The state remains as important to Russia's prospects as ever. This is so not only because, as in any society, an effectively functioning state administration is necessary to the proper functioning of a complex economy and legal system, but also because, in Russian circumstances, factors of economic geography tend to increase costs of production compared to the rest of the world. These mutually reinforcing factors include: the extreme severity of the climate, the immense distances to be covered, the dislocation between (European) population centers and (Siberian) natural resource centers, and the inevitable predominance of relatively costly land transportation over sea-borne transportation. As a result, it is questionable whether Russia can exist as a world civilization under predominantly liberal economic circumstances: in a unified liberal global capital market, large-scale private direct capital investment will not be directed to massive, outdoor infrastructure projects typical of state investment in the Soviet period.
• Looks at the impact of geography on Russian politics and economics • Looks at the importance of the state in Russian political development • Asks the question, 'Can Russia survive its encounter with liberal economics and politics?
1. Historical patterns of Russian political development; 2. Soviet legacies for post-Soviet Russia; 3. The 1990's in Russia: a new time of troubles?; 4. Russia's 'Neo-patrimonial' political system, 1992–2004; 5. The Russian nineties in comparative perspective; 6. What future for Russia? Liberal economics and illiberal geography.