Exceptions and rules: success stories and bad governance in Russia (part 2)
Table of contents
Exceptions and rules: success stories and bad governance in Russia (part 2)
Publication type
Vladimir Gel'man 
European University at St. Petersburg
University of Helsinki
Address: Russian Federation, Saint-Petersburg

The article analyze “success stories” of state-directed developmental projects and programs under conditions of bad governance in Russia and some other countries, which aimed to demonstrate their achievements in certain policy areas. These “success stories” are not isolated exceptions that proved the rule of bad governance, but rather, served as the other side of the same coin. Top priority support of successful projects and programs from the state is resulted from conspicuous consumption of both material and symbolic goods by political leadership and citizens at large and performed compensatory functions. Some case studies of developmental “success stories” in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia demonstrated why and how they become short-lived, and often produce diminishing returns over time, and weak multiplicative effects. In this respect, “success stories” under bad governance are not able to overcome poor quality of governance but rather contributed to persistence of these tendencies.

public administration, success stories, bad governance, prestigious consumption, fragility of successful projects
Date of publication
Number of purchasers
Readers community rating
0.0 (0 votes)
Cite Download pdf 100 RUB / 1.0 SU

To download PDF you should sign in

Full text is available to subscribers only
Subscribe right now
Only article
100 RUB / 1.0 SU
Whole issue
0 RUB / 0.0 SU
All issues for 2018
2112 RUB / 30.0 SU


1. Benediktov K. (2010) GU VSSHE: istoriya uspeshnogo eksperimenta [The Higher School of Economics: A Story of Successful Experiment]. Russkii zhurnal, 10 March (http://www.russ.ru/pole/GUVSHE-istoriya-uspeshnogo-eksperimenta).

2. Chirikov I. (2016) Do Russian Universities Have a Secret Mission: A Response to Forrat. Post-Soviet Affairs, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 338–344.

3. Deputaty Gossoveta Tatarstana progolosovali za dobrovol’noe izuchenie tatarskogo yazyka v shkolakh (2017) [Members of State Council of Tatarstan Voted for Voluntary Study of Tatar Language at the Schools]. Echo Moskvy, 29 November (https://echo.msk.ru/news/2101614-echo.html).

4. Disseropediya rossiiskikh vuzov (2017) Rossiiskie vuzy pod lupoi Disserneta [The Russian Higher Education Institutions under the Magnifier of Dissernet]. dissernet.org (http://rosvuz.dissernet.org/).

5. Forrat N. (2016a) The Political Economy of Russian Higher Education: Why Does Putin Support Research Universities? Post-Soviet Affairs, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 299–337.

6. Forrat N. (2016b) A Response to Igor Chirikov. Post-Soviet Affairs, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 345–349.

7. Geddes B. (1994) Politician’s Dilemma: Building State Capacity in Latin America. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

8. Gel’man V. (2009) Leviathan’s Return? The Policy of Recentralization in Contemporary Russia. C. Ross, A. Campbell (eds.) Federalism and Local Politics in Russia. London: Routledge, pp. 1–24.

9. Golunov S. (2014) The Elephant in the Room: Corruption and Cheating in Russian Universities. Stuttgart: Ibidem-Verlag.

10. Guriev S., Livanov D., Severinov К. (2009) Shest’ mifov Akademii nauk [Six Myths of the Academy of Sciences]. polit.ru, 14 December (http://polit.ru/article/2009/12/14/6mifov/).

11. Istoriya Vyshki (2017) [The History of the Higher School of Economics] (https://www.hse.ru/info/hist/).

12. Johnson J. (2016) Priests of Prosperity: How Central Bankers Transformed the Postcommunist World. Ithaca, New York: Cornell Univ. Press.

13. Lapina А. (2017) Rossiiskie vuzy podelili na tri chasti [Russian Higher Education Institutions Have Been Divided onto Three Parts]. Kommersant, 28 October (https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/3453999).

14. Medvedev S. (2017) Proval operatsii “Sochi” [The Failure of the Operation “Sochi”]. colta.ru, 12 December (http://www.colta.ru/articles/specials/16836).

15. Nikol’skaya P. (2015) Rassledovanie RBK: kak zarabatyvaet Vysshaya shkola ekonomiki [RBK Investigation: How the Higher School of Economics Earns Money]. rbc.ru, 28 September (https://www.rbc.ru/investigation/ society/28/09/2015/56087c389a794702546d5127).

16. Obrashchenie (2017) Obrashchenie tatar Rossiiskoi Federatsii k Prezidentu Respubliki Tatarstan R.N. Minnikhanovu [The Appeal of Tatars of the Russian Federation to the President of Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov], 30 October (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfBnLt1CN2b3MYzBcFMYXtPWWYJ8nX5Omp803QiYkq0nDgNQ/viewform).

17. Oleinik А. (2011) Underperformance v teorii i universitetskoy praktike [Underperformance in Theory and in University Practices]. Sotsiologiya nauki i tekhnologii, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 68–78 (http://institutional.narod.ru/papers/oleinik.pdf).

18. Powell W., Di Maggio P. (1983) The “Iron Cage” Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Analysis. American Sociological Review, vol. 48, no. 2, pp. 147–160.

19. Roll M. (2014c) Comparative Analysis: Deciphering Pockets of Effectiveness. M. Roll (ed.). The Politics of Public Sector Performance: Pockets of Effectiveness in Developing Countries. London: Routledge, pp. 194–241.

20. Roll M. (2014b) Pockets of Effectiveness: Review and Analytical Framework. M. Roll (ed.). The Politics of Public Sector Performance: Pockets of Effectiveness in Developing Countries. London: Routledge, pp. 22–42.

21. Roll M. (ed.) (2014a) The Politics of Public Sector Performance: Pockets of Effectiveness in Developing Countries. London: Routledge.

22. Sharafutdinova G. (2011) Political Consequences of Crony Capitalism inside Russia. Notre Dame: Univ. of Notre Dame Press.

23. Sharafutdinova G. (2010) Redistributing Sovereignty and Property under Putin: A View From Resource Rich Republics of Russia. V. Gel’man, C. Ross (eds.). The Politics of Sub-National Authoritarianism in Russia. Farham: Ashgate, pp. 191–210.

24. Shleifer A., Treisman D. (2004) A Normal Country. Foreign Affairs, vol. 83, no. 2, pp. 20–38.

25. Sokolov M., Titaev К. (2013) Provintsial’naya i tuzemnaya nauka [Provincial and Aboriginal Science]. Antropologicheskii forum, no. 19, pp. 239–275 (http://anthropologie.kunstkamera.ru/files/pdf/019/sokolov_titaev.pdf).

26. Sokolov М., Volokhonskii V. (2013) Politicheskaya ekonomiya rossiiskogo vuza [The Political Economy of the Russian University]. Otechestvennye zapiski, no. 4 (http://www.strana-oz.ru/2013/4/politiches kaya-ekonomiya-rossiyskogo-vuza).

27. Starodubtsev A. (2017) How Does the Government Implement Unpopular Reforms? Evidence from Education Policy in Russia. V. Gel’man (ed.). Authoritarian Modernization in Russia: Ideas, Institutions, and Policies. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 148–165.

28. Yakovlev А., Freinkman L., Makarov S., Pogodaev V. (2017) Konsolidatsiya elit kak predposylka dlya formirovaniya novoy regional’noy modeli ekonomicheskogo razvitiya: opyt respubliki Tatarstan [Elite Consolidation as a Pre-Requisite for Formation of New Regional Policy of Economic Growth: The Case of Tatarstan]. National Research University Higher School of Economics, working paper WP1/2017/02 (https://wp.hse.ru/data/2017/07/21/ 1173842902/WP1_2017_02________.pdf).