Preying on the State
The Transformation of Bulgaria after 1989
Publication Year: 2013
Immediately after 1989, newly emerging polities in Eastern Europe had to contend with an overbearing and dominant legacy: the Soviet model of the state. At that time, the strength of the state looked like a massive obstacle to change; less than a decade later, the state's dominant characteristic was no longer its overweening powerfulness, but rather its utter decrepitude. Consequently, the role of the central state in managing economies, providing social services, and maintaining infrastructure came into question. Focusing on his native Bulgaria, Venelin I. Ganev explores in fine-grained detail the weakening of the central state in post-Soviet Eastern Europe.
Ganev starts with the structural characteristics of the Soviet satellites, and in particular the forms of elite agency favored in the socialist party-state. As state socialism collapsed, Ganev demonstrates, its institutional legacy presented functionaries who had become accustomed to power with a matrix of opportunities and constraints. In order to maximize their advantage under such conditions, these elites did not need a robust state apparatus—in fact, all of the incentives under postsocialism pushed them to subvert the infrastructure of governance.
Throughout Preying on the State, Ganev argues that the causes of state malfunctioning go much deeper than the policy preferences of "free marketeers" who deliberately dismantled the state. He systematically analyzes the multiple dimensions, implications, and significance of the institutional and social processes that transformed the organizational basis of effective governance.
Published by: Cornell University Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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T his project began at the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago in 1997. The writing was not easy, and might not have been completed without the support of the teachers and colleagues who helped me persevere in the icy waters of academia and repeatedly expressed their belief that what appeared to many to be a decidedly unorthodox ...
1. The Dysfunctionality of Post-Communist State Structures
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A fter more than a decade of scholarly research and refl ection on po-litical developments in post-Communist Eastern Europe, a consensus has coalesced around the viewpoint that the transformative processes unleashed in 1989 precipitated a rapid and radical weakening of state structures. While debates about how to conceptualize and measure the ...
2. The Separation of Party and State as a Logistical Problem
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H ow did party and state separate in the aftermath of the dramatic events of 1989? In the literature on post-Communism, this question is almost completely ignored. Yet, such a neglectful attitude is unjustifi ed. The separation of party and state was a major, large-scale organizational phenomenon that directly affected the “stateness” of the former Soviet ...
3. Conversions of Power
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T he separation of party and state and the defection of powerful elites dramatically reduced the usability of existing institutional tools of gover-nance in post-Communist Eastern Europe. It would be plausible to argue, however, that the decrease in administrative capacity attendant to the end of Communist rule may be a necessary price to pay for the accomplish-...
4. Winners as State Breakers in Post-Communism
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A mid the turbulence that marked the early stages of post-Communism, various winners emerged on the political scene—powerful groups that occupied strategic positions and established control over vital fl ows of resources. The relations between these winners and post-Communist states are among the most important dynamic factors driving the restruc-...
5. Weak-State Constitutionalism
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T he collapse of one-party regimes in Eastern Europe marked the begin-ning of ambitious constitutional reforms whose ultimate objective was to lay the institutional basis for democratic governance and the rule of law. These reforms constitute the archetypical form of “state-building,” a term defi ned by Francis Fukuyama as “the creation of new government ...
6. The Shrewdness of the Tamed
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O ne of the central challenges confronting democratic constitution-makers in the modern world is how to institutionalize a system of checks and balances to constrain the exercise of political power. With this particular objective in mind, the framers of Bulgaria’s postauthoritarian constitu-tional order created two autonomous bodies charged with the task of ...
7. Post-Communism as an Episode of State Transformation
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...when structures collapse. . . . The realization that life is ab-Albert Camus, “On Jean-Paul Sartre’s La Nausée, ” 1938 I n an incisive short essay, John Dunn observes that there are two ways to investigate “a state in crisis.” The fi rst is detached and dispassionate, aspiring to grasp the facts, develop theories, and offer explanations. The ...
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Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2013
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth