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Reforms of Post-Soviet Russia in the Mirror of Transit Theories

Class at Faculty of Arts |


1. Introduction: What is at Stake?        LECTURE                                        

                                      Scott Gehlbach and Edward Malesky: 2011.  “The Great Experiment that Wasn’t.” in Institutions, Property Rights and Economic Growth: The Legacy of Douglass North, Sebastian Galiani and Itai Sened, eds. Cambridge University Press.  

                                      Timothy Frye, Who Is To Blame, What is to Be Done?                               

                                      Alexei Navalny, “My Fear and Hatred”                                 


Video:                         Political Perestroika  

                                                       Timothy Frye. 2012. “In From the Cold: Causal Inference and Postcommunism.”  Annual Review of Political Science,   2. What Was Communism and Why Did it Collapse?    DISCUSSION                                      

                                      Stephen Kotkin Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse 1970-2000. Pages.  1-57*  

                                      Katherine, Verdery What Was Socialism and What Comes Next, Princeton University Press, 1996.  pages, 19-38.*  

                                      Leon Aron. 2011. “Everything you Know About the Collapse of Communism is Wrong.” Foreign Policy.                                        

Recommended:           Mary Macauley. Soviet Politics, 1917-1991. Oxford University Press. 1992.   Chapters 6-8, conclusion.*  

                                      Stephen Kotkin 2010. Uncivil Society. Random House.  

                                      Francis Spufford. 2012. Red Plenty. Graywolf Press  , Part 1 introduction,  chps 1-2, Part II. Introduction, Chapters 1-2,  Part III. Introduction. Part IV. Chps 2-3.  

                                      Thomas Remington. 1992. "Sovietology and System Stability," Post-Soviet Affairs 8:4 (October-December), pp. 239-269.                                      

                                      Seweryn Bialer, Stalin’s Successors, chap. 8.*                              

Video:          My Perestroika         3. Studying Postcommunism    LECTURE

                                      Herbert Kitschelt, 2003. “Accounting for Postcommunist Regime Diversity: What Counts as a Good Cause?” in Grzegorz Ekiert and Stephen E. Hanson eds. Capitalism and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe, 49-86. New York: Cambridge University Press.*

                                      Adam Przeworski. Democracy and the Market. Pages, 10-50.                                    

                                      Stephen Holmes. “Conceptions of Democracy in the Draft Constitutions of the Post-Communist Countries.” Markets, States, and Democracy: The Political Economy of Postcommunist Transformation.  1995. 71-81.  Also printed as “Back to the Drawing Board” in East European Constitutional Review Winter 1993.*                                                        

                                      Thomas Carothers, “The End of the Transition Paradigm,” Journal of Democracy, vol.13, no.4, January 2002, pp. 5-21.    

Sergei Guriev and Ekatarina Zhuravskaya. 2009. “Unhappiness in Transition.” Journal Of  Economic Perspectives,  23:2.    

Recommended:           Joan M. Nelson. “The Politics of Economic Transformation: Is the Third World Experience Relevant in Eastern Europe?”  World Politics 45: 3, 433-63.      

                                      Offe, Claus. 1991. “Capitalism by Democratic Design? Democratic Theory Facing the Triple Transition in East Central Europe.” Social Research, 58, 865-92.     

                                      Valerie Bunce, “Should Transitologists Be Grounded?” Slavic Review 54.1 (1995): pp. 111-127.                                        

                                      Recommended:  Vladimir Putin. 2000 and 2006 2014 Addresses to the Federal Assembly.                                       

                                      Boris Yeltsin. The Struggle for Russia. New York: Times Books, 1994. 183-217; 241-280.   4. State Building: Concept and Theory    DISCUSSION

                                      Max Weber. “What is a State?” 38-41*  

                              Ganev, Venelin. 2005. “Post-Communism as an Episode of State-Building.” Communist and Post-Communist Politics. 38: 2005: 425-445  

                                      Darden, Keith and Anna Grzymala-Busse. 2007. “The Great Divide: Pre-Communist Schooling and Post-Communist Trajectories.” World Politics 59 (1): 83-115.    

                                      Stephen Holmes. “Cultural Legacy or State Collapse?” Perspectives on Postcommunism, Ed. Michael Mandelbaum. Council on Foreign Relations. New York. 1996.*                                                         

                                      Keith Darden. “The Integrity of Corrupt States. Graft as an Informal State Institution, Politics and Society, vol.36 (2008).    

                                      “Dagestan Wedding.”  William Burns, US Embassy Official. 2006.*


                                      Vadim Volkov. Violent Entrepreneurs, Cornell University Press 2002.  

                                      Charles Tilly. 1985. “War Making and State Making as Organized Crime.” In Bringing the State Back In . ed. Evans, Reuschmeyer, and Skocpol.*                                                       

                                      Timothy Frye and Andrei Shleifer. “The Invisible Hand and the Grabbing Hand.” American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings  June 1996. pp. 554-559.                                        

Thomas Carothers, “The Rule of Law Revival” and the

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Attempts to build functioning states, market economies and democratic governments provide a great opportunity to study central issues in social science: What is the relationship between democracy and the market? How does private property emerge? Do states undermine or underpin markets? Why have some democratic success stories experienced much democratic backsliding in recent years? They also provide insight into a fascinating region. Does the communist legacy still matter? Will Ukraine become a stable democracy? To gain a better understanding of these and other questions, this course examines developments in Soviet and post-Soviet politics. It focuses primarily on the former Soviet Union, and the former communist countries of Eastern Europe, Central Europe and the Balkans.

This course will require students to learn the recent history of the post-communist world, but is designed primarily to help students develop tools for interpreting and understanding economic and political events in the region. The course will introduce students to the major debates on economic and political reform and try to help students make sense of them.