State Capacity and Russia
The concept of state capacity which still lacks sufficient analytical clarity appeared in the focus of contemporary political research, both theoretical and empirical, within the context of the so called “return of the state” in the 1980s (Evans, Reuschemeyer, and Skocpol, 1985) as the main agenda of political science after decades of predominant interest in political systems, their structure, functions and components. This shift of the analytical focus resulted from a variety of factors – theoretical and political, including changes in global political environment, growing challenges to the quality of management in political and socio-economic development, the emergence of the phenomenon of “failed states”, dilemmas of democratization and state building in transitional and developing countries, the collapse of the Communist system and emergence of new independent states with their problems, etc.
How can the concept of state capacity help us better understand Russian politics and society in the post-Soviet era? In this chapter we present a general outline of current debates on state capacity, key unresolved issues under consideration, various approaches to its conceptualization, operationalization, measurement and comparative analysis.
We then attempt to apply these findings to the Russian case and will concentrate on explaining the dynamics of state and state capacity in post-Soviet Russia since the state collapse through the stages of state building through the presidencies of Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Medvedev and again Vladimir Putin