Kremlin Capitalism: Privatizing the Russian Economy / Edition 1

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The first book to describe Russia's massive economic transformation for an American audience, Kremlin Capitalism provides a wealth of data and analyses not previously available in this country. The authors articulate the political and economic goals of Russian privatization, examine the current ownership of the largest enterprises in Russia, and chart the serious problem of corporate governance in the new private businesses. Kremlin Capitalism is based on the only continuous study of Russian privatization throughout the Russian Federation from 1992 to the present. The authors tracked down the story of the transition in the cities, towns, and villages of fifty of Russia's eighty-nine provinces, updating their findings after the June 1996 election. The result is an up-to-the-minute report of the largest property transfer in history and an analysis of one of this century's most significant economic transformations. The volume also characterizes the position of workers in terms of unemployment, wages, union power, and their changing role as employee shareholders.What really happened when Russia privatized its economy? The Kremlin brokered the initial struggle among different interest groups eager to claim a portion of Russian property: workers, managers, the Mafia, the old Soviet bureaucracy, regular citizens, entrepreneurs, Russian banks, and foreigners. While competing with one another, all struggled to free themselves from seventy years of Communist economic culture. Four years after the process began, have large companies learned to offer goods and services profitably and pay dividends to shareholders? Individual stories come alive as the book explores problems Russians face in structuring a new economic system, defining the ownership and governance of thousands of corporations one by one. Russian economic practices are being forged in the heat of fierce political struggles between resurgent Communists and nationalists and old Soviet managers, on the one hand, and more liberal elements of its infant democratic system on the other. Whether a few big conglomerates and the powerful banks and holding companies from Soviet days will dominate the new Russian economy to the exclusion of most citizens remains to be seen.Many questions persist. How will billions of dollars of capital be raised to retool, restructure, and reorient the heart and soul of Russia's economy? Will open stock markets stimulate a new economic order or will that new order be imposed through strong state supports and subsidies? What role will be played by shadowy conglomerates that are trying to shape a disorganized economy into something resembling the old Soviet system? The authors note the paradox of a capitalism conceived, designed, implemented, and evaluated by the Kremlin when one aim of reform is to allow market forces to play freely. Kremlin Capitalism asks whether rapid privatization has catalyzed or complicated the transition to a more liberal political and economic system, a question that will reverberate for decades.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The first comprehensive and in-depth study on the restructuring of Russian enterprises. . . . Blasi and his colleagues had uniquely privileged access to the unfolding story in Moscow and the critical evidence on the ground in Russia's regions. They have seized this opportunity and written a fascinating book that describes the battle between workers, managers, organized crime, the old Soviet bureaucracy, financial-industrial groups, citizens, entrepreneurs, banks, and foreign investors as they compete for their vested interests while trying to detach themselves from the communist past. For many years to come, the book is certain to remain of great value to a broad spectrum of serious students of Russia and enterprise restructuring processes in general."—Choice

"A remarkably well informed account of the Russian privatization program during its early years. . . . The authors present a balanced, nuanced, and realistic assessment of the Russian experience. . . . A valuable book for those interested in the early stages of Russian economic transition, and for those who seek a deeper understanding of the current dilemma."—The Russian Review

Library Journal
Blasi The New Owners, HarperBusiness, 1992. reprint, an economics professor and adviser to the Russian government, and his coauthors describe the successes of the privatization efforts based on the "Russian national survey" of large Russian businesses, gathered from 1992 to 1996. The detailed description is excellent, but there is little about other Russian business issues that would interest general readers for whom, the authors state, this book is intended; they would be better served by Anders Aslund's How Russia Became a Market Economy Brookings Institution, 1995. As an advocate of the present privatization course, Blasi avoids criticisms, unlike Marshall Goldman in his Lost Opportunity LJ 11/15/94. Blasi has a similar report on the Internet . Recommended only for collections with a focus on privatization issues.Michael Neubert, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801483967
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1996
  • Series: ILR Press Bks.
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.99 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Table of Contents

Chronology of Major Events
Introduction: The Bolshevik Biscuit Company Goes Private 1
1 Privatization 13
2 Ownership 50
3 Power 86
4 Restructuring 122
5 The Future of Reform 167
Tables: The Russian Business Economy and Companies 189
Notes 209
Acknowledgments 231
Contributors 234
Research on Russian Reform on the Internet 235
Index 237
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