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Yuri Maltsev, RIP

I am sorry to have to report that Yuri Maltsev has passed away. He was a professor of economics at Carthage College in Wisconsin. He held various government and research positions in Moscow, Russia. Before defecting to the United States in 1989, he was a member of a senior economics team that worked on President Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms package of perestroika. Before settling in the Midwest, he was a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, DC. a US federal research agency.

His work involved briefing members of Congress and senior officials of the executive branch on issues of national security and foreign economic and military assessment. He also testified before the US Congress and appeared on CNN, PBS NewsHour, C-SPAN, CBC, and other American, Canadian, Spanish, South African, and Finnish television and radio programs. He wrote and coauthored fifteen books and over a hundred articles. He was a recipient of the Luminary Award of the Free Market Foundation and was a Senior Fellow of the Mises Institute.

I first met Yuri at a Mises conference in the early 1990s and was immediately struck by his warmth and good humor. In his frequent talks at Mises events, he offered an inside look at the failures of socialist planning, vividly making Ludwig von Mises’s calculation argument before his audiences, and for this he was much appreciated by Murray Rothbard. Maltsev lectured for many years at Mises University, where he was very popular with students and formed lasting friendships with a number of them.

Yuri delighted in life and always had funny stories to tell about the many adventures in his life and about the people he had known, such as the Russian economist Yegor Gaidar, whom he called the world’s fattest economist. He once pulled from his coat about six or seven passports he used, many of which had different names. But beneath his humor was an abiding devotion to the free market and individual liberty.

In recent years, he faced some serious health problems, but he always managed to surmount them, and his friends thought he was indestructible. I will miss him.

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