economy, which has been visible for a number of years: the conjunction of increasingly weak discipline at the microeconomic level, coupled with an ever-narrower capacity for action at the macroeconomic level with respect to reforms of the economic structure.
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