Though he only served as finance minister of post-Soviet Russia for six months, Yegor T. Gaidar played a pivotal role in the country's economic distress after the fall of communism. Gaidar oversaw the financial transition from Communism to capitalism as the first finance minister of Russia from November 1991 until February 1992. During his time in office, rather than taking a gradual approach, Gaidar swiftly liberalized prices and privatized state industry. Though he has said he never regretted that decision, blame fell on Gaidar for the decade of poverty that followed. However, he did lay the foundation for the economic boom in Russia during the past decade. Russian news agencies reported Gaidar died Wednesday at the age of 53, allegedly due to a blood clot.