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Why do new, democratizing states often find it so difficult to actually govern? Why do they so often fail to provide their beleaguered populations with better access to public goods and services? Using original and unusual data, this book uses post-communist Russia as a case in examining what the author calls this broader 'weak state syndrome' in many developing countries. Through interviews with over 800 Russian bureaucrats in 72 of Russia's 89 provinces, and a highly original database on patterns of regional government non-compliance to federal law and policy, the book demonstrates that resistance to Russian central authority not so much ethnically based (as others have argued) as much as generated by the will of powerful and wealthy regional political and economic actors seeking to protect assets they had acquired through Russia's troubled transition out of communism.Read more
- Highly unusual and original data
- Broadly appealing to students of political and economic development
- Emphasis not so much on democracy as on state capacity and governance - a big issue in development economics and politics as well as in the international policy community
Reviews & endorsements
"Kathryn Stoner-Weiss presents a convincing and original thesis that the limitations of market economic reform in Russia's regions put a break on regional democratization. Local political elites and businessmen colluded to thrive on corrupt revenues, and democratization could have stopped their profiteering. Her arguments stand on solid empirical ground. This book offers striking new insights into the connection between halfway market and democratic reforms." Anders Åslund, Institute for International EconomicsSee more reviews
"There is little doubt that the Russian state is weak; that President Putin has sought to build state capacity; and that one consequence of Putin's policies has been a sharp decline in the quality of Russian democracy. However, there is little consensus about why these developments have occurred and what they suggest in turn about the larger question of how state capacity interacts with democratization. In this remarkable study, Stoner-Weiss tackles these questions and provides compelling evidence that partial reforms, especially in the richest areas of Russia, promoted collusion among local politicians, bureaucrats and key economic groups. Such collusion, in turn, sabotaged the development of political parties; the transparency and accountability of local politics; and thus public control over local governments. It also gave local political-economic cartels both the incentive and the capacity to resist the economic and political demands of the state. Putin's policies, however, promise to make a bad situation worse: a Russia that features less democracy at the national and local levels and continuing deficits in both political accountability and state authority." Valerie Bunce, Cornell University
"Kathryn Stoner-Weiss's book enriches and advances the debate about state capacity after communism and in general. She weaves a fascinating narrow tale of the evolution of Russian federalism and a broad analysis of the ways the modern state is often divided against itself. This study should be read not only by scholars of Russia and postcommunism but by the larger community of social scientists." Timothy Colton, Harvard University
"Kathryn Stoner-Weiss's Resisting the State provides a comprehensive account of the weakness of the Russian state in the 1990s. She shows that the crisis of governance became acute as a result of the reforms of the late 1980s and early 1990s, when powerful regional economic interests and political elites colluded to capture control over the state's resources. Her book offers a convincing explanation for Putin's heavy-handed moves to reimpose central control over the regions." Thomas Remington, Emory University
"The book is short, and the argument tight."
Robert Levgold, Foreign Affairs
"The book will be of interest to comparative political scientists studying Russian domestic politics and the post-communist transitions. It provides valuable insight into the workings of Russian regional officialdom and identifies an important piece of the puzzle of the waywardness of the post-Communist Russian State." - Gerald M. Easter, Boston College, The Russian Review
"Resisting the State is an excellent example of how research on contemporary Russia can contribute to central debates in the social sciences and postcommunist studies. Stoner-Weiss not only generates a prodctive research agenda for scholars studying the state; she also makes a valuable contribution to the broader literature on state-formation and governance that echoes themes fro mJeffrey Herbst and Robert Bates on Africa, Venelin Ganev on Bulgaria and Hilston Root on France. In addition, the writing is clear and accessible. This book should find the broad audience that it deserves." - Timothy Frye, Columbia University and Harriman Institute
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- Date Published: June 2006
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9780521824637
- length: 182 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
- weight: 0.44kg
- contains: 15 tables
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. W(h)ither the Russian State?
2. Apparatchiki into 'Entrepreneurchiki': the sources of Russia's weak central state
3. Governing Russia: patterns of regional resistance
4. Inside the Russian State: assessing infrastructural power in the provinces
5. Retrenchment over reform: obstacles to the central state in the periphery
6. Weak party system, weak central state
7. The comparative implications of Russia's weak state syndrome.
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