Clans, Cliques, and Captured States
Rethinking “Transition” in Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union
An understanding of informal systems and of the ways in which they can shape political, economic and social institutions and processes is important in fashioning both systemic change and post-conflict reconstruction strategies. In its absence attempts at reform are unlikely to have the intended effects. This paper distinguishes between the partially appropriated state and the clan-state. The two models fall along a continuum—from substantial appropriation of the state and use of politics by private actors to sweeping appropriation and a near wholesale intertwining of state resources and politics. Both models are characterized by the negotiable status of informal groups, entities and institutions situated between state and private. Both may result in an expanded state sphere marked by ambiguity of status and responsibility.