Russia and Oil: The View of an Economist
Keywords:late imperial Russia; USSR; Russian Federation; oil industry; economic history; industrialisation; N. Moser
The reviewers analyse Oil and the Economy of Russia. From the Late-Tsarist to the Post-Soviet Period, a monograph by Nat Moser. For a modern researcher, the book is interesting in the context of studying the problem of subject-object relations in the economic analysis of connections between the state and the economy. The author attempts to examine the history of Russia’s economy from the era of great reforms to the present through the prism of the oil industry. The main topics of the book include the degree of state participation in economic management, the relationship between business and the state, the importance of foreign investment for the Russian economy, and the problems of introducing new technologies into Russian industry during the late imperial, Soviet, and modern stages of development. The author presents substantial statistics on oil production and refining (instantaneous and interval dynamic series), as well as narrative sources, including interviews with members of the Soviet technical elite and the Russian business community. This makes the work highly informative. The author negatively assesses the Soviet period but concludes that the progressive development of the oil industry in Russia has been and remains possible only in conditions of a balanced interaction between a “strong state” and business. An analysis of this interaction in connection with the late imperial and post-Soviet times gives the publication academic significance, despite some factual inaccuracies and conceptual omissions made by the author when studying the Soviet stage of the Russian oil industry.
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