From state capture to business capture: A qualitative analysis of institutional development in post-Soviet Russia
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This thesis investigates Russian institutional development since the breakdown of the Soviet Union. The aim of the study is to explore whether the role of formal institutions has increased at the expense of informal institutions during Putin's presidency, as a result of his recentralizing reforms. In addition to examining Russian institutional development, I consider the effect of institutional change on trade relations. In order to illuminate this issue I explore the fisheries industry in particular, looking at trade relations between Norway and Russia. The thesis utilizes institutional theory and comparative historical analysis as tools to map the mechanisms and processes connected to institutional change and their effect on trade relations. Qualitative interviews with actors connected to fishery trade in Norway and Russia have been conducted to supplement documentary, and to a certain degree observational data. The main findings of this thesis are the stickiness of institutions and the importance of institutional legacies in institutional development and change. In addition to this, I have found that the interrelationship between formal and informal institutions is not a zero-sum game, and even though an increase in the significance of formal institutions has occurred, informal institutions remain strong within the Russian institutional framework.