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Chapter 22

POLI 212 Chapter 22 Notes.docx

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 212
Hudson Meadwell

Chapter 22 Russian Political Economy and Development PostWar Settlement and BeyondThe collapse of the USSR in late 1991radically reduced the states traditionally strong role in economic development and opened the Russian economy to foreign influenceThe process of market reform that the Russian government pursued after 1991 brought with it a dramatic decline in economic performance as well as fundamental changes in social relationshipsSince 1999 after experiencing a period of economic depression from 199198 Russia has experienced renewed economic growth largely built on the countrys wealth of energy and natural resourcesThe postStalinist settlement extended from the 1953 death of Stalin until the collapse of the communist system in 1991In contrast to the Stalinist reliance on ideological indoctrination and terror to maintain control in the postStalinist PS period Khrushchev began a process that reflected the needs of the population at large as well as the political eliteBrezhnev brought further regularization and predictability into the Soviet political sphere so that the PS period was marked by a relative calm that some have called a tacit social contract According to this idea in exchange for political compliance the population enjoyed job security a lax work environment low prices for basic goods housing and transport free social services ie medical care and minimal interference in personal life The intelligentsia was allowed more freedom for public discussion of issues that werent of crucial importance to the regime The PS period was based in a centralized economic planning model that was able to deliver basic necessities to the Soviet population at relatively low costUnder the Soviet command economy land factories and all other important economic assets belonged to the state Prices also belonged to the stateEvaluation of enterprises wasnt based on profit but on meeting production quotas Large naturetransforming projects were undertaken such as hydroelectric dams and huge factory complexesThere was relative isolation of economy and society from global influences Firms and individuals werent allowed to develop direct links to foreign partners these were all channeled through the central economic bureaucracy Such international isolation shielded the economy from recession and depression in the West but without foreign competition the quality of many Russian consumer goods was low by international standards
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