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Agriculture and the State in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia (Paperback)

Imprint: University of Pittsburgh Press
Series: Russian and East European Studies
Pages: 312
ISBN: 9780822985853
Published: 15th August 1998
Casemate UK Academic

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A comprehensive, original, and innovative analysis of the social, economic, and political factors affecting contemporary Russian reform, the book is organized around the central question of the role of the state and its effect on the course of Russian agrarian reform. In the wake of the collapse of the USSR, contemporary conventional wisdom holds the the Russian state is \u201cweak.\u201d Stephen Wegren feels that the traditional approach to the weak/strong state suffers from measurement and circular logic problems, believing that the Russian state, thought weaker than in its Soviet past, is still relatively stronger than other actors. The state\u2019s strength allows it to intervene in the rural sector in ways that other power contender cannot.Specifically, as a measure of state intervention, Wegren analyzes how the state has influenced urban-rural relations, rural-rural relations, and the nonstate (private) agricultural sector. Several dilemmas arose that have complicated successful agrarian reform as a result of the nature of state interventions, how reform policies were defined, and the incentives rhar arose from state-sponsored policies. During contemporary Russian agrarian reform, urban-rural differences have widened, marked by a deterioration in rural standards of living and increased alienation of rural political groups from urban alliances. At the same time, within the rural sector, reform failed to reverse rural egalitarianism. In addition, the nature of state interventions has undermined attempts to create a vibrant, productive private rural sector based on private farming.Wegren\u2019s research is based upon extensive field work, interviews, archival documents, and published and unpublished source material conducted over a six-year period, and he demonstrates the link between agrarian reform and the success of overall reform in Russia. This learned and often controversial volume will interest political scientists, policy makers, and scholars and students of contemporary Russia.

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