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Books by Stephen Crowley

Louisiana Reviews

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Is Russia’s working class the ballast of stability for the Putin regime, or combustible material that might sink the ship of state? Putin's Labor Dilemma investigates how the fear of labor protest has inhibited substantial economic transformation in Russia. Putin boasts he has the backing of workers in the country's industrial heartland, but as economic growth slows, reviving the economy will require restructuring Russia's industrial landscape. Yet doing so threatens to generate protest and instability from a key regime constituency. However, continuing to prop up Russia's Soviet-era workplaces could well lead to declining wages and economic stagnation, likewise threatening protest and instability.

Democratization in the developing and postcommunist world has yielded limited gains for labor. Explanations for this phenomenon have focused on the effect of economic crisis and globalization on the capacities of unions to become influential political actors and to secure policies that benefit their members. In contrast, the contributors to Working through the Past highlight the critical role that authoritarian legacies play in shaping labor politics in new democracies, providing the first cross-regional analysis of the impact of authoritarianism on labor, focusing on East and Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.


James Belle | Author

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After decades as the official 'ruling class' of ostensible 'workers' states,' labor in Eastern Europe has fallen dramatically. Although the painful consequences of market transformation have hit workers hardest of all, protests have been surprisingly few and ineffective. Many years after the start of the transition, trade unions are among the weakest institutions of postcommunist society, unable to influence policymaking or secure material rewards for workers. Why, given unprecedented political freedoms coupled with such adverse economic change, has labor been so quiescent since the fall of communism in Eastern Europe? And what are the political consequences of that weakness for societies trying to build lasting democracies? This book, through the use of comparative case studies, explores the causes, extent, significance, and implications of this weakness.

Well after the disintegration of the Communist Party and the Soviet state—and through several years of economic collapse—industrial workers in almost every sector of the former Soviet Union have remained quiescent and the same ineffective and unpopular trade unions still hold a virtual monopoly on worker's representation. Why? While many argue that labor is a central variable in the development of economic and political systems, little is known about workers in the states of the former Soviet Union since the fall of Communism. In a comparative study of two groups of industrial workers—the coal miners and steelworkers—at the end of the Soviet era, Stephen Crowley sheds light on where these workers have been and where they are going.

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