CASE Network Reports, Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, economic reforms, Institutional reforms, institutions, political economy, political systems, CASE Reports, Russia, transition

Russia: Political and Institutional Determinants of Economic Reforms


The purpose of this study is to analyze the course, determinants and political economy of economic reforms in Russia conducted in the period 1985-2003. The year 1985 can be considered an important turning point in Soviet/Russian history, marked as it was by the election of Mikhail Gorbachev to the position of General Secretary of the Communist Party of Soviet Union (CPSU) and (de facto) leader of the USSR. This nomination brought an end to two decades of political consolidation of the communist regime connected with the name of General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev and his short-living successors (Yurii Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko), often referred to ex post as 'the stagnation period' (vremya zastoya). Gorbachev initiated a series of important political and (to a lesser extent) economic reforms, which led eventually to the collapse of the communist regime and the disintegration of the Soviet empire in 1991. Thus, 1991 must be seen as another dramatic turning point in Russia's contemporary history. From the end of 1991 onwards political and economic reforms have been carried out by the new Russian state that emerged after the disintegration of the USSR. This paper aims to explain the political and institutional determinants of economic reforms in the Russian Federation.