For Lenin, Russia was the weak link in the chain of imperialism. In 1917 the chain broke and for 70 years the Bolsheviks' state-led model of development stood out in radical opposition to the capitalism mainstream - up until the crash of the USSR in 1991. For present-day critics of the regime in Russia, criminal privatization and bureaucratic cronyism has reduced their country to 2nd class status as an oil and gas exporter on the periphery of the global economy. This unique and insightful book takes a look at Russia's development through the Tsarist and Soviet periods. Rather than make the more frequent comparisons between Russia and the West, the book focuses on political and social mobilization in Central Asia and adjacent regions of Russia. It examines the role of local government and civil society in development, also popular responses to the policies of Putin and Medvedev aimed at modernizing Russia and forging a new Eurasian alliance in Russia's "development neighbourhood." The book uses local sources and case studies to pose important questions about the role of empire, revolution, nationalism and democratization in the 2000s. It looks at Russia's emerging stance on development issues as a BRIC country, on the one hand, and at new social movements around the region challenging government policy and transnational companies, on the other. With unique insider knowledge, Charles Buxton ultimately places Russia's current model in an international context, where Russia is increasingly becoming a competitor to Western-led development practices. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the region or development thought and practice.
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