The Rule of Law and Economic Reform in Russia

The Rule of Law and Economic Reform in Russia

The Rule of Law and Economic Reform in Russia

The Rule of Law and Economic Reform in Russia

Synopsis

What impact has Russia's chosen path of reform had on the development of law after the collapse of the communist regime? This collection of essays examines how Russia's distinctive traditions of law-& lawlessness-are shaping the current struggle for economic reform in the country. Nine renowned scholars, chosen from specialties in history, political science, law, & economics, expertly address the question.

Excerpt

Jeffrey D. Sachs and Katharina Pistor

The fundamental questions in this collection of essays are twofold: first, how Russia's distinctive traditions of law--and lawlessness--will shape, and perhaps cripple, Russia's struggle for economic reform; and second, what impact Russia's chosen path of reform had on the development of rule of law after the collapse of the communist regime. In 1992, at the initiation of radical market reforms, Russia differed in many ways from the reforming countries of Eastern Europe, and the lack of historical tradition of the rule of law was among the most important of these differences. Nonetheless, few observers guessed how large the lack of sound legal norms and principles, which governed the public and private actions as well as the issues of criminality and state corruption, would loom in the struggle over economic reform. At the outset of the transition process, all countries were confronted with the twin tasks of economic reform and reform of the political, constitutional, and legal order. Most of the Central and Eastern European countries managed to introduce political, legal, and economic reforms almost concurrently. In Russia, by contrast, constitutional and legal reforms were stalled or often simply ignored, while economic reforms were pushed forward.

Initial conditions may have been an important factor in determining Russia's distinctive reform path. Russia differed considerably from many countries of Central-Eastern Europe and the Baltic states with regard to political and constitutional conditions. While much of Central-Eastern Europe and the Baltic states had a pre-socialist constitutional and private legal tradition to return to or to build on, this was not the case in Russia. Also, communism had been forcibly imposed and maintained in the latter countries by an outside force (i.e., the Soviet Union), while Russian communism was essentially homegrown. As a result, the change of political leadership in Central Europe and the Baltic States was more thoroughgoing than it was in Russia. The generational change of leadership was also consequently greater.

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