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Anatoly Vishnevsky Wins Gaidar Prize

Director of the Institute of Demography, HSE, Tenured Professor Anatoly Vishnevsky was singled out for his outstanding contribution to Russian economic thought. The award ceremony was held in Moscow on 12th November.

Since 2011 the Yegor Gaidar Foundation has awarded prizes in four categories, for developing academic research in economics and history, civil rights and international cooperation. Over the years, HSE’s Academic Supervisor Evgeny Yasin, Director the Centre for Labour Market StudiesVladimir Gimpelson and his deputy Rostislav Kapeliushnikov have all been among the winners.

‘While this prize ‘for outstanding contributions in economics’ is awarded in recognition of academic research achievements, we have always tried to take into account people’s efforts to bring knowledge to others,’ explained Sergei Dubinin, chairman of the Supervisory Board of BTV Bank and member of the judging panel for the prize. ‘When we award prizes we have to bear in mind the public resonance of the work our winners do as well as their academic achievements - they work specifically for the public, to create a civil society’.  

Professor Vishnevsky’s work has been determined in many ways by Russian demography. He began his career in urban planning but moved over to demography which he described as ‘considered a more serious science’ in the 1970s. For many years he worked in the Central Statistical Administration, the TsSU of the USSR and then in Institutes at the Academy of Sciences. In 2007 he became head of the Institute of Demography at HSE, now recognised as a leading East European research and teaching centre in the field. 

Anatoly Vishnevsky has published more than 400 academic works, including about 40 books he has authored or coauthored, many of which have become classics in demography. His book on Russian social history, Serp i rouble. Konservativnaya modernizatsia v SSSR (The Scythe and the Rouble. Conservative Modernisation in the USSR), has been published in two editions in Russia and in France, Germany and the USA as well.

‘Maybe I am a bit professionally skewed and I exaggerate the importance of demography,’ Professor Vishnevsky said in an interview with the Gaidar Foundation after the ceremony, ‘but I want to warn people of the dangers of underestimating the importance of demographic processes and of the excessive optimism of demographic skygazers. I’d say, in the words of one of Gorky’s characters, ‘Scepticism teaches us while optimism only brings up fools’.’

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