The Post-Soviet Potemkin Village: Politics and Property Rights in the Black Earth (Paperback)
  • The Post-Soviet Potemkin Village: Politics and Property Rights in the Black Earth (Paperback)

The Post-Soviet Potemkin Village: Politics and Property Rights in the Black Earth (Paperback)

Paperback 248 Pages / Published: 24/09/2007
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Why does the introduction of private property rights sometimes result in poverty, rather than development? Most analyses of institutional change emphasize the design of formal institutions, but this study of land privatization in the Russia-Ukraine borderlands shows how informal politics at the local level instead can drive outcomes. Local officials in both countries pursued strategies that produced a record of reform, even as they worked behind the scenes to maintain the status quo. The end result was a facade of private ownership: a Potemkin village for the post-Soviet era. Far from creating private property that would bring development to the post-Soviet rural heartland, privatization policy deprived former collective farm members of their few remaining rights and ushered in a new era of state control over land resources. This study draws upon the author's extensive primary research in the Black Earth region conducted over a period of nine years.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521709316
Number of pages: 248
Weight: 340 g
Dimensions: 226 x 150 x 15 mm

"This is an empirically rich study of land privatization in post-Soviet Ukraine and Russia that puts to rest some of the most fundamental assumptions underlining both theories and assessments of the political economy of post-communist transitions--for example, that privatization reduces the role of the state in the economy and that privatization transfers real property rights, benefits a broad stratum of the population, and boosts economic efficiency. Privatization did not redistribute land or power, partly because laws are paper tigers; local social and power structures reproduce themselves; and economic productivity requires capital and connections." Valerie Bunce, Cornell University
"In this profound analysis of superficial property rights, Jessica Allina-Pisano transforms our understanding of post-communist economic development and the primacy of informal practices over formal institutions." Anna Grzymala-Busse, University of Michigan
"Not only is Jessica Allina-Pisano's book a fascinating journey of nine years providing us with insight into informal politics and economy in the post-Soviet countryside-it is an essential addition to the growing field of research examining the role of informal practices in shaping the post-communist world. This is the book you must read if you want to understand how land privatization has really worked in Russia and Ukraine." Alena Ledeneva, University College London
"Allina-Pisano treats questions of capital importance not only for post-Soviet economies but for economic change world-wide: Why does property restitution not always produce more efficient and productive agriculture? How does privatization generate proletarianization, not prosperity? How did a program aimed at getting the state out of economic life instead intensify a state presence? This fascinating work will contribute significantly to debate on these urgent matters and should be widely read by scholars and policy-makers alike." Katherine Verdery, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
"In this outstanding political ethnography, Jessica Allina-Pisano penetrates beneath the surface of rural life in post-Soviet Russia and Ukraine to show how local officials and farm directors utilized shifting property-rights regimes to assert their control over land. In the process, she brilliantly reveals why social relations in the post-Soviet countryside have come to resemble precisely what reformers had sought to overturn." Mark R. Beissinger, Princeton University

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