On this day: Voucher privatization in Russia was officially completed | Russia Beyond The Headlines
"The vouchers, each corresponding to a share of the national wealth, were distributed equally among the population, including minors. Almost 98 percent of Russians participated in the program, but most people were not well informed or had the proper finances. So, the governmental inner circles managed to grab most of the best assets. From 1992 to 1994, ownership of 15,000 firms was transferred from state control via the voucher program. This period is described as “the most cataclysmic peacetime economic collapse of an industrial country in history.”
Voucher privatization destroyed the Russian industrial economy and created the class of criminal billionaires who are now called the "oligarchs." Although almost the entire population was allowed to participate, the future oligarchs quickly found ways to buy up the vouchers and take over most of the nation's major businesses. Russia's economy has never recovered and never will. The nation went from being one of the world's major industrial countries to a third-world extraction economy that does almost nothing except selling oil and gas.