Placing the development of the Soviet and Russian central governments in theoretical context, this work breaks new ground in the study of contemporary Russian politics. Iulia Shevchenko's creative treatment of the principal-agent model offers fresh insight into the institutional origins of change in government organization in the communist and post-communist period, from President Gorbachev to President Putin. She demonstrates that government organization varies with the extent to which the principal actors - the president and parliament - are prepared to empower the cabinet to actively develop rather than just implement policy. Delegation of broad decision-making powers, which occurs when the policy environment is highly competitive, is a crucial factor explaining the uneven dynamics of government development during this period. The originality of this work, rich with supporting evidence and empirical data, will ensure that it becomes the standard source for students and scholars concerned with this aspect of post-Soviet politics.
'Iulia Shevchenko…combines an insider's account of the contemporary Russian scene with a deep awareness of Western political science…Shevchenko provides a nuanced account of the changes that have occurred from Gorbachev to Putin in the power and authority of the different institutions of the central government…Students and scholars looking for a cool, commanding and detailed examination of this turbulent and exciting period will be greatly rewarded in reading this book.' Karen Dawisha, Miami University, USA 'Iulia Shevchenko…has performed a tremendous service to scholarship in compiling essential factual information about the composition and structure of the Russian government over a period of extremely rapid change.' The Russian Review 'This is the first detailed study of the role and activities of the Russian government…in the political system of the Russian Federation during the reign of President Boris El'tsin and the first term of President Vladimir Putin…a welcome and useful contribution…this study provides an extremely effective guide to the activities of the government of the Russian Federation during the last fifteen years.' Slavic Review '…this book fills an important gap in the literature on Russian politics.' Slavonic and East European Review
Contents: A theory of government development: institutional design and delegation of authority; The late Soviet period, 1989-1991; Transition to independence, 1990-1991; Struggling with the Soviet legacies, 1991-1993; Accommodating to the new institutional design, 1994-1995; The end of the Yeltsin era, 1996-1999; Putin's first tenure, 2000-2004; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.