Since the inception of market reforms until the present day Russian institutions have been shaped primarily by economic and political elites, with minimal involvement of the rest of the society in this process. Outcomes of such "institutional outsourcing" for the society depend on the affinity between elites’ preferences and societal needs. Low quality of Russian institutions is explained in the paper by a substantial conflict of interests between the society and unaccountable elites. Prospects of Russian modernization are thus contingent on the accumulation of civic culture and more effective representation of the society in the process of institutional change.
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