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