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The Post-Soviet Potemkin Village: Politics and Property Rights in the Black Earth Paperback – September 24, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0521709316 ISBN-10: 0521709318 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews


"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

Book Description

In the 1990s, the Russian and Ukrainian governments undertook a project to privatize the collective farms created under Stalin. Under the guise of benefiting former farm employees, the plan instead dispossessed millions of rural people and created a Potemkin village for the post-Soviet era. This book explains how and why this occurred.

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