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Russia's Economy of Favours: Blat, Networking and Informal Exchange (Cambridge Russian, Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies) [Paperback]

Alena V. Ledeneva

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Book Description

6 Aug 1998 Cambridge Russian, Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies (Book 102)
The word blat refers to the system of informal contacts and personal networks which was used to obtain goods and services under the rationing which characterised Soviet Russia. Alena Ledeneva's book is the first to analyse blat in all its historical, socio-economic and cultural aspects, and to explore its implications for post-Soviet society. In a socialist distribution system which resulted in constant shortages, blat developed into an 'economy of favours' which shadowed an overcontrolling centre and represented the reaction of ordinary people to the social constraints they faced. In social and economic terms, blat exchanges became vital to the population, and to the functioning of the Soviet system. The book shows that the nature of the economic and political changes in contemporary Russia cannot be properly understood without attention to the powerful legacy of the blat economy.

Frequently Bought Together

Russia's Economy of Favours: Blat, Networking and Informal Exchange (Cambridge Russian, Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies) + How Russia Really Works: The Informal Practices That Shaped Post-Soviet Politics and Business (Culture and Society After Socialism) + Can Russia Modernise?: Sistema, Power Networks and Informal Governance
Price For All Three: £56.84

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'Russia's Economy of Favours provides fascinating insights into an important and neglected aspect of Soviet/Russian society. Anthropologists, sociologists, and historians will all benefit from this vivid and informed study, based on interview data from the early 1990s, of Russian networking practices. This work by a young Russian scholar is a fine example of an emerging post-Soviet Russian scholarship that combines theoretical sophistication with a solid empirical base and a native 'feel' for the situation.' Sheila Fitzpatrick, University of Chicago

'In a most felicitous fashion this book weds analytical sophistication to the initimate, inside knowledge and 'feel' of Russian realities. Whether a seasoned expert in Russian history and culture or just a person interested in unfamiliar yet fascinating ways of life, the reader will be richly rewarded by a much deeper understanding of how Soviet and post-Soviet society, worked and goes on working, and what the experience of living in that society feels like.' Zygmunt Bauman, University of Leeds

Book Description

This book examines the little-known phenomenon of blat - the use of informal contacts and personal networks to obtain goods and services under the rationing which pervaded Soviet Russia. Alena Ledeneva analyses the historical, socio-economic, and cultural aspects of blat, and explores its implications for post-Soviet Russia.

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It is almost a commonplace, especially among younger generations, that blat was especially prominent in the 1970s, a period of 'raised needs but obvious shortages'. Read the first page
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