From Russia with blat: can informal networks help modernize Russia?

Social Research: An International Quarterly 76 (1):257-288 (2009)
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Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moscow has become a global city with a vibrant urban and cultural life-one of the most expensive capitals in the world with famous clubs and restaurants, as well as one of the most popular destinations for city workers and diplomats. Has corruption been instrumental in Moscow's development? The answer is complicated and in many ways a matter of definitions. It depends on whether one considers informal practices-inherited from Soviet times as well as new ones-as corrupt and how one conceptualizes corruption. I will illustrate some of these complications for the case of the Soviet practice of blat, explain its "monetization" and its evolving relationship with corruption in the post-Soviet transition, and analyze the role of informal networks in present-day Russia



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