The CPSU Legacy
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The CPSU Legacy and the Economic and Political Institutions in Russian Regions Alexander Libman Frankfurt School of Finance & Management and Russian Academy of Sciences (based on joint wor k with Anastassia Obydenkova , UPF). Motivation.

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  • The CPSU Legacy andtheEconomicand Political Institutions in RussianRegions

  • Alexander Libman

  • Frankfurt School of Finance & Management and Russian Academy of Sciences

  • (based on joint work with AnastassiaObydenkova, UPF)


  • Legacies of the Socialist past in post-Socialist countries

    • An arguably important factor in the development of CEE and CIS countries

    • But where do these legacies come from? (LaPorte and Lusser 2011)

      • Institutional: survival of Socialist institutional structures (bureaucracies, parties etc.)

      • Behavioral: people still use practices inherited from the Socialist past

      • Attitudinal: attitudes of the public and of various social groups are influenced by myths and reality of the Socialist past

    • And are all post-Socialist countries (and their regions) exposed to the same legacies to the same extent?

      • Differences in the models of Socialism in CEE countries and the USSR

      • Different level of control and propaganda in various parts of the same country?

      • Differences in the mode of governance in the same country (“southern” republics of the USSR or agricultural/industrial regions)

    • This paper: a particular factor associated with survival of legacies

      • The “penetration” of the CPSU membership in different regions of the Russian Federation

Russian regions and cpsu legacies
Russianregionsand CPSU legacies

  • Heterogeneity of Russian regions

    • 1990s: proliferation of heterogeneous sub-national regimes (“isles of democracy” and “isles of autocracy”)

    • 2000s: variations in the level of federal control and monitoring => variations in the bureaucratic practices

    • Furthermore, strong variations in paths of economic development

  • How could CPSU legacy matter?

    • (assuming there was a variation in the share of CPSU members in different regions)

    • CPSU membership

      • Indoctrination

      • Career concerns and opportunistic behavior

      • Rudimentary form of political participation (“party saturation” literature)

    • Effects of CPSU legacy

      • Public attitude => does it survive over time? does it spread?

      • Composition of political elites => resolution of uncertainty in the initial moment of transition and path-dependence

      • Elite networks (governments and business)

Variations of cpsu membership
Variationsof CPSU membership

  • Problem

    • No data on the size of party organizations in regions available (maybe archival research)?

  • Solution

    • CPSU congress: each delegate from a certain number of CPSU members

    • E.g. XXV congress (1976): 1 delegate from 3,000 CPSU members

    • Count the size of regional delegations (published) and obtain the proxy for CPSU penetration

  • Evidence

    • Very strong variation across Russian regions

    • Relative persistence over time across regions (XXV congress vs. XIX conference)

Variations of cpsu membership1
Variationsof CPSU membership

Russian regions and cpsu legacies1
Russianregionsand CPSU legacies

  • Proxies for institutions in Russian regions

    • Sub-national democracy:

      • Carnegie Center: 1991-2001

      • Carnegie Center: 2000-2004 = > e.g. excellent predictor for voting outcomes of 2011

      • Ten sub-indices (elections, press, balance of power within elites etc.) 2000-2004

    • Corruption:

      • Transparency International / INDEM 2002: real corruption

      • Transparency International / INDEM 2002: perceived corruption

      • FOM 2010: real corruption

      • FOM 2010: perceived corruption

      • FOM 2011: real corruption

      • Carnegie Center: 2000-2004

    • Approach

      • Regress democracy / corruption indicators on the share of CPSU members in 1976 in the regional population and a set of other controls typically used in the literature

Result democracy
Result: Democracy

Results corruption
Results: Corruption




Alternative explanations
Alternative explanations

  • Aging population and persistence of legacies

    • Controlling for share of elderly population => results stay robust

  • Role of contemporary Communist party (CPRF)

    • Controlling for electoral support of CPRF at various elections => results stay robust

  • Industrial structure of the regions and late Soviet mode of governance

    • Controlling for industrial structure => results stay robust

  • Attention of the central government

    • Controlling for the number of presidential visits into the regions => results stay robust

  • Non-random distribution of CPSU members

    • Controlling for Soviet-period characteristics of regions (education, proxies of well-being etc.) => results stay robust

Conclusion and outlook

  • Regions with strong CPSU penetration in the past

    • … are less democratic and more corrupt…

    • … even twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union

  • What else?

    • (work in progress)

    • … but these regions also have lower income inequality

  • Is Russia still a “post-Communist” country?