¹ 4 - 2002
Urban M.

Social Relations and Political Practices in Post-Communist Russia

Having stated that exaggerated attention for formal democratic institutions is fraught with underestimation of real processes going on in post-Communist world, the author has made an attempt to apply to the study of post-Soviet Rusia models worked out in the declining years of Communism by scholars who were researching clientelism and patronage networks. Subjecting to detailed analysis specific features of the Russian state, the power networks that operate in the country, the expansion of the so-called grey zone, as well as the whole range of ways and methods used by common citizens to organize their collective actions, he comes to the conclusion that in modern Russia the balance between institutionalized and personalized forms of collective action tilts towards the latter. Moreover, according to the author’s conclusion, in Russia, a certain level of stability has been achieved, based on a specific form of equilibrium between the state and society: the state, an arena for the interplay of power networks, appears incapable of mounting public projects, and society, fragmented into innumerable personalistic networks of trust, seems unable of being mobilized either for, or against them.