Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 June 2009
“Political capitalism” is a term frequently deployed in analyses of the economic systems that emerged in the former Soviet block after the implosion of communist autocracy. This crisp, evocative phrase effectively expresses the shared feeling that the transmogrifications of the formerly “planned economies” did not lead to the desired consolidation of a “normal” capitalism. Many would say that by the mid-2000s several East European countries had reached a state approximating “Western ordinariness.” But even they would agree that, at least during the first dozen years of postcommunist changes, the somewhat mysterious dynamics shaping postcommunist “economic domains” were marred by persisting “anomalies,” enduring “atavisms,” and recurring “distortions” which originated in the realm of “politics.” One cannot in good faith dispute that there was something “political” about the way the idiosyncratic postcommunist economies functioned throughout the 1990s.
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