Exceptions and rules: success stories and bad governance in Russia (part 1)
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Exceptions and rules: success stories and bad governance in Russia (part 1)
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Vladimir Gel'man 
European University at St. Petersburg
University of Helsinki

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
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