State and Business Actors in post-Soviet Electoral Autocracies

Staat und Wirtschaftsakteure in postsowjetischen elektoralen Autokratien, in: PVS-Sonderheft “Autokratien im Vergleich”, 2013, 298-323


Why and how do ruling political elites co-opt private business actors through patronage and consultation? By testing different mixed models, the project examines whether and to what extent the openness of electoral authoritarian political regimes affects the extent of perceived patronage and consultation. Case studies on the political regulation of property rights and business interest representation in Kazakhstan and Russia document an expansion of the state-controlled economic sector, sanctioning of individual oligarchs and the inclusion of private business interests into politically managed consultation regimes. Conversely, in Ukraine a pattern of co-governing by influential business actors emerged during Kuchma’s presidency. This variation may best be explained by a focus on the governing strategies of incumbents rather than by economic conditions (resource rents, trade openness) or by concepts of elites as cohesive social groups. read more

Twenty Years after the Collapse of the Soviet Union. Change, Continuity and New Challenges

Conference organized by the Project Network “Institutions and Institutional Change in Postsocialism“, German Association for East European Studies (DGO) and Frankfurt Institute for Transformation Studies (FIT), Berlin 1-3 December 2011

plakat_webThe dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991 marked the collapse of a state, of an empire, and of a project of an alternative modernity. Initially, the collapse of the “Soviet civilization” seemed to provide an opportunity for the countries of the CEE and Eurasia to arrive in the West with its capitalist democracies, its liberal individualist values, and a global pax americana. History as a struggle between ideologies appeared to have reached its (liberal) end. This was an error of judgement, however. Since then, new, non-Western powers and global threats have emerged, and the historico-political region “Eastern Europe” has disappeared. Today, this region is more diverse than any other region in the world: while most of the countries of Central and Southeast Europe adapt successfully to the liberal standards of the West and are now members of the European Union, the post-Soviet states have embarked on a search for alternatives. Here, we encounter authoritarian and semi-authoritarian regimes and state-run capitalist economies, new regional cooperation and security alliances, as well as attempts to develop local models or to learn from other non-Western experiences, especially from China and the Asian “tigers”. read more