Resource Curse in Post-Soviet Eurasia: Oil, Gas, and Modernization
By the end of the 2000s, the term "resource curse" had become so widespread that it had turned into a kind of magic keyword, not only in the scholarly language of the social sciences, but also in the discourse of politicians, commentators and analysts all over the world-—like the term "modernization" in the early 1960s or "transition" in the early 1990s. In fact, the aggravation of many problems in the global economy and politics, against the background of the rally of oil prices in 2004–2008, became the environment for academic and public debates about the role of natural resources in general, and oil and gas in particular, in the development of various societies. The results of numerous studies do not give a clear answer to questions about the nature and mechanisms of the influence of the oil and gas abundance on the economic, political and social processes in various states and nations. However, the majority of scholars and observers agree that this influence in the most of countries is primarily negative.
Resource Curse and Post-Soviet Eurasia: Oil, Gas, and Modernization is an in-depth analysis of the impact of oil and gas abundance on political, economic, and social developments of Russia and other post-Soviet states and nations (such as Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan). The chapters of the book systematically examine various effects of "resource curse" in different arenas such as state building, regime changes, rule of law, property rights, policy-making, interest representation, and international relations in theoretical, historical, and comparative perspectives. The authors analyze the role of oil and gas dependency in the evolution and subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union, authoritarian drift of post-Soviet countries, building of predatory state and pendulum-like swings of Russia from "state capture" of 1990s to "business capture" of 2000s, uneasy relationships between the state and special interest groups, and numerous problems of "geo-economics" of pipelines in post-Soviet Eurasia.
The rport consists of two parts: The cat that walks by himself? Russian foreign policy at the beginning of the twenty first century by Adam Balzer, and Russia's uncertain future: internal dynamics and possible trajectories by Nikolay Petrov.
The article is devoted to analysis of discursive practices of public representation and discussion of the political course of “modernization” announced by president Dmitry Medvedev. It is focused at interpretations of the idea of modernization by the leading Russian politicians as well as at the role of the notions about collective past, present and future in its ideological justification and contestation.
Nature abhors a "vacuum" - the new power elite arrives at the time of major social and political transformations and endeavours to shore up its position within the country and obtain support from outside. New power groups, which are active at times of revolution and who replace, push aside or even depose the old elites and impose their own control over the state machine and position themselves as new power elite.There are themselves not immune to social transformation, especially in the first decades of coming to their new commanding role. Unless its claims are given legitimacy it is unable to implement its positive programme, which it immediately claims as the national programme. Every country "acquires" a new functioning elite - political, financial and intellectual - from revolution or a change of regime. The old elite may lose control and depart or upon luck may merge into a new combination of social strata of particular country. We also believe that the composition and the structure of elites is the country-specific and reflect one’s country history.
This book seeks to “re-think democracy.” Over the past years, there has been a tendency in the global policy community and, even more widely, in the world’s media, to focus on democracy as the “gold standard” by which all things political are measured. This book re-examines democracy in Russia and in the world more generally, as idea, desired ideal, and practice. A major issue for Russia is whether the modernization of Russia might not prosper better by Russia focusing directly on modernization and not worrying too much about democracy. This book explores a wide range of aspects of this important question. It discusses how the debate is conducted in Russia; outlines how Russians contrast their own experiences, unfavourably, with the experience of China, where reform and modernization have been pursued with great success, with no concern for democracy; and concludes by assessing how the debate in Russia is likely to be resolved.
Considering specifi city of modernization processes in Russia, caused both by internal problems and Russias place in global economy, the author brings an attention to the question of features of standard-values system of Russian reformers. Results of the analysis of 12 values-blocks forming a basis of the variety of the standard-valuable systems of Russians are given.
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.