Privatization, Labor Politics, and the Firm in Post‐Soviet Russia: Non‐market Norms, Market Institutions, and the Soviet Legacy

Rudra Sil

in The Politics of Labor in a Global Age

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780199241149
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598920 | DOI:
 Privatization, Labor Politics, and the Firm in Post‐Soviet Russia: Non‐market Norms, Market Institutions, and the Soviet Legacy

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While the attempt to integrate the Russian economy into global capitalism has produced several market‐oriented economic institutions that formally appear to converge with those in the advanced industrial West, ‘globalization’ has had far less of an impact on the prevalent norms and attitudes of key economic factors at the local and regional level where many of the most successful enterprises are focusing their energies. This chapter may be summarized in terms of three tentative claims designed primarily to raise some questions concerning the prevailing assumptions concerning the nature and direction of the post‐Soviet transformation. First, the privatization program and other market‐oriented reforms under Yeltsin, while certainly ushering in a new set of institutions in the post‐Soviet era, do not represent a steady, unidirectional process of change leading towards the integration of Russia into the global economy and society. Second, the framework of ‘globalization’ works even less to capture the transformation of industrial relations in the post‐Soviet period, as evident in the failed attempt to develop a tripartite corporatist framework for bargaining on key issues, and in the increasing evidence of bilateral dealings and alliances between pro‐ and anti‐reform segments that cut across the business/labour divide and contact between government officials and the most influential trade unions and business associations across different regions. And finally, while the old system of industrial relations may not be much in evidence today, a substantial number of industrialists and Russian workers appear to be responding to the transformation of the post‐Soviet economy by focusing on regionally based, enterprise‐level survival strategies nested in informal ‘moral’ understandings that emerged in the context of enterprise paternalism in the Soviet era and that continue to survive within the context of new economic institutions.

Keywords: business associations; globalization; industrial relations; moral economy; post‐Soviet economy; privatization; reform; regions; Russia; trade unions

Chapter.  14467 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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