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The Post-Soviet Potemkin Village
Politics and Property Rights in the Black Earth

  • Date Published: November 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521709316

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  • Why does the introduction of private property rights sometimes result in poverty, rather than development? Most analyses of institutional change emphasize the design of formal institutions, but this study of land privatization in the Russia-Ukraine borderlands shows how informal politics at the local level instead can drive outcomes. Local officials in both countries pursued strategies that produced a record of reform, even as they worked behind the scenes to maintain the status quo. The end result was a facade of private ownership: a Potemkin village for the post-Soviet era. Far from creating private property that would bring development to the post-Soviet rural heartland, privatization policy deprived former collective farm members of their few remaining rights and ushered in a new era of state control over land resources. This study draws upon the author's extensive primary research in the Black Earth region conducted over a period of nine years.

    • First political ethnography of post-Soviet land privatization
    • Cross-national comparison of local political institutions
    • New research using unexplored sources in Russia and Ukraine
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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521709316
    • length: 248 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 150 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.34kg
    • contains: 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: land reform in post-communist Europe
    1. Things fall apart
    2. Keeping the collectives
    3. The social origins of private farmers
    4. A return to regulation
    5. The politics of payment
    6. The facade
    Conclusion: rural proletarians in the Potemkin village.

  • Author

    Jessica Allina-Pisano, University of Ottawa
    Jessica Allina-Pisano is an Associate Professor in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa, and an Associate of the Harvard University Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. She received her PhD in Political Science from Yale University, Connecticut.

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