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Title: Political change and institutional development in post-Soviet Russia
Author: Melloni, Nicola
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis explores the process of political change, economic transformation and institutional development in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. It assesses the outcomes of the transition as the results of a multifaceted process. At theoretical level, the work analyses Russian transformation as an integral part of Russian history. Institutional theory. in its various ramifications, has been the analytical tool on which my study is based on. In particular, this work seeks to connect the determinants of power struggle and distribution with institutional change and development. It does so by explaining not only why and how certain institutions were designed - a field in which rational choice can be of great help - but also why and how these institutions failed to create a modern market democracy - and here historical and sociological institutionalism are necessary tools of the research. At empirical level, this thesis investigates the socio-economic structures that Russia inherited from the former Soviet Union and in particular, the relative strength of the old nomenklatura and the weakness of alternative social forces. The nomenklatura exploited the dramatic weakening of the central authority to expropriate vast economic resources, to hijack the course of the reforms and to consolidate its powerful position by impeding the development of a modem market economy. Nevertheless, the equilibrium reached between political and economic actors was not a stable one because it was based only on the exploitation of public resources without creating the conditions for the reproduction of economic relations. In this sense, Putin's ascent to power is explained as an attempt to stabilise this situation by reaffirming the role of the state and re-defining the relations between both the centre and the regions and the state and the "oligarchs". This research concludes that despite the efforts of the reformers, the ultimate goal of transforming Russia in a liberal country was not achieved. Traditional patrimonialism, albeit in a modernised version, and political soft authoritarianism have emerged as the economic and political framework of the new Russia.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available