Stephan De Spiegeleire, Klaus Segbers (eds.)

Post-Soviet Puzzles I

Mapping the Political Economy of the Former Soviet Union Volume I - Against the Background of the Former Soviet Union

Baden-Baden Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, December 1995, 297 Pages ISBN 3-7890-4042-8 [AMP, Bd. 40]

The transformation of the former Soviet Union (FSU) presents formidable challenges to analysts, journalists, social scientists, political advisers and politicians. All of them are trying to make sense of developments that, more often than not, seem chaotic, enigmatic and misdirected. A German research project recently accomplished by the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Ebenhausen (the German Research Institute for International Affairs) attempts to refocus the debate. The year-long cooperative project with researchers in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus stated from the premise that the problems in understanding the changes in the FSU are connected with most observers' almost exclusive focus on the level of the nation state. Given the highly fluid processes under way, states are not the only, and sometimes not the most useful, unit of analysis. For this reason, the project set out to investigate other units and actors: regions and territories, various pressure groups and their interests, and societal groups and their adaptation strategies. Such a fresh approach necessarily also implies a reinterpretation of the USSR itself, as many of the current dynamics can hardly be adequately understood without a more realistic picture of the Soviet Union.

The main findings of the project are presented in these four volumes that try to present the politically most salient new units and actors, their main interests, the interaction between them, and how this interaction influences policy outcomes. We believe that this contribution to a different and better understanding of the historic changes taking place in the FSU is so far unique. Many questions remain open and much work remains to be done. But the first steps are taken, and you are invited to share the first results with us and to evaluate them.


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