The rapid and pervasive changes of the past decade and a half have thrown the political field wide open across the former Soviet bloc. An extensive array of actors has laid claim to the mantle of the postsocialist state, seeking to siphon off its resources, to leverage its putative power, and often to do both in the same breath. At the same time, others have fled the institutional and discursive purview of the state, taking advantage of the near disappearance of centralized authority in the early 1990s to stake out powerful non- and quasi-state domains. The density of these strategies, which in practice have been complementary as often as contradictory, has made for nothing short of an ethical thicket for postsocialist citizens and state functionaries alike.
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