Means of production versus means of coercion: can Russian business limit the violence of a predatory state?
In their most recent works, North and his coauthors (North, D. C., J. J. Wallis, S. Webb, and B. R. Weingast. 2012. In the Shadow of Violence: Politics, Economics, and the Problems of Development. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press; North, D.C., J. J. Wallis, and B. R. Weingast. 2009. Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press) name the formation of organizations capable of effectively restricting violence in society as a necessary condition for transition from developing societies to societies with sustainable economic growth. However, the mechanisms of emergence and conditions for the operation of such organizations in contemporary developing countries remain unclear. We follow the logic of formation of such organizations using the case study of collective actions of the Russian business community aimed at restricting “state violence” against business. We seek to identify the conditions leading to a shift in the choice of strategies from attempts at informal agreements with extortionists controlling means of coercion to cooperation of businessmen and trace the further evolution of organized forms of collective action. Finally, we assess to what extent the created organizations can be efficient and self-supporting in the long term.
The article describes the analysis of Western studies of collective action. Social identity, group efficiency and relative deprivation are considered as the main predictors of collective action. Models of collective action are described also. In conclusion future directions of investigations are analyzed.
Between the summer of 1937 and November 1938, the Stalinist regime arrested over 1.5 million people for "counterrevolutionary" and "anti-Soviet" activity and either summarily executed or exiled them to the Gulag. While we now know a great deal about the experience of victims of the Great Terror, we know almost nothing about the lower- and middle-level Narodnyi Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del (NKVD), or secret police, cadres who carried out Stalin's murderous policies. Unlike the postwar, public trials of Nazi war criminals, NKVD operatives were tried secretly. And what exactly happened in those courtrooms was unknown until now. In what has been dubbed "the purge of the purgers," almost one thousand NKVD officers were prosecuted by Soviet military courts. Scapegoated for violating Soviet law, they were charged with multiple counts of fabrication of evidence, falsification of interrogation protocols, use of torture to secure "confessions," and murder during pre-trial detention of "suspects" - and many were sentenced to execution themselves. The documentation generated by these trials, including verbatim interrogation records and written confessions signed by perpetrators; testimony by victims, witnesses, and experts; and transcripts of court sessions, provides a glimpse behind the curtains of the terror. It depicts how the terror was implemented, what happened, and who was responsible, demonstrating that orders from above worked in conjunction with a series of situational factors to shape the contours of state violence. Based on chilling and revelatory new archival documents from the Ukrainian secret police archives, Stalinist Perpetrators on Trial illuminates the darkest recesses of Soviet repression -- the interrogation room, the prison cell, and the place of execution -- and sheds new light on those who carried out the Great Terror.
The international financial and economic crisis, which hit Russia in the fall of 2008, marked the end of a long economic boom. Since then, economic growth has been sluggish and the public funds saved during the previous period of favorable economic growth have been spent on easing the economic and social consequences of the crisis. In 2014, without having completely recovered from the previous crisis, Russia was hit by further economic difficulties. These difficulties were caused by structural deficiencies within the economy, economic sanctions imposed by the West and, most importantly, a drop in the world oil price. Despite these difficulties, the Kremlin has chosen to prioritize security interests over the requirements of Russia’s economic development – for which it is bound to ultimately pay a high price. In an effort to consolidate power and to increase control over Russia’s elites, Putin – now looking more like a tsar than a president – has effectively facilitated the creation of an authoritarian-bureaucratic nomenklatura system. Russia is characterized by: • the dependence of private individuals on their official position and support of their direct superior; • short-term, hierarchical decision-making processes; • dominance of vertical over horizontal networks, which is ensured by, among other things, frequent bureaucratic rotations at the regional level; • temporary rather than permanent property ownership patterns, which supports a system of patronage; • moral and legal norms for those in power are much broader than for ordinary citizens. Most notably, the role of the Siloviki (i.e., politicians from the security and military services) has become much more pronounced, while the role of the judiciary has decreased.
Security degree and specification level of property rights are keys for successful economic and social modernization in Russia. In the research, the attempt of evaluating the nature of political influences on evolution of property rights is made. Chronologically research captures the period from 1985 (period of Perestroika) to 2012. According to the author’s claim, such political parameters, as the way of power legitimation, actors’ access to the economic, military and symbolical resources, made major impact on the formation of property rights in Russia.
Author reviews Russian legal system based on The Russian Constitution (1993) and also considers functioning of basic political institutions and others associated with them. At the same time author analyses reasons of unsatisfactory functioning of particular institutions from the point of view of the Constitution. In particular, author estimates constitutional status of Russian President and reveals his unproportional impact on other political and even civil societies institutions.
The paper examines the structure, governance, and balance sheets of state-controlled banks in Russia, which accounted for over 55 percent of the total assets in the country's banking system in early 2012. The author offers a credible estimate of the size of the country's state banking sector by including banks that are indirectly owned by public organizations. Contrary to some predictions based on the theoretical literature on economic transition, he explains the relatively high profitability and efficiency of Russian state-controlled banks by pointing to their competitive position in such functions as acquisition and disposal of assets on behalf of the government. Also suggested in the paper is a different way of looking at market concentration in Russia (by consolidating the market shares of core state-controlled banks), which produces a picture of a more concentrated market than officially reported. Lastly, one of the author's interesting conclusions is that China provides a better benchmark than the formerly centrally planned economies of Central and Eastern Europe by which to assess the viability of state ownership of banks in Russia and to evaluate the country's banking sector.
The paper examines the principles for the supervision of financial conglomerates proposed by BCBS in the consultative document published in December 2011. Moreover, the article proposes a number of suggestions worked out by the authors within the HSE research team.
We address the external effects on public sector efficiency measures acquired using Data Envelopment Analysis. We use the health care system in Russian regions in 2011 to evaluate modern approaches to accounting for external effects. We propose a promising method of correcting DEA efficiency measures. Despite the multiple advantages DEA offers, the usage of this approach carries with it a number of methodological difficulties. Accounting for multiple factors of efficiency calls for more complex methods, among which the most promising are DMU clustering and calculating local production possibility frontiers. Using regression models for estimate correction requires further study due to possible systematic errors during estimation. A mixture of data correction and DMU clustering together with multi-stage DEA seems most promising at the moment. Analyzing several stages of transforming society’s resources into social welfare will allow for picking out the weak points in a state agency’s work.