By Alena V. Ledeneva
This booklet examines the little-known phenomenon of blat--the use of casual contacts and private networks to acquire items and providers less than the rationing that pervaded Soviet Russia. Alena Ledeneva analyzes the ancient, socioeconomic and cultural facets of blat, and explores its implications for post-Soviet Russia. The political and fiscal reforms brought because the cave in of the Soviet Union have appreciably affected daily practices, yet an realizing of blat is still an important for analyzing the social, financial and legal difficulties that have an effect on the advance of a marketplace financial system in post-Soviet Russia.
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Additional info for Russia's Economy of Favours: Blat, Networking and Informal Exchange
Otherwise, the one who controls a good or service in demand would be embarrassed to provide it. The discursive forms such as 'sochtyomsya' (deriving from schitat'sya (to count), meaning both financial counting, of mutual favours and claims and also recognising significance with regard and appreciation) or '¥a v dolgu ne ostanus" (I won't stay in debt)· still imply the continuity of the relationship rather than an immediate pay-off terminating it. The tactics and etiquette, the practical skills of making an offer without saying it, of promising a return without mentioning it, concealing the expectations if any, were shaped by the rules of this 'misrecognition game'.
In other words, the distinction is an analytical one; in practice people do not 'compromise', they follow the logic implied in concrete situations with reference to both scales of values. h (Dunham 1976:3-5). The Big Deal represented a dilution of tJ;te I~eahstic: egalitarian goals of Marxist socialism by means of a tacit acc~mm~ation In practice to the materialistic, self-regarding behaviour of the New Soviet middle class. sltion In Soviet SOCiety, what it meant to be a member, and the relationship between Ideology and morality in Soviet society were a total failure in the West: Everything would have been clear to them if I had said that I joined the CPSU for c~reer re~sons.
This was important, because it strengthened the situation morally both for him and for me. But for others it could have of courselookedlike blat. [31a] Another worker commented on a similar situation: I don't consideras blat the fact that my aunt helped my wife to get a job of book-keeper. Accountancy was not her profession, but she was educated, had a diploma, she could count. She was in her place, worked well. Those who come in by blat do not work, they just receive money.  Ambiguity in recognition of blat overlaps with mechanisms of social control exercised over a person who has got what he was not worthy of getting.