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‘Znakomstva I Svyazi’ (Acquaintances and connections) -- Blat , the Soviet Union, and mundane entrepreneurship


  • Alf Rehn
  • Saara Taalas


The discussion regarding entrepreneurship and society has often presupposed that this society by necessity will be one that embraces the market economy as a guiding principle. This paper questions this assumption by discussing a command economy, namely the Soviet Union, as a fundamentally entrepreneurial society. By introducing the case of the blat , ‘Russia’s economy of favours’, the paper illustrates how mundane individual economies can be a part of entrepreneurship, and how flexible opportunity networks can support the rigidity of a command economy. Continuing from this, the exclusion of such irregular economies is discussed from an ideological rather than an analytic standpoint. The paper further presents some inferences that can be drawn from the case of the blat and which problematizes common assumptions in entrepreneurship studies.

Suggested Citation

  • Alf Rehn & Saara Taalas, 2004. "‘Znakomstva I Svyazi’ (Acquaintances and connections) -- Blat , the Soviet Union, and mundane entrepreneurship," Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(3), pages 235-250, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:entreg:v:16:y:2004:i:3:p:235-250
    DOI: 10.1080/0898562042000197108

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lee, Sang M. & Peterson, Suzanne J., 2000. "Culture, entrepreneurial orientation, and global competitiveness," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 401-416, January.
    2. Luthans, Fred & Stajkovic, Alexander D. & Ibrayeva, Elina, 2000. "Environmental and psychological challenges facing entrepreneurial development in transitional economies," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 95-110, April.
    3. Huber, Peter & Wörgötter, Andreas, 1998. "Political Survival or Entrepreneurial Development? Observations on Russian Business Networks," MPRA Paper 20412, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Baumol, William J., 1996. "Entrepreneurship: Productive, unproductive, and destructive," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 3-22, January.
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