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date: 10 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Whereas many European states sought to dominate corporate associations in order to exploit their resources, the Russian monarchy had to create them in the late eighteenth century in order to transmit its own authority. Both before and after that, however, the Tsars mediated authority downwards through persons rather than institutions. This chapter highlights the paradoxes of a system which compensated for under-institutionalization through the workings of competing elite patron-client networks and small-scale popular communities of joint responsibility which survived long beyond 1917. Communists may have transformed and modernized society in appearance, but in reality that modernization perpetuated or even restored some of the archaic practices of pre-revolutionary society. The Soviet state, like the Tsarist one, depended on archaic social arrangements which lubricated its everyday functioning, but frustrated its ultimate purposes. Even at the start of the twenty-first century Russian politics were still in thrall to personalized power factions.

Keywords: government, society, community, village commune, collective responsibility, confessionalization, corporate associations, informal networks, patronage, law, trust

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