Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist
Russia's Economy of Favours

Russia's Economy of Favours
Blat, Networking and Informal Exchange


Part of Cambridge Russian, Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies

  • Date Published: August 1998
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521627436

£ 38.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • The word blat refers to the system of informal contacts and personal networks which was used to obtain goods and services under the rationing which characterised Soviet Russia. Alena Ledeneva's book is the first to analyse blat in all its historical, socio-economic and cultural aspects, and to explore its implications for post-Soviet society. In a socialist distribution system which resulted in constant shortages, blat developed into an 'economy of favours' which shadowed an overcontrolling centre and represented the reaction of ordinary people to the social constraints they faced. In social and economic terms, blat exchanges became vital to the population, and to the functioning of the Soviet system. The book shows that the nature of the economic and political changes in contemporary Russia cannot be properly understood without attention to the powerful legacy of the blat economy.

    • The first full-scale study of blat - the system of black markets and contacts in Soviet Russia which underlay the Soviet system
    • Full of inside information from extensive interviews, at a unique point in history, by a Russian scholar
    • The understanding of blat provides essential insights into the prospects for the success of market and democratic reforms in Russia
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Russia's Economy of Favours provides fascinating insights into an important and neglected aspect of Soviet/Russian society. Anthropologists, sociologists, and historians will all benefit from this vivid and informed study, based on interview data from the early 1990s, of Russian networking practices. This work by a young Russian scholar is a fine example of an emerging post-Soviet Russian scholarship that combines theoretical sophistication with a solid empirical base and a native 'feel' for the situation.' Sheila Fitzpatrick, University of Chicago

    'In a most felicitous fashion this book weds analytical sophistication to the initimate, inside knowledge and 'feel' of Russian realities. Whether a seasoned expert in Russian history and culture or just a person interested in unfamiliar yet fascinating ways of life, the reader will be richly rewarded by a much deeper understanding of how Soviet and post-Soviet society, worked and goes on working, and what the experience of living in that society feels like.' Zygmunt Bauman, University of Leeds

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: August 1998
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521627436
    • length: 256 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.38kg
    • contains: 19 b/w illus. 9 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of cartoons
    List of figures and tables
    1. Blat: the unknown phenomenon
    2. Understanding blat
    3. The Soviet order: a view from within
    4. The use of personal networks
    5.Blat as a form of exchange: between gift and commodity
    6. Networking in the post-Soviet period

  • Author

    Alena V. Ledeneva, University of London

Related Books

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.