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Regular version of the site


Экономическая история России (опыт институционального анализа)

КноРус, 2015.
Нуреев Р. М., Латов Ю. В.
Academic editor: Р. М. Нуреев, Ю. В. Латов
Editor-in-chief: Р. М. Нуреев


1. When and why did development ways of Russia and Western Europe parted (the

approach from the institutional economic history perspective).

Russian civilization lies between the civilizations of the West (based on the institution of

private property) and East (based on power-ownership). It combines the contradictory features

of backward Europe and advanced Asia. The development of Russian civilization (IX—XXIth

centuries) can be described as a fluctuation between the pro-eastern (stronger) and the pro-

Western vector of development. The permanent confrontation between these trends was reflected

in continuous conflicts with external aggressors as well as between the Russian states. The

successive domination of eastern institutions can, apparently, be explained by the compatibility of

oriental despotism with the constant the need to cope with external aggression, which has been

threatening the very existence of Russian civilization throughout its development. In the initial

phase of its development (IX-XVIst centuries) the Russian civilization was being shaped under

the influence of institutional export from the politically powerful states such as East (Byzantium,

the Golden Horde, Turkey). The export of institutions from western countries only began with the

XVII century. Such export was always complicated by the path dependency phenomenon, because

throughout the course of its formation Russia has been developing its identity in opposition to

the West rather than the East. The development of Russian civilization can be disassembled

into 6 steps:

1) Kievan Rus (IX—XIII cc.) regarded by some contemporary authors as a European state

(which is particularly reflected in the facts of early dynastic marriages between the Ruriks

and the families of the European rulers);

2) a split of Russian civilization during the Tatar conquest (XIII—XVth cc.): the eastern lands

subservient to the Golden Horde (Moscow princedom) becomes more orientalized, while

the western domain (the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Novgorod the Great) remains as

the periphery of Europe;

3) the formation of Moscow kingdom (XVI—XVII cc.), which is a period of active confrontation

between four models of the Russian State (Moscow, Novgorod, Lithuanian and Cossack),

which ends with complete victory of the East-oriented Moscow and the gradual fading of

alternative models;

4) Russian Empire (XVIII—XIX cc.), which is a clear example of catch-up development with

selective imports of Western institutions and gradual reduction of the gap between Russia and Europe; however, even by the end of St. Petersburg period Russia could not be

considered a fully European country;

5) the Soviet era (XXth century), a period of counter-modernization and attempts to eliminate

the technological backwardness of Soviet Russia; the party leadership deliberately revives

the institutions of power-ownership in order to ensure the dynamic construction of

communist society;

6) the post-Soviet Russian civilization splits into three independent states (Russia, Ukraine

and Belarus), each of which demonstrates a particular combination of dynamic pro-

Eastern and pro-Western trend of institutional development, but none of them can still

be considered as having completely adopted a sustainable development path for their

national economies.

The Russian transformation into a part of Western civilization is highly unlikely. The active

spreading of Western European institutions has always caused the resentment among Russian

people, which is why the history of Russia can be described as a series of constant shifts. i.e. inflows

and out-flows of europeanization. However, in the XXIst century the europeanization policy

for Russia is even less attractive, since at present the Western civilization is gradually losing its role

of a world leader, while the Confucian and Islamic civilizations seek to reclaim such role. The best

option for Russia is to reconstruct its identity as a unique civilization. While being geographically

located on the outskirts of Europe, it is rather a different Europe, an alternative Europe.

2. From “Oriental Despotism” to “Average — weak Capitalism”:

Ragged Path of Institutional Development of the Imperial Russia.

The history of Russia from the start of the Troubles in the XVII, up to the early Twentieth

century. is the period of accelerated modernization can be regarded as a prime example of catchup

development of the second “eshelon” of the development of capitalism. Russian civilization was

trying to compete with Western civilization to import the most advanced institutions, while at the

same time their identity. As a result, overtaking development took the form of fluctuations between

the strengthening of the institutions of private property and the preservation of a transformed

Power-property institutions.

The initial institutional reform was to be the “liberation” of the noble elite of the state. Only

at the end of the XVIII century Russia in the economic freedom of the ruling class was about

the same as the age of the mature Western European institutions of feudalism, the landowners

were “normal” right of private ownership of land and the peasants. However, the state in imperial

Russia remained the main agent of modernization of the economy up to 1917.

A study conducted in 1861 “liberation” of peasants eliminated the feudal institutions of

serfdom and corvee labor, but retained the “Asian” institutions depending on the peasants from

the community and the state. Stolypin’s reforms were an important step towards the formation of

peasant private property, but do not have time to cause irreversible “farm development“. When

V.I. Lenin at the end of the XIX century, draw conclusions about the differentiation of the peasants

on the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, it is strongly “running ahead”. Much closer to understanding

the very moderate degree of modernization of agricultural production areas was A. Chaianov

already in 1920. formulated the concept of a non-capitalist (labor) farm.

The release of industrial production of the “Asian” institutions going too slowly. During the

XVIII—XIX centuries. a large share of Russian entrepreneurs were representatives of ethnic and

religious minorities trade — Old Believers, Jews, Armenians, Germans, etc. In this regard, one

can speak of a very long dominance in the business of the institutions’ traditional capitalism“ —

enterprise system, where competition is mostly off-market (rent-seeking) character. Although at the

beginning of the Twentieth century began to develop a “big business”, Russian “state monopoly

capitalism” is very dependent on state patronage and in many respects was like “antediluvian

forms of capital.”

It should generally agree with Lenin’s definition of Russian capitalism of the early twentieth

century. as “average-weak”. Russia of the early Twentieth century. really should be weak among

the middle — Japan upgraded slightly worse, but significantly better than Turkey. The results of

more than two centuries of conscious experience catch-up were not very expressive and, most

importantly, reversible. Achievements partially successful imperial modernization were largely

thwarted fatally unsuccessful Russian participation in the First World War.

3. Between “Real Socialism” and “Oriental Despotism”: Labyrinths of Institutional

Economic Development of Soviet Russia

Authors proposed the institutional approach to the analysis of socio-economic development

of Russian civilization in the Soviet period, based on its interpretation as a particular example

of catch-study which to engage in the development economics. In 1917—1991 years Russia

carried out in counter-modernization, which tried to solve the same problem faced by all emerging

economies “Third world”, but fundamentally different methods to gain power-property institutions.

Communist ideology played in choosing these methods very important, but not decisive role, on

the contrary, the practice of counter- modernization led to “fit” the ideology of a real opportunity.

Throughout Soviet history several times observed bifurcation situations in which it was

necessary to qualitatively change the “rules of the game”. First bifurcation’s period — the

time of the Civil War, when the confrontation of three socio-economic systems (“Red” Military

Communism , “White” Military Capitalism and “Green” models) completed their common defeat.

Mixed economy NEP could solve the problem of the recovery period, but could not provide a “Big

push”. In the second period bifurcation end of the 1920s ideas of the five main paradigms of

development economics in Soviet Russia were expressed at least partially at — changed in one

way or another everything. Eventually realized peculiar mixture of neoclassical and traditional

institutional approaches to the solution of tasks catching national development. Anticipating

neoclassical ideas 1950—1960-ies, organized the party leadership in 1930 overflow of resources

from traditional agriculture to modern industry, actively using methods noneconomic coercion.

Administrative-command system (created during the “Great Break”) could effectively, albeit with

low efficiency, complete industrialization of the economy. However, post-industrial modernization

implementation should be monitored as part of the Soviet command economy was fundamentally

impossible, it required more workers available and less rigid guide. Third bifurcation period was

a collision of three variants of the “rules of the game” — a model of self- sufficient command

economy (post-Stalinist course) , mixed economy (rate Kosygin reforms) and the command

economy as “raw materials appendage” capitalist world-economy (course “stagnant” Brezhnev


Over the 1950—1960-ies in the USSR attempted economic reforms aimed at introducing

market elements “game rules”, but these are torture were unsuccessful. The failure of the

reform should be linked with the development of various forms of rent-seeking - with the active

development of oil and gas fields for export (extraction of natural resource rents) and with

increasing privileges of statehood bureaucracy (removing bureaucratic rent). In the last decades

of the Soviet economy of its distinctive features are transformed into institutional traps: incomplete

balanced development leads to the substitution of short- term goals, nomenclature power-property

alienates citizens from power and property. Misunderstanding of the Soviet political elite need to

transition to a post-industrial economy and strengthening the independence nomenklatura finally led to the decline and collapse of the Soviet economic model. The author’s concept based on

a generalization of the works of domestic and foreign social scientists 1990-2010-ies (G. Hanin,

R. Allen, G. Popov, A. Markiewicz, Yu. Ol’sevich, P. Gregory, etc.).

4. Institutional Development in Post-Soviet Russia: in Search for an Escape from the Pathdependence

of ‘Power-Ownership’

In the analysis of socio-economic development of Russia 1990—2010s stresses that many

institutions of “Asiatic mode of production” continue to develop even after the foundations of

a market economy. It is connected with the fact that the radical economic reforms of the early

1990s. carried out the revolution “from above”, aimed primarily at consolidating the new political

regime. As a result of privatization — key economic reforms — adopted the nomenclature and is

accompanied by the erosion of property rights rather than their further specification.

Already in the late 1990s “Russian Drama” is labeled: even after all originally planned major

economic reforms and political stability Russia can not provide one hundred-stably high rates and

the quality of economic growth. Although there is an explanation of the “Russian drama” with the

positions of all the paradigms of economic-development theory, the authors focus on institutional

and regional approach and track the changes in the “rules of the game” in the behavior of all three

actors of the Russian economy.

The post-Soviet households have gone from survival in the 1990s to develop in 2000—

2010’s, but in the last decade, they retain a strong dependence on the state. This is manifested,

in particular, that the contradiction between the “people and the government” during the opinion

polls, Russians considered to be more relevant than conflicts between employers and employees.

In business, there is also a combination of market progress and “Asian” stagnation. On the

one hand, to the beginning of the 2000s. institutions of barter were liquidated and integrated

business groups were formed. They are interested in unification and efficiency “rules of the game”.

On the other hand, the economy remained largely unproductive entrepreneurship (by W. Baumol):

this is manifested not so much in a candid business fraud (as in pyramid schemes), but the

predominance of rent seeking activities.

Most clearly dependent on the previous “Asian” development can be seen in the activities of

the Russian state, which claims the monopoly in the construction of the Institution. As a result,

in the legal economy remains strong relationship between business success and on-relations with

the authorities, and in the shadow economy has evolved institutional corruption.

Thus, post-Soviet economic history demonstrates competition institutions of governmentowned

and private property in the activities of all the actors of economic life. There is a certain

analogy between the post-Soviet social and economic development and colonial modernization of

modern era: in both cases “the loss of the old world without acquiring a new” (according to Marx)

initially observed, and then only “creative work” becomes gradually visible for “heap of ruins”.

5. What will the future bring? (Light and shade concept of long-term socio-economic

development of Russia).

The modern concept of modernizing Russia somehow reproduce the history of the theory of

innovation. The theory of innovation in its development has gone through a least 3 stages. In the

first phase (1910 - first half of the 1940s) to the forefront issues of understanding the nature

of innovation and their role in the development of society over time (long, medium and short

periods), the relationship of innovation and long cycles conditions. This period is associated with

the names of J.A. Schumpeter, M.I. Tugan-Baranovsky and N.D. Kondratieff. The second stage in

the development of innovation theory (second half 1940 — first half of the 1970s) is characterized by the increased role of macroeconomic analysis, in turn, he has at least two substages: the first

of which was dominated by the ideas of neo-Keynesians, on the second-neoclassical. The third

stage of development of the theory of innovation began in the mid-1970s and proldolzhaetsya

to the present. It is characterized by an offensive alternative approach to macroeconomic theory.

With a certain degree of conditionality is also possible to distinguish two substages. The first

(second half of the 1970s — early 1990s) is characterized by the emergence of new ideas drawn

from evolutionary theory, institutionalism (the theory of the firm) and management (innovation

management). In the second substage (mid 90s) innovations studied by the methods of systems

analysis. The authors are increasingly focused on issues of comparative studies: a comparative

analysis of innovation policy in different countries, study the ways and means of forming an

effective innovation systems. In the report it is critically considered not only the official point of

view, but also M. Porter, K. Ketels work “Competitiveness at the Crossroads: Choosing the Future

Direction of the Russian Economy”. Also «The forecast of innovative, technological and structural

dynamics of Russian economy till 2030» and RAND Corporation report “The Global Technology

Revolution 2020: Trends, Drivers, Barriers, and Social Implications” are analyzed. In this paper

institutional preconditions and possibilities of application of the concept of social market economy

in the 21st century Russia were analyzed. Basic elements of social market economy are personal

liberty, social justice, and economic efficiency.

Экономическая история России (опыт институционального анализа)