Friday Finds: From Yeltsin to Hoover

Friday, February 8, 2013
This 18-rubis pocket watch features the coat of arms of the Russian Soviet Feder

Issued as a limited edition in 1990, this pocket watch, ironically stamped with “Made in USA” on its face, is a souvenir of a market reform program in Russia called “500 Days.” The program was implemented by the parliament of the Russian Federation, then under the chairmanship of Boris Yeltsin. 

In January 1991, leading politicians in Russia contacted Michael S. Bernstam, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and asked him to assemble a group of American economists to serve as advisors on the project.  In March 1991, Bernstam and other Hoover Institution fellows flew to Moscow to meet with Yeltsin. As a token of appreciation, Yeltsin’s office presented Bernstam with this commemorative pocket watch. It is now a part of the Mikhail S. Bernstam papers housed in the Hoover Institution Archives.