Capital, state and labour in the enigma of Baltic 'post-Communist' transformation

Salyga, Jokubas (2020) Capital, state and labour in the enigma of Baltic 'post-Communist' transformation. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis unearths the social conditions and processes undergirding the enigma of ‘post-communist’ transformation in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. It transgresses the limitations beleaguering orthodox political economy, area studies and neoclassical sociology literatures by reconstructing a historical materialist framework. The framework aids the study of social change through the prisms of continuity in the forms of class-constituted rule, geographical and societal unevenness as well as intra- and inter- class conflict.

The chronological point of departure moves beyond the ‘watershed year’ of 1991 to conceptualise the nature of the Soviet Socialist Baltic Republics and to document their post-war economic development, eventual crisis-pronged demise, the subsequent restoration of territorial sovereignties and the constellations of social forces that authored the contents of ‘post-communist’ neoliberal regimes. It is argued that the institutionalisation of currency board monetary orders has been predicated on the authoritarian bents demarcating (new) capitalist statecraft and articulated through ‘elective affinities’ between nationalism and neoliberalism. These initial paths of restructuring gave an impetus for privatisation rounds rooted in the processes of ruling class re-composition and working-class resistance as well as the opening up to the global economy through the re-orientation of trade and foreign capital inflows. The FDI-based growth model has earmarked an intensified inter-state competition concomitant with the redrawn cartographies of spatialeconomic unevenness and enhanced the status of ‘superintendent’ sections of bourgeoisie. In the early 2000s, spectacular economic growth has synonymised the Baltics with the posterchildren of transformation. However, the 2008 crisis exposed the inherent contradictions and limitations behind the idiosyncratic capital accumulation regimes. While class-articulated responses to the crisis never proceeded in the vacuum of contestation, they did presage a fundamental deepening of authoritarian tendencies in Baltic neoliberal regimes. In the ‘post-recessionary’ setting, they entail the penalisation of delinquent regulation of capitalism under the New European Economic Governance framework and the recalibrated horizons of state interventionism to curtail, restrict and criminalise dissent. The new authoritarian symbiosis creates the space for the rise of the far-right.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Bieler, Andreas
Khan, Gulshan
Keywords: post-communism, post-socialism, transition, neoliberalism, capitalism, Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
Subjects: D History - General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Politics and International Relations
Item ID: 61210
Depositing User: Salyga, Jokubas
Date Deposited: 14 May 2021 09:52
Last Modified: 14 May 2021 09:52

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