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  • Author: Stanislav Markus
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The literature on corporate governance in Russia stresses the abuse of shareholder rights in the face of various asset-diversion tactics by the management. Attributing this fiasco to a number of structural obstacles and the privatization legacy, the orthodox account fails to incorporate–let alone explain–the recent data demonstrating a qualitative improvement of corporate governance in crucial segments of the Russian economy. This paper disaggregates “corporate governance” into specific institutions and examines their quality at the firm level as well as by sector. The data supporting the analysis is drawn from recent studies by the OECD, UBS Warburg, CEFIR, and other organizations. The causal inference presented in this paper critically evaluates the impact of foreign capital on the improved corporate governance in Russia's blue-chip firms. The paper presents two alternative state-centered scenarios to explain the implementation of internationally accepted standards of corporate governance by Russia's big business.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Daniele Archibugi
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Will Kymlicka has argued “democratic politics is politics in the vernacular.” Does it imply that democratic politics is impossible in a multilingual community, whether at the local, national, regional or global level? This paper discusses this assumption and maintains that democratic politics should imply the willingness of all players to make an effort to understand each other. Democratic politics imply the willingness to overcome the barriers to mutual understanding, including the linguistic ones. Any time that there is a community of fate, a democrat should search for methods that allow deliberation according to the two key conditions of political equality and participation. If linguistic diversity is an obstacle to equality and participation, some methods should be found to overcome it, as exemplified by the Esperanto metaphor. The paper illustrates the argument with four cases of multi-linguistic political communities: a) a school in California with English-speaking and Spanish-speaking students; b) the city of Byelostok in the second half of the nineteenth century, where four different linguistic communities (Polish, Russian, German and Yiddish) coexisted. This led Markus Zamenhof to invent Esperanto; c) the linguistic problems of the Indian state, and the role played by English – a language unspoken by the majority of the Indian population in 1947 – in developing Indian democracy; and d) the case of the European Parliament, with twenty languages and a wealth of interpreters and translators.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, India, California, Germany
  • Author: Michael Bernhard
  • Publication Date: 01-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Given the history of charismatic dictatorship in this century, charismatic leaders have been seen as threats to democracy. At the same time, periods of accelerated political change, such as the period of post-Communist democratization in Eastern and Central Europe, also give rise to charismatic leaders. This paper establishes the conditions under which charismatic leaders are compatible with democracy. Using a framework drawn from Max Weber's sociological writings the paper argues that charismatic leadership is only compatible with democracy when charisma is routinized in a rational-legal direction. In that routinization, however, rational-legal procedures (the rule-boundedness of power) must predominate over charismatic elements (the arbitrary and personal exercise of power). When this balance is reversed the result will be dictatorship. This discussion highlights the fact that both modern dictatorship and democracy legitimate themselves by a combination of charismatic and rational elements. It then considers whether Weber's theory can help us to understand the impact of the charismatic leadership on post-communist democratization by considering the experience of Havel in the Czech Republic, Wa__sa in Poland, and Yeltsin in Russia. It concludes with a discussion of charisma and its role in both democracy and dictatorship in the contemporary era. It finds that the similarity in the way in which modern democracy and dictatorship are legitimated augers better for the viability of authoritarian regimes than the many recent accounts which predict a diminished prospect for dictatorship in the current era might suggest.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe