We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Dr. Yuri Maltsev, a beloved champion of liberty. Please take a moment to read the memorial tribute written by our Vice President, Professor Ken Schoolland.
Yuri Maltsev told me that he would always show a documentary in his university economics classes, The Soviet Story. Why? It’s old news! Who cares! “Because today’s generation of youth know next to nothing about the horrors of communism in the 20th Century.” Yuri was so right. And ever since then I took his advice to show this powerful film every semester in my classes about the starvation suffered by 7 million Ukrainians under Josef Stalin in the winter of 1932-33. How haunting and relevant…as much today as ever.
Though at the pinnacle of the elite in the Soviet Union as a member of President Gorbachev’s team for navigating perestroika reforms, Yuri was first and foremost a champion of freedom. With brilliant and colorful drama and an unparalleled sense of humor, he loved to recount his story of defecting to the West in 1989 via Finland and Sweden.
Yuri became a senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, appeared as a commentator on many news outlets, authored or co-authored 15 books and more than a hundred articles for Mises Daily Article, The Journal of Libertarian Studies, The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, The Free Market, and others. He traveled the world, often shepherding his admiring students on journeys abroad. Yuri received the prestigious Luminary Award of the Free Market Foundation and Liberty International was fortunate to have him as a keynote speaker at the World Conference in UlaanBaatar, Mongolia in 2019.
To my mind, what troubled Yuri the most was how little the current generation of opinion leaders seemed to appreciate the measure of freedom enjoyed in the U.S. For him, there was no more certain truth than a quote often attributed to Thomas Jefferson: “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”