This paper develops the concept of stolichnaya praktika (‘capital practice’) to understand how centralized power is maintained in contemporary authoritarian and hybrid regimes that face the dual challenges of protracted economic crisis (which limits their use of traditional patronage mechanisms) and the necessity of maintaining a democratic guise (which limits their use of force). The concept is derived from the experience of Russia, where, since the onset of a prolonged economic crisis in 2014, centralization of power is increasingly maintained by demanding that regional elites compete for symbolic—rather than financial—resources for implementing policies. Central authorities instrumentalize Moscow’s expertise, packaging it as a resource available to the regions. Through a case study of the Moscow Housing Renovation program and its proposed federal expansion, the paper conceptualizes stolichnaya praktika as a technology of government that relies on the interplay of the capital and federal scales, simultaneously constructing Moscow’s exceptionalism and reviving the perception of a caring and paternalistic federal state. By seeming to extend an invitation to the regions to emulate the capital, stolichnaya praktika provides top-down policies with a semblance of voluntarism, while actually reinforcing regional dependencies. This study contributes to the burgeoning scholarship on authoritarian urbanism, by shifting empirical attention away from spectacular mega-projects in capital cities to demonstrate how basic urban service provisioning serves as a tool of authoritarian governance, and by excavating how central authorities make regional actors comply with, and locally implement, the center’s political development goals in and through the field of urbanism.
What factors affect citizens’ engagement with the state? We explore this question through a study of victims’ and bystanders’ willingness to report crimes to the police, using data from survey experiments conducted in Russia and Georgia. We find that citizens’ willingness to report in both countries is strongly influenced by the nature of the crime, but not generally by instruments that the state might use to encourage greater reporting. Our results recommend scepticism about the ability of governments to easily engineer citizens’ engagement with the state.
Последнее десятилетие ознаменовалось внесением кардинальных изменений в российскую систему государственных закупок. Основными направлениями ее реформирования стали преодоление коррупционных проявлений в ходе закупочных процедур, обеспечение их максимальной прозрачности и конкуренции среди участников торгов. И во многом эти реформы были реализованы. По оценкам исследования Всемирного банка, охватившего 180 стран, по показателю «размещение информации о закупках» Россия получила 100 баллов из 100 возможных. Это, в том числе подтверждается результатами опроса ВЦИОМ, согласно которым проблема непрозрачности государственных закупок находится в конце рейтинга факторов, сдерживающих функционирование бизнеса. Для борьбы с коррупцией и обеспечения прозрачности процесса закупки применяется жесткая регламентация всех процедур, включая правила и порядок их проведения, требования к участникам и т. п. Но при этом непосредственно результат закупки, обеспечивающий удовлетворение государственных и муниципальных нужд, остается вне фокуса внимания регулятора. Между тем эксперты в сфере госзакупок все чаще говорят о необходимости сместить акценты с жесткой регламентации закупочного процесса на повышение эффективности закупок.
This article investigates the role of boards in founder-managed firms with concentrated ownership in emerging markets. The literature frequently suggests that in this type of companies, boards have little influence on the corporate decision making. The article conducts a case study of AFK Sistema—a large Russian founder-managed firm with concentrated ownership. We observe that, contrary to the expectations, in this company, the founder provided real authority to the board, at the same time focusing on recruiting independent (mainly foreign) members. Based on this case, we argue that selectively empowering boards in this type of ownership setting could be beneficial for the firm: Selective empowerment is a source of intrinsic motivationfor the independent board members, making them proactively search for new projects and assist in their implementation on behalf of the firm. As a result, the company can overcome a number of important barriers in its development.
How and when are governments able to encourage firms and schools to work together to develop workers’ skills? Upgrading the quality of human capital in the workforce is widely seen as a key challenge faced by countries looking to escape the “middle income trap.” Growing attention has been paid to public-private partnerships (PPP) between individual firms and schools as a powerful tool for meeting this challenge, but key facilitators of PPP thought crucial in existing studies – strong, independent employers’ associations and labor unions – are often missing in such settings. To explore the emergence of PPP in skill development in the developing world, we draw on recent reform experiences in Russia’s regions that have led to a surge in complex, costly forms of PPP despite weakly developed business associations and unions. We argue that variation in the administrative capacity of regional governments and their political accountability explains this surge. Strong administrative capacity reassures all parties that regional authorities can monitor their counterparties’ compliance with agreements, while political accountability creates incentives for authorities to do so. We test our argument using original data on the existence and content of firm-school partnerships across all Russia’s regions for 2013.
It is widely recognized that unified oppositions present a bigger threat to dictators than divided oppositions. In this paper, we use micro-level data on opposition protests in Putin-era Russia to examine the factors that facilitate co-operation among different opposition forces. In particular, we focus on what leads so-called systemic opposition parties – those who have been granted some institutional accommodation by the regime – to join forces with non-systemic opposition forces. We propose a novel permutation-based method for analyzing protest coordination using event count data and find that coordination is most likely on issues of fundamental importance to the systemic opposition’s base supporters. We also find that state co-optation reduces the extent of coordination. These findings illustrate the politically precarious position of “loyal” oppositions under autocracy; they must simultaneously show fealty to the state and maintain some measure of credibility as an opposition party that cares about its supporters’ demands.