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  • Author: William Tompson
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: The period since early 2004 has seen a significant expansion of the direct role of the Russian state in owning and managing industrial assets, particularly in 'strategic sectors' of the economy, such as power-generation machines, aviation, oil and finance. Increasingly, policy seems to have been focused less on market reforms than on tightening the state's grip on the 'commanding heights' of the economy. Many factors have contributed to this shift – factional, ideological, geopolitical and conjunctural – and, as will be argued below, there is not one single process at work, but several. This paper seeks to understand what has been driving the expansion of state ownership in Russia over the recent past and what that expansion might imply for the future. Its central conclusion is that a great deal of the explanation for this trend is in fact structural. While press coverage and public discussion have largely focused on factional politics and the political conjuncture – particularly conflicts between the Kremlin and big business and rivalry among Kremlin 'clans' ahead of the Putin succession in 2008 – a deeper understanding of the growth of the state requires an examination of the interaction between state capacities and Russia's industrial structure.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Myriam Désert
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: What are the roots of the informal sector and what effects does it have? Is it a blessing or a curse? Changes in post-Soviet Russia contribute new food for thought to a debate that had previously been nourished primarily by considerations on the situation in developing countries. In Russia can be observed processes of formalization – and “deformalization” – of the rules governing not only the practices of economic actors, but also in the rarified distribution of public services publics. The analysis of actual informal practices feeds thinking about the relations between economic and political changes: what impact do they have in setting up a market economy and the rule of law, and in the reconfiguration of both the economic and social arena? An investigation into the way Russian academic circles and social actors view the informal sector sheds light on the various behavioral determinant: reaction to the economic context, cultural roots, social beliefs, and so on. The case of Russia illustrates how the informal sector is not only a mode of action that circumvents legal guidelines, but also a mode of sociability that rejects anonymous social relations. It helps examine ways to reinject the social aspect into economics.
  • Topic: Government, Political Economy, Privatization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Floriana Fossato
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: On 27 November 2006 in the Moscow Kremlin Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrated the 75th anniversary of Russian television with eight hundred journalists and top television managers. A very important occasion indeed. The Russian president sent messages of congratulations to a huge amount of organizations, but welcomed in person to the Kremlin only selected representatives of the most important ones, these days mainly the various branches of military and security organs. Television would seem an anomaly here, but it is not, since Russian officials and political advisers like to conceptualize television – so often used as a tool of manipulation- as “the Kremlin's nuclear weapon.”
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Nationalism
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: François Dauceé
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: Collective mobilizations in post-Soviet Russia constitute an enigma for Western political sociology due to their numerical weakness and their incapacity to strengthen democratic practices in the country. This perplexity can be explained by the unsuitability of the research tools used for their study. Academic research on social mobilization has long been based primarily on postulates concerning the modernization of social movements in a economically and politically liberal context. Western and Russian leaders involved in the transition process demonstrated a will to foster the constitution of organizations independent from the State and the creation of a civil society as an opposition force. In the early 90s, the practices of voluntary organizations in Russia became closer to Western ones. Notions such as "associative entrepreneurship", "professionalization" or "frustration" were shared by Russian movements. However, later evolutions showed the unsuitability of these concepts to understanding the full complexity of these movements. That is why this issue of "Research in question" aims to suggest new theoretical perspectives for studying associations in Russia. These are at the crossroads of various grammars, where civic and liberal principles are combined with domestic and patriotic preoccupations. This complexity, which resists a purely liberal vision of social organizations, draws convergent criticisms against their action. In order to investigate this complexity of practices as well as criticisms, the tools produced by a pragmatic and multiculturalist sociology are useful to show the diversity of social and political bonds that link militants in contemporary Russia.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia