Russian Path Dependence
A People with a Troubled History
Routledge – 2004 – 398 pages
Russia's transition to a market economy has been tortuous to say the least. However, this book argues that the arguments and counter-arguments that pitch shock therapy against gradualism are wide of the mark and quite pointless.
Indeed, the reasons for the warped outcomes can actually be traced back through the long sweep of Russian history. Decisions made in the distant past can fully influence policy- making in the present. Hedlund's thesis can, like this, be seen as influenced by the 'path dependency' theories of Paul David among others.
'Heslund deserves praise for not only taking the long view but also bringing into his discussion such peoples as the Genoese, the Venetians and the Maghribi … congratulations to Heslund for discussing in depth the long course of Russian development that other economists tend to neglect. Undoubtedly, he does a far better job on history than most historians would do on economics.' - Paul Dukes in Revolutionary Russia
"This is an engaging, erudite imaginative study… a highly important book for anyone interested in whether and how the weight of history has consequences for contemporary and future Russia." - Russian Review
Part 1: Introduction 1. History Matters Part 2: The Setting 2. Stationary Bandits 3. Successor States Part 3: The Lock-In 4. Lords of all Rus 5. The Only True Christians 6. The Patrimonial State Part 4: The Path Dependence 7. The Apogee of Patrimonialism 8. Failures to Break Out 9. Back to Muscovy Part 5: Breaking with the Past 10. Another Time of Troubles 11. Muscovy Reconstituted 12. Achieving Credible Commitment
Stefan Hedlund is Departmental Chair and Professor of East European Studies at Uppsala University, Sweden.