Post-Soviet Affairs

Published by Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Online ISSN: 1060-586X
Publications
Article
We analyse the determinants of high growth expectations entrepreneurial entry (HGE) using individual data drawn on working age population, based on the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) surveys for the 1998-2004 period. Individual level explanatory variables are combined with country-level factors. Our results suggest that availability of venture capital and intellectual proper rights protection are strong predictors of HGE. In addition, we also find that innovative start-ups are associated with highest growth expectations in countries with extensive supply of venture capital and strongest intellectual property rights. Once we introduce venture capital, we detect no significant effects of other elements of financial systems on high-powered entry.
 
Article
Two American specialists on Soviet and East European economies examine the relationship between inter-enterprise payments for goods and services and economic reform in Russia. Based on extensive interviews with Russian governmental officials and enterprise directors, as well as unpublished documents, the authors trace and discuss the unsuccessful policies of the government and Central Bank of Russia to eliminate arrears during 1992-93. They also explain why financial underdevelopment poses a serious obstacle to economic reform, and why an effort to sharply tighten credit in 1993-94 could lead to cascading enterprise failures. The analysis includes references to the change after October 1993. Journal of Economic Literature Classification Numbers: P21, O17, G20.
 
Article
Is Russia likely to develop a stable or efficient federal system that matches the definitions of federalism commonly offered in the literature or the descriptions that characterize intergovernmental relations in Germany, Switzerland, or the United States? Unfortunately, our answer to this question is NO. Unlike other discussions of federal relations in Russia - discussions that focus on current economic circumstances, federal treaties, and relations between political elites—we reach this conclusion by taking the view that the extent to which a federal state integrates the functions of different levels of government is determined largely by its political party system and the incentives for cooperation engendered by electoral politics at all levels. Assuming that Russia will continue on the path of democratic reform, we consider the types of parties that are likely to emerge in the long run as a function of Russia's current constitutional structure, current electoral arrangements for choosing a president and a national legislature, and that structure political competition at the regional and local levels. We argue that parties in Russia will be more like those found in, say, Canada than in the United States and Germany. Russia's current electoral arrangements, in combination with the political institutional designs of its regional governments—designs that mirror the command and control systems inherited from the Soviet past and which focus power on regional governors—will continue to encourage only the development of a party system that is not only highly fractured at the national level but one that fails to create adequate incentives for cooperation between levels of government. Even if the Russian economy recovers in the next few years or so and even if reformers maintain their position in Moscow, an adversarial relationship will continue to exist between regional and national governments, a relationship that will merely move the state from one crises to the next. We conclude with several suggestions for political reform, including simultaneous election of Duma deputies and president, increased use of elections as a method for filling regional and local public offices, and alternative methods for forming the Federation Council. However, we remain pessimistic about the prospects for a well-functioning federal system since most if not all of these suggestions are unlikely to be pursued as political reforms.
 
Estimating the value of the "loans for shares" stakes
Article
The "loans for shares" scheme of 1995-6—in which a handful of well-connected businessmen bought stakes in major Russian companies—is widely considered a scandal that slowed subsequent Russian economic growth. Fifteen years later, I reexamine the details of the program. In light of evidence available today, I concur with the critics that the scheme’s execution appeared corrupt. However, in most other regards the conventional wisdom was wrong. The stakes involved represented a small fraction of the market; the pricing in most cases was in line with international practice; and the scheme can only explain a small part of Russia's increasing wealth inequality. The biggest beneficiaries were not the so-called "oligarchs," but Soviet era industrial managers. After the oligarchs consolidated control, their firms performed far better than comparable state enterprises and companies sold to incumbent managers, and helped fuel Russia’s rapid growth after 1999.
 
Article
I examine the way in which President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan has attempted to legitimate authoritarian rule since the transition from communism. A comparison is made between late-Soviet modes of authoritarian legitimation and those of the Karimov regime, and the success of the project at the conceptual level is examined. The article closes with a consideration of the implications of this study for evaluating Juan J. Linz's classical thesis on the relationship between authoritarianism and ideology and some general propositions on the structure of authoritarian legitimation.
 
Article
An American specialist on Russia's political economy critically analyzes the “virtual economy” model pioneered by Clifford Gaddy and Barry Ickes. Particular focus is on the model's characterization of the allegedly value-destroying sectors of the Russian economy. An analysis of Gazprom tests propositions about rationality embedded in the model. An algebraic appendix reinforces the article's conclusions with the results of a more formal methodology.
 
DIRECT, INDIRECT AND NET EFFECTS ON NOSTALGIA, REACTION AND EXPECTATION OF RESTORATION
Article
This article differentiates nostalgia about the Communist past, a widespread psycho social feeling in Russia, from reaction, a desire to see it return, and from expectations of the eventual restoration of the Communist system. Using the 2005 New Russia Barometer survey, the article explores the determinants of each of these three variables, and tests explanations based on a legacy of values inherited from the past, political and economic performance, social structure, and cognitive differences. It finds evidence that the legacy of values is the most important determinant of all three variables, taking into account both direct effects, identifiable through standard OLS techniques, and indirect effects, identifiable through a structural equation model. Thus the legacy of the Communist past persists in the political behaviour of the Russian populace, but it is a diminishing legacy because it affects attitudes to the past and present more than it affects the future.
 
Article
The standard narrative of Russia’s “authoritarian backsliding” fails to grapple with the tremendous variation in sub-national politics that has emerged over the past two decades. During the 1990s, a weakened central state, the failure to create a stable party system, and Boris Yeltsin’s initial commitment to local self-governance combined to create conditions for municipalities to develop their own distinctive practices of local politics. In the process, in many cities local political machines were established, which were then co-opted during President Putin’s recentralization policies. However, some cities came to be characterized with a surprisingly high degree of pluralism and political protest that continue to be in evidence in the “hybrid” regime associated with Putin and Medvedev. This paper offers a case study of the industrial city of Volzhskiy which, although a supporter of the Communist Party through most of the 1990s, has evolved into a highly pluralistic system with a relatively high level of political participation. Drawing upon archival research, data on protest, a close reading of the local newspaper, Volzhskaia Pravda (VP), and interviews with local politicians, this paper traces the interplay of formal electoral institutions and informal political processes in the making of Volzhskiy’s local-level transition to democracy.
 
Article
A political economist explores the question of Russia's "resource curse." He analyzes the links between resource wealth and politics, asking why resource-based economies are more likely than others to suffer from poor governance. In an investigation grounded in the political economy literature on the resource curse, several specific claims about the nature of politics and governance in resource-based economies are identified. Russia's recent experience is assessed in relation to those claims.
 
Article
On the basis of extensive on-site interviews and documentary sources, the author interprets the dynamics of the collapse of the Soviet Union by analyzing the cascade of sovereignty declarations issued by republics of the USSR as well as by autonomous republics and other subunits of the Russian republic, in 1990-1991. Interrelationships among the declarations, and other putative causes of their content and timing, are explored. A case study of Tatarstan is provided. The study also analyzes the impact of the process on subsequent Russian approaches to federalism.
 
Article
Georgia's association with the EU has become closer in recent years through foreign policy instruments including the European Neighborhood Policy, the Eastern Partnership, and the Black Sea Synergy. Against the background of this increasing formal cooperation, public opinion toward the European Union in Georgia is examined on the basis of a nationally representative survey conducted in 2009. Regression modeling is used to relate attitudes toward the EU to explanatory factors including support for continued European integration, expectations of benefits from Europeanization, political beliefs, perceptions of national security and territorial integrity, and attitudes toward Russia
 
Article
The purpose of this article is to explore the development of the national, class, and political identities evolving in Russia, Ukraine, and Lithuania, and to determine whether these identities are supportive of, or a deterrent to, the conslidation of democracy and a market economy. We first discuss the concept and operationalization of 'social identity'. Then we investigate empirically, and compare, the repertoire and structure of identities expressed by citizens of these societies in 1992, 1995, and 1997. Several explanations for the shifts in identity that occurred between 1992 and 1997 are proposed and tested. Thereafter, we elaborate the substantive meaning associated with various identities and explore the political impact of national and class identity. A concluding section draws out the implications of the findings of the prospective consolidation of democracy in post-Soviet societies.
 
Article
Post-Soviet Russia is generally thought to be a hotbed of legal nihilism. Yet no one has ever studied the level of legal nihilism systematically. In this article, the author uses data from two rounds of the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey of the Higher Economic School (RLMS-HSE) to explore the level of legal nihilism, and the identity of Russian legal nihilists. As to the identity of nihilists, three hypotheses are explored. First, the author probes the link between well-being and nihilism. Second, the author looks whether those who hold various political beliefs are more or less likely to be nihilists. Finally, she looks at the role of age. The analysis confirms some aspects of the common wisdom, but also provides some surprises. Those at the two ends of the economic spectrum emerge as more likely to hold nihilistic attitudes. The rich have been able to bend the law to their pleasure, and the poor are resentful of being unable to do so. Those who are hostile to democracy tend to be nihilists, as do those who support Putin. A bigger surprise lies in the generational hypothesis. Typically it is argued that the oldest generational cohort, namely those born before 1940, who lived through the worst excesses of the Soviet era, are the most cynical about law. Yet the data shows just the opposite. This oldest generation emerges as the least nihilistic. Those who came of age under Gorbachev and Yeltsin, many of whom were devastated by the economic turmoil of the 1990s, turn out to be the most nihilistic.
 
Article
An American specialist on the Soviet and Russian military-industrial complex examines the economic, social and political tensions within one of the most important, closed nuclear cities in Russia. Based on an intensive examination of the city's daily newspaper, not heretofore available in the West, the author explores the implications of the current situation for prospective nuclear accidents or proliferation. Journal of Economic Literature, Classification Numbers: P29, R58, O18.
 
Article
Utilizing data from five census enumerations of Latvia (including the most recent 2011 census), this study analyzes temporal and spatial trends in ethnic diversity in the country at the national and municipal levels. The measure employed, the ethnic diversity index (EDI), makes possible a more sophisticated interpretation of the dynamics of ethnic diversity than an analysis of the changing percentage shares of Latvia's various ethnic groups over time. At the national level, a trend of declining ethnic diversity prior to Latvia's incorporation into the Soviet Union was followed by a rapid increase during the Soviet period, before the onset of gradually decreasing diversity during the post-Soviet period. These national-level trends obscure a number of trends evident at the municipal level, including salient (depending on the period) ethnic diversity gradients Riga-Latvia, cities/towns-countryside, and the east-west. Latvia remains one of the most ethnically diverse countries of Europe, and the study outlines some of the implications of the recent stagnation of regional EDIs at rather high levels for the economic and political life of the country.
 
Article
Demographic change has been a key consequence of transition, but few studies trace fertility trends across countries over time. We describe fertility trends immediately before and after the fall of state socialism across 19 Central and Eastern European and Central Asian countries. We found a few common patterns that may reflect economic and political developments. The countries that experienced the most successful transitions and integration into the EU experienced marked postponement of parenthood and a moderate decline in second and third births. Little economic change in the poorest transition countries was accompanied by less dramatic changes in childbearing behavior. In western post-Soviet contexts, and somewhat in Bulgaria and Romania, women became more likely to only have one child but parenthood was not substantially postponed. This unique demographic pattern seems to reflect an unwavering commitment to parenthood but economic conditions and opportunities that did not support having more than one child. In addition, we identify countries that would provide fruitful case studies because they do not fit general patterns.
 
Article
A historian examines a specific case of ethnic cleansing in the immediate aftermath of World War II: the "repatriation" of Poles from the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic between 1944 and 1947. Questions of how "repatriation" was carried out, the motivation on the Polish and Soviet sides, the differences in outcome of this policy in Vilnius and the countryside, and why "repatriation" presents a case of ethnic cleansing are considered on the basis on archival material as well as newspapers, memoirs, and historians' accounts of this case and in the context of the literature on genocide and ethnic cleansing.
 
Article
Based on recently declassified materials, a specialist on the Soviet economy reevaluates the extent to which CIA economic intelligence on the USSR during the Truman and Eisenhower administrations accurately reflected short-term and long-term trends in Soviet resource allocation, defense capacity and economic strength. Journal of Economic Literature, Classification Numbers: P27, P24, P52.
 
Article
How has the post-2015 democratic rollback in Poland impacted its support for the democratization of Ukraine and Belarus? Conventional wisdom is that countries undergoing autocratization would abandon democracy promotion. In contrast, we provide evidence that even as democracy was undermined at home, Poland continued to provide democracy support abroad, albeit less enthusiastically. We further document that it was not the normative commitment of Polish elites to democracy but the instrumental embeddedness of democracy promotion in Polish foreign and security policies that ensured its survival. Lastly, we find that Poland’s support for democracy abroad now is closer to the new conservative values promoted at home, implemented mostly through state-run or state-controlled programs and less focused on supporting civil and political society abroad. Our paper contributes to the literature on regime promotion by analyzing and theorizing the overlooked question of how foreign policy, including democracy promotion, shifts for countries undergo autocratization.
 
Article
An American political scientist employs regional electoral, economic, and demographic data across several transition countries—Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic, and Russia—to examine the effects of economic conditions on the electoral fortunes of thirty-two incumbent political parties in ten parliamentary elections. “Primary Incumbents” and “Other Incumbents” are distinguished in order to analyze how the “Degree of Incumbency” affects the relationship between economic conditions and election results for these two different types of incumbents in post-communist countries. The article points to new questions and methods for examining multiparty elections as well as for the relationship between economic conditions and voting outcomes.
 
Article
A specialist on the Soviet and Russian financial systems analyzes the origins of Russia's foreign-debt crisis. Data are drawn from varied Soviet and Russian sources to construct time-series of Russian debt obligations during the 1980s and 1990s. The article analyzes the relationship between debt-assumption and macroeconomic performance, Russian capacity to repay debts, the correlates of Western willingness to reschedule or increase debt, the distribution of loans and credits among Western banks, companies, governments, and multilateral organizations, increases in internal debt in the 1990s, and the uses to which foreign credits and loans were put by the Russian government.
 
Article
This article suggests that incremental small business development across Russia's regions has been associated with greater “civic-ness” as defined by civil society activism, diversity, and independence of regional press and media, greater transparency in regional and municipal policy deliberations, and greater dispersion of power among governors, mayors, legislatures, and courts. A retrospective analysis of regional variation over the period 1991–2009 allows for a theoretically informed inquiry into the mutuality of property rights, entrepreneurship, norms of citizenship, and liberal democracy. While Russia has become more authoritarian at least since the mid 2000s, the variation in governance across regions remained significant, creating a promising basis for exploring the reasons for this variation. Might democratization viewed comparatively across regions be associated with the extent of liberalization of regional economies and specifically with the extent of small business development?
 
Article
This article investigates U.S. and NATO political elite images of Georgia and policy implications from 1991 to 2020. The analysis relies on the author’s 44 original interviews with U.S. and NATO political elites, including U.S. Secretaries and Assistant Secretaries of States, U.S. Generals, Secretaries-General and Deputy Secretaries of NATO, and others in power in the different periods from 1991 to 2020. The study shows that three main images of Georgia have emerged over the 30-year historical period in the eyes of U.S. and NATO political elites. In the first two decades, leadership and personal connections have increased the likelihood of certain policies together with material determinants and ideational factors. In the third decade, personal ties had disappeared, but structural incentives were acknowledged by U.S. and NATO elites which impacted their policies. Moreover, results show that the U.S. relationship with Georgia has been chiefly personalized rather than institutionalized.
 
Article
Why do some countries with presidentialist constitutions feature more political closure than others at a given time? A quantitative study of post-Soviet countries since independence finds that much of the observed variation in political closure reflects timing, or the particular point at which a country happens to be within a regime cycle, rather than structural or other factors usually cited to explain regime change. Specifically, how much time a president has had to coordinate rivalrous networks around his or her authority is at least as strong a predictor of the level of regime closure as are economic development, economic growth, resource rents, proximity to Europe, and key cultural factors, even when controlling for the level of closure in the preceding year. This pattern is not found among countries with divided-executive constitutions, indicating it is related to the constitution rather than a general phenomenon.
 
Article
An eminent British specialist on Russian politics analyzes the conflict between Boris Yel'tsin and his opponents that resulted in the bloody military showdown of October 3-4, 1993. Based upon materials gathered in Moscow during the events and on the author's personal observations and interviews, the article traces the origins and course of the wider conflict. It also interprets the implications of Yel'tsin's actions for the further development of democracy in Russia.
 
Article
Two British specialists on Russia report the results of a nationwide survey of 2,030 Russian adults, randomly chosen from each of 50 provinces of the Russian Federation. A survey instrument containing 300 questions was administered in face-to-face interviews during summer 1993, and explored attitudes toward the market, privatization, social order, minority rights, and nationalism. Testing three alternative explanations for the results of the December 1993 Russian elections, the authors present a nuanced argument that the Russian public has been drawing negative lessons about market democracy from the transition itself, as experienced since January 1992. A higher voter turnout, they find, would have augmented the strength of anti-government parties and candidates. Journal of Economic literature, Classification Numbers: H19, P29
 
Article
A leading American specialist on the Soviet Union and Russia reports on results of a massive (N = 33,869) nationwide survey of a random sample of the adult Russian population in 69 provinces and republics of the Russian Federation. The survey was administered during the three-week period preceding the elections of December 12, 1993. This article focuses on mass attitudes toward economic, political, and ethnic-national issues, exploring as well the demographic correlates of attitudes. The author concludes that the Russian population is highly receptive to moderate reform, but not to shock therapy. Journal of Economic Literature, Classification Numbers H19, P29.
 
Article
What role do formal institutions play in the consolidation of authoritarian regimes such as the Russian Federation? Oftentimes, it is assumed that autocrats, usually potent presidents, wield informal powers and control far-flung patron–client networks that undermine formal institutions and bolster their rule. After the institutional turn in authoritarianism studies, elections, parties, legislatures, or courts have taken center stage, yet presidencies and public law are still on the margins of this research paradigm. This paper proposes a method for measuring subconstitutional presidential power and its change by federal law, decrees, and Constitutional Court rulings as well as a theoretical framework for explaining when and under which conditions subconstitutional presidential power expands. It is argued that as a result of a gradual, small-scale, and slow-moving process of layering, presidential powers have been accumulated over time. This furthers the institutionalization of presidential advantage toward other federal and regional institutions, which in turn contributes to the consolidation of authoritarianism.
 
Article
Are foreign policy attitudes among Russian elites structured around broader beliefs about the nature of world politics? Are these attitudes consistently related to individual cognitive styles? I address these questions using survey data on the Russian foreign policy elite spanning most of the post-Soviet period. In my analysis, I focus on militant internationalism – a hawkish foreign policy orientation – and its relationship to the dogmatic cognitive style. The internal structure of militant internationalism among Russian elites reveals two constituent dimensions: perception of threat from the United States (anti-Americanism) and acceptance of using armed force abroad (militarism). I also demonstrate that militarism is positively related to dogmatism, whereas anti-Americanism appears to be more volatile. This analysis represents the first attempt to study elites’ views on foreign policy within the motivated cognition framework using survey data from outside of the United States.
 
Article
Recent empirical research on voting in single-member districts, based on extensive data-sets of election results, has demonstrated the general (although not universal) validity of Duverger’s law (i.e. that the average outcome under plurality rule is generally consistent with two-party competition). This article tests Duverger’s law through analysis of a data- set covering Mongolian parliamentary elections in the period of 1996– 2004. The results show consistent, but not linear, movement towards the Duvergerian equilibrium in Mongolia, with large part of the districts conforming to the Duvergerian norm of two-party competition. Duverger treated his law merely as an important tendency but insisted that social forces are the main determinants of the number of political parties. The main factor that limited Mongolian voters’ rationality, and created problems with their strategic ability to distinguish and abandon hopeless candidates, was weak institutionalization of the Mongolian party system. Finally, I prove that the emergence of bipolar party politics was not an immediate process and will continue over a series of elections, supporting the so-called “learning hypothesis.”
 
Article
Two American political scientists and a Ukrainian sociologist analyze the results of Ukraine's 1998 parliamentary elections. The purpose is to test propositions about the cognitive organization of voters' attitudes about issues and evaluations of the political parties that seek to mobilize their vote. The article then examines differences on these scores between the East and West of the country. A test is provided of the spatial model of voting that has been found to be a successful predictor of belief organization in other countries and milieux.
 
Article
A distinguished French specialist on the Soviet and Russian economies analyzes the financial, political, and institutional crises facing Russia in 1999. Discussion of the vulnerabilities of the economy prior to the crash of 1998 is followed by a suggested program for coping with the currency, banking, and public finance crises, and for building market institutions. Comparisons are drawn with the post-war experiences of France, Italy, and Japan. The article includes an extended critique of the assumptions underlying alternative interpretations and prescriptions.
 
Article
This article employs a comprehensive set of data on 226 regional legislative elections held in Russia in 1999–2011 in order to assess the impact of electoral authoritarianism upon women's representation in sub-national legislative bodies. The analysis of 50,520 cases of candidate nomination and 9553 cases of electoral success, supported by a cross-regional statistical study of the factors of women's nomination and success, empirically confirms an explanatory model that incorporates three working hypotheses derived from the mainstream literature on women's representation. According to this model, the 2002–2003 electoral reform, by introducing proportional representation into regional electoral systems, strongly facilitated women's representation. After the advent of electoral authoritarianism, proportional rules, in combination with the increased ‘party magnitude’ of the pro-government party, continued to exert expectedly positive effects; yet these effects were offset by the decreased competitiveness in majority districts. As a result, political regime transformation did not lead to a significant increase in the number of female deputies.
 
Article
Two specialists on Russian politics chronicle the formation and early development of Unity, the latest version of the “party of power” in Russian politics. Unity's unexpected success in the election of the State Duma in December 1999 helped assure Vladimir Putin's subsequent election as president and gave him a reliable base of support within the Duma itself. The authors draw on extensive interviews with participants to outline the motivations behind the creation of Unity and the campaign strategy it pursued in the fall of 1999. They go on to analyze popular sources of support for the party, relying on a two-wave panel survey of the Russian electorate.
 
Article
Many comparative scholars classify personalist regimes as a distinct category of nondemocratic rule. To measure the process of regime personalization, and to distinguish such a process from overall authoritarian reversal, is difficult in comparative context. Using the Russian political regime in 1999-2014 as a case study, we examine the dynamics of regime personalization over time. Relying on original data on patron-client networks and expert surveys assessing the policy influence of the key members of the ruling coalition, we argue that having more clients, or clients who are more powerful, increases the power of patrons - and that where the patron is the ruler, the resulting measure is an indication of the level of personalization of the regime. We trace regime personalization from the changes in political influence of the president's associates in his patron-client network versus that of other elite patron-client networks. We find that as early as 2004, the Russian regime can be regarded as personalist, and is strongly so from 2006 onward.
 
Article
A political scientist examines the Medvedev presidency, asking whether a significant liberalization occurred between 2008 and spring 2012, the advent of Putin's return to the Kremlin. Drawing on the media and the academic literature, the article explores the proposition that that liberalization sparked many of the processes associated in the political science literature with both revolutionary and more transitional modes of regime transformation, including some initial regime transition pact-making. This pact-making and the maturity that both regime and opposition have so far exhibited are analyzed in terms of prospects for a peaceful mode of regime transformation that produces a democratic outcome.
 
Top-cited authors
Andrei P. Tsygankov
  • San Francisco State University
Harley Balzer
  • Georgetown University
Jordan Gans-Morse
  • Northwestern University
Juliet Ellen Johnson
  • McGill University
John O'Loughlin
  • University of Colorado Boulder