Post-Soviet Power tells the story of the Russian electricity system and examines the politics of its transformation from a ministry to a market. Susanne A. Wengle shifts our focus away from what has been at the center of post-Soviet political economy - corruption and the lack of structural reforms - to draw attention to political struggles to establish a state with the ability to govern the economy. She highlights the importance of hands-on economic planning by authorities - post-Soviet developmentalism - and details the market mechanisms that have been created. This book argues that these observations urge us to think of economies and political authority as mutually constitutive, in Russia and beyond. Whereas political science often thinks of market arrangements resulting from political institutions, Russia's marketization demonstrates that political status is also produced by the market arrangements that actors create. Taking this reflexivity seriously suggests a view of economies and markets as constructed and contingent entities.
Susanne A. Wengle is a research fellow and lecturer in the political science department at the University of Chicago. Her research has appeared in Studies in Comparative International Development, Economy and Society, Europe-Asia Studies, the Russian Analytical Digest, and the Chicago Policy Review. She is currently working on a project on the political economy of agriculture and food systems in Russia and the US.
Introduction: Russia's political marketization; Part I: 1. From ministry to market; 2. Power politics; 3. Regionally patterned pacts and the political life of things; Part II: 4. Privatization - competing claims and new owners; 5. Liberalization - the price of power; 6. Expertise - engineers versus managers; Conclusion: development as contingent transformations.