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Biographical Sketch

Lynn Nelson joined the faculty of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in 1972, after having earned the Ph.D. at The Ohio State University. He was appointed visiting fellow at Harvard University's Russian Research Center in 1987, and in 1990 he was chosen to be a Fulbright scholar to the USSR. From 1991 to 1993, he was a visiting senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology in Moscow (USSR/Russian Academy of Sciences), and from January through July 2004, Nelson taught at Moscow State University with a Fulbright lectureship to the Russian Federation. He currently.holds appointments at VCU as professor of International Studies, Sociology and Political Science.

Nelson began studying economic reform in the Soviet Union at the time that landmark changes were evident under Mikhail Gorbachev, and his ongoing research since that period has centered on the subject of Russian political and economic reform. This stream of work has been funded by the United States Information Agency (1986), the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (1990, 2004), the International Research and Exchanges Board (1987, 1991, 2001, 2002), the Project on Institutional Reform and the Informal Sector (1992-93; funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development), and grants from the National Council for Soviet (Eurasian) and East European Research (1993-94, 1995-96).

Nelson's publications include Radical Reform in Yeltsin's Russia: Political, Economic and Social Dimensions, with Irina Y. Kuzes (M.E. Sharpe, 1995); Property to the People: The Struggle for Radical Economic Reform in Russia, with Irina Kuzes (M.E. Sharpe, 1994); and articles in numerous Western and Russian journals. He is currently writing The Politics of Interests in Post-Soviet Russia. He has submitted invited statements to the Committee on International Relations and the Committee on Small Business of the U.S. House of Representatives and has served as a consultant to the General Accounting Office. Nelson's research on the subject of Russian political and economic change has been highlighted in a number of national and international mass media outlets. He has appeared as a guest on the PBS series Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg, the NPR program Talk of the Nation with Ray Suarez, and the Cable News Network (CNN). His research has been featured by Good Morning America (ABC), Russian Public Television (ORT), CBS Radio, the Voice of America, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Financial Times, Newsweek, the Associated Press, ITAR-TASS and a number of Russian newspapers and other periodicals.

Lynn Nelson also pursues teaching innovations that utilize Internet technologies to promote effective learning. This work has been a focus of feature articles in The New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education devoted to the significance of new information technology for university instruction. In 2005, Nelson received the VCU Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Technology.

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Contact Information

Office address: L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Virginia Commonwealth University
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .923 W. Franklin St.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .P.O. Box 842028
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Richmond, VA 23284


E- mail address: LNelson@vcu.edu

Office phone: 1.804.827.0160  Fax: 1.202.478.0245

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Brief Curriculum Vitae
(Includes Publications since 1990)

Current Positions

Professor of International Studies, Political Science and Sociology (L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs), Virginia Commonwealth University (appointed assistant professor in 1972).

Coordinator, International Studies Program (since 2002)

Other Academic Appointments

2004 Fulbright Lecturer in the Russian Federation (Moscow State University).

1991-1993 Senior Researcher, Institute of Sociology (USSR/Russian Academy of Sciences), Moscow.

1990 Fulbright Lecturer in the Soviet Union (Tbilisi State University).

1987 Visiting Fellow, Russian Research Center, Harvard University.

Recent Publications (since 1990)

In the list below, entries that are preceded by an asterisk (*) were published in Russia in the Russian language.

Books

Nelson, Lynn D. Sociology in Global Perspective. Washington, DC: Digital Text Plus, 2008 (fifth edition).

Nelson, Lynn D. and Irina Y. Kuzes. Radical Reform in Yeltsin's Russia: Political, Economic and Social Dimensions. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 1995.

Nelson, Lynn D. and Irina Y. Kuzes. Property to the People: The Struggle for Radical Economic Reform in Russia. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 1994.

*Babaeva, Lilia V. and Lynn D. Nelson, eds. How to Privatize Russia? Moscow: Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 1992.

*Babaeva, Lilia V., Lynn D. Nelson and Rufat O. Babaev. Privatization of Small Enterprises: Social Basis for Support and Opposition. Moscow: Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 1992.

*Babaeva, Lilia V. and Lynn D. Nelson, eds. Entrepreneurship as Assessed by Entrepreneurs. Moscow: Institute of Sociology of the USSR Academy of Sciences, 1991.

Articles and chapters

Nelson, Lynn D. and Irina Y. Kuzes. "Interest Groups in Russia's Economic Transformation." In Interest Groups and Lobbying: Volume Two - Europe, edited by Conor McGrath. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 2009, pp. 191-208.

Nelson, Lynn D. and Irina Y. Kuzes. "Implications of the Federal Reform in Three Regions." In The Dynamics of Russian Politics: Putin's Reform of Federal-Regional Relations, vol. 2. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2005, pp. 427-62.

-Also published in a Russian-language edition by Moskovskii Obshchestvennyi Nauchnyi Fond.

Nelson, Lynn D. and Irina Y. Kuzes, "Political and Economic Coordination in Russia's Federal District Reform: A Study of Four Regions," Europe-Asia Studies 55, 4 (June 2003): 507-20.

Nelson, Lynn D. and Irina Y. Kuzes, "Regional Variations in the Implementation of Russia's Federal District Reform," Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization 10, 1 (2002): 5-18.

Nelson, Lynn D. and Irina Y. Kuzes. "Elites and Institutions in Russian Economic Transformation: The Case of Sverdlovsk." Pp. 87-105 in The Legacy of State Socialism, edited by David Lane. Boulder, CO: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002.

Nelson, Lynn D. and Irina Y. Kuzes. "Russian Economic Reform and the Restructuring of Interests." Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization 6 (Summer 1998): 480-503.

Nelson, Lynn D. and Irina Y. Kuzes. "Interest Representation in Sverdlovsk and the Ascendancy of Regional Corporatism." Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization 5 (Spring 1997): 222-37.

*Nelson, Lynn D. and Irina Y. Kuzes. "Russian Reform Priorities and Lessons from Poland and China: A Study in Contrasts." Studies on Russian Economic Development, no. 2 (April 1996): 94-100.

*Nelson, Lynn D. and Irina Y. Kuzes. "The Economic Dialectic and the Building of Democracy in Russia." Sociological Studies, no. 1 (1996): 37-48.

*Nelson, Lynn D. and Irina Y. Kuzes. "Beyond the Rationality Assumption: Neglected Factors in Russian Economic Reform." Problems of Economics, no. 8 (1995): 134-42.

*Nelson, Lynn D. and Irina Y. Kuzes. "Interest Groups and the Political Dimension of Russian Economic Reforms." Political Studies, no. 6 (1995): 81-86.

*Nelson, Lynn D. and Irina Y. Kuzes. "Economic Reform and Interest Groups in Russia." Business and Politics, no. 7 (1995): 8-12.

Nelson, Lynn D. and Irina Y. Kuzes. "Privatisation and the New Business Class." Pp. 119-41 in David Lane, ed., Russia in Transition: Politics, Privatisation and Inequality. London: Longman, 1995.

Nelson, Lynn D. and Irina Y. Kuzes. "Evaluating the Russian Voucher Privatization Program." Comparative Economic Studies 36 (Spring 1994): 55-67.

Nelson, Lynn D. and Irina Y. Kuzes. "Coordinating the Russian Privatization Program." RFE/RL Research Report 3 (20 May 1994): 15-27.

*Nelson, Lynn D., Ol'ga Klimashevskaia and Igor' Malikov. "What Directors Dream of." Arguments and Facts, no. 15 (April 1994): 5.

*Nelson, Lynn D. and Irina Y. Kuzes. "The Rich? The Poor? Entrepreneur!" Literary Newspaper, no. 41 (13 October 1993): 12.

*Nelson, Lynn D. "Borscht Is Not a Big Mac: Russian Collectivism and Free Market Individualism." Independent Newspaper, no. 145 (4 August 1993): 6.

Reprinted (English-language version) in Nezavisimaya Gazeta from Russia 4 (issue 12-13, December 1993): 10-11.

*Nelson, Lynn D. "The Aslund-Sachs Connection: Advice from Outsiders." Moscow News, no. 28 (11 July 1993): 13.

*Nelson, Lynn D. "Mythmaking, Kagarlitskii-Style: Sociological Research as Cell or Window?" Independent Newspaper, no. 104 (5 June 1993): 4.

Nelson, Lynn D. and Irina Y. Kuzes. "Textbook Principles vs. Russian Realities: Free-Floating Economic Theories Can Be Dangerous When Applied to Russia." Moscow News (English language edition), no. 22 (28 May 1993): 6.

*Nelson, Lynn D. and Ol'ga Klimashevskaia. "Russians about Privatization and Economic Reform." Economics and Life, no. 42 (October 1993): 16.

*Nelson, Lynn D. and Ol'ga Klimashevskaia. "Attitudes of Enterprise Directors Regarding Privatization and Economic Reform." Economics and Life, no. 43 (October 1993): 15.

*Nelson, Lynn D. and Ol'ga Klimashevskaia. "Officials and Public Opinion Leaders on Privatizatization and Economic Reform in Russia." Economics and Life, no. 45 (November 1993): 15.

*Babaeva, Lilia V. and Lynn D. Nelson. "Privatization: Social Basis for Support and Opposition." Eco 223, no. 1 (1993): 94-112.

Nelson, Lynn D., Lilia V. Babaeva and Rufat O. Babaev. "Perspectives on Entrepreneurship and Privatization in Russia: Policy and Public Opinion." Slavic Review 51 (Summer 1992): 271-86.

*Reprinted in Sociological Studies, no. 1 (January 1993): 7-18.

Nelson, Lynn D. and Paata Amonashvili. "Voting and Political Attitudes in Soviet Georgia." Soviet Studies 44 (1992): 687-97.

*Nelson, Lynn D. "Secularization and Social Integration in Comparative Perspective." Sociological Studies, no. 7 (1992): 111-25.

*Babaeva, Lilia V. and Lynn D. Nelson. "Three Privatization Programs: Compromises, Losses and Hopes." Problems of Economics, no. 9 (1992): 62-69.

*Babaeva, Lilia V. and Lynn D. Nelson. "Transition to the Market through the Eyes of Industrial Workers and Enterpreneurs." Eco 212, no. 2 (1992): 70-76.

*Babaeva, Lilia V. and Lynn D. Nelson. "Business Activity of Women in New Economic Structures." Sociological Studies, no. 5 (1992): 107-11.

*Babaeva, Lilia V. and Lynn D. Nelson. "Sources of Asymmetry: Image of the Entrepreneur in Newspaper Pages." Dialog, no. 6-7 (April-May 1992): 17-20.

*Babaeva, Lilia V. and Lynn D. Nelson. "Industrial Workers on the Transition to the Market." Pp. 85-95 in Lilia V. Babaeva and Lynn D. Nelson, eds., How to Privatize Russia?

*Babaeva, Lilia V. and Lynn D. Nelson. "Entrepreneurs on Business and Themselves." Small Business, Market and Society, no. 3 (1991): 108-119.

*Babaeva, Lilia V. and Lynn D. Nelson. "Five thousand respondents on the transition to the market." Man and Work 12 (December 1991): 42-45.

Grants and Awards

2004: Council for International Exchange of Scholars. Fulbright lectureship award to the Russian Federation (Moscow State University; January-July 2004).

2002: International Research and Exchanges Board. Project director, "Russia's Evolving Federal District Structure: Implications for Center-Region Relations, Economic Development and Civil Society" (May-July 2002).

2001: International Research and Exchanges Board. Project director, "Russia's New Federal District Structure and Institutional Change in Five Regions" (May-June 2001).

1995-1997: The National Council for Soviet and East European Research. Project director, "Regional Politics and Interest Groups in the Consolidation of Russian Economic Reforms" (January 1995-December 1996).

1993-94: The National Council for Soviet and East European Research. Project director, "Property to the People: Political Strategies, Organizational Adaptation, and Individual Economic Behavior in Russia's Privatization Program" (May 1993-September 1994).

1992-93: Scholars Program, Project on Institutional Reform and the Informal Sector, University of Maryland (initiated with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development). Project director, "The Transition to a Market Economy in Four Russian Cities: A Study of Entrepreneurship, Governmental Decision-Making and Implications for Workers and the Workplace" (May 1992-April 1993).

1991: International Research and Exchanges Board. "Business Enterprise in the Soviet Union" (travel grant).

1991: Virginia Commonwealth University, Grants-in-Aid Program for Faculty. "Business Enterprise in the Soviet Union."

1990: Council for International Exchange of Scholars. Fulbright lectureship award to the Soviet Union (fall semester).

1989: State Department of Higher Education, Commonwealth of Virginia. Project director, "Computer Demonstrations for Instruction in Large Classrooms" (Funded through a developmental grant to Virginia Commonwealth University).

1987: International Research and Exchanges Board. "The Individual, Collective Goods and the State: Divergence, Continuity and Change from Emancipation in Russia and the United States to the Present" (Developmental Fellowship).

1986: United States Information Agency/Council for International Exchange of Scholars. Summer Russian Language and Soviet Area Studies Award.

1984-85: Virginia Electric and Power Company. Project director, "Diffusion of Alternative Energy Technologies: Wind, Solar, Fuel Cells, Cogeneration, Peat Combustion and Municipal Waste Combustion."

1983: Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy. Project director, "The James River: An Inquiry into Environmental and Multiple Use Issues."

1980-81: National Science Foundation. Project director, "Energy, Society and the Environment: A Multidisciplinary Approach."

1978-79: United States Department of Energy. Project co-director, "General Energy Education: A Workshop for Virginia Secondary School Teachers."

1976-78: National Science Foundation. Project co-investigator, "Restructuring Undergraduate Learning Environment."

Selected Recent Presentations

Eastern Sociological Society annual meeting, "Responses to Economic Meltdowns in the Capitalist World and Russia: Implications for Democratic Development and Social Well Being," Baltimore, MD, 12-15 March, 2009 (with Irina Y. Kuzes).

Midwest Political Science Association annual meeting, "The Political Role of Religion in Russia: Russian, American and Scandinavian Patterns Compared," Chicago, IL, 2-5 April, 2009 (with Irina Y. Kuzes).

Midwest Political Science Association annual meeting, "How the U.S. Failed Russia," Chicago, IL, 3-6 April, 2008 (with Irina Y. Kuzes).

Midwest Political Science Association annual meeting, "Interest Groups in Russia's Economic Transformation," Chicago, IL, 12-15 April, 2007 (with Irina Y. Kuzes).

American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies annual meeting, "Federal Okrugs and Changing Center-Region Relations," Pittsburg, PA, 21-24 November, 2002 (with Irina Y. Kuzes).

American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies annual meeting, "Russia's Federal Districts and Center-Region Economic Coordination." Crystal City, VA, 14-18 November, 2001 (with Irina Y. Kuzes).

American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies annual meeting, "Federalism, Regionalism and Economic Coordination." Denver, CO, 9-12 November, 2000 (with Irina Y. Kuzes).

American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies annual meeting, "Reforms and the Evolution of Democratic Ideas in Russia from the Gorbachev Era to the Present." St. Louis, MO, 18-21 November, 1999 (with Irina Y. Kuzes).

Congress of the United States, House of Representatives, Committee on International Relations (106th Congress), Hearing on U.S. Policy toward Russia, Part 2: Corruption in the Russian Government, 7 October 1999.

American University, "Russian Economic Reform" (conference on "The 'Crisis in Russia" ), Washington, DC, 6 October 1998 (with Irina Y. Kuzes).

American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies annual meeting, "Russian Economic Reform and the Restructuring of Interests," Seattle, WA, 20-23 November 1997 (with Irina Y. Kuzes).

United States Department of State, Foreign Service Institute, Arlington, VA, "Recent Privatization Initiatives in Russia," seminar presented 7 October 1997.

American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies annual meeting, "Interest Representation among Political and Economic Elites in Sverdlovsk," Boston, MA, 14-17 November 1996 (with Irina Y. Kuzes).

United States Department of State, Foreign Service Institute, Arlington, VA, "Economic Reforms in Russia: An Assessment," seminar presented 13 February 1996.

American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies annual meeting, "Post-Voucher Russian Entrepreneurship," Washington, D.C., 26-29 October 1995 (with Irina Y. Kuzes).

Cambridge University, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, "Privatisation and the New Business Class" (conference on "Russia in Transition"), Cambridge, England, 15-17 December 1994 (with Irina Y. Kuzes).

Congress of the United States, House of Representatives, Committee on Small Business (103rd Congress), "An Assessment of the Russian Privatization Program," Washington, D.C., 14 April 1994.

American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies annual meeting, "The Privatization of Russian Industry: Organizational Issues and Dilemmas," Philadelphia, PA, 17-20 November 1994 (with Irina Y. Kuzes).

Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, D.C., "Whither Russian Privatization?" Seminar presented 10 May 1994.

New England Slavic Association annual meeting, "Coordination Issues in Russia's Privatization Program: A Four-City Analysis," Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 15-16 April 1994 (with Irina Y. Kuzes).

Southern Conference on Slavic Studies annual meeting, "Privatizing Large-Scale Enterprises in Russia: A Study of Enterprise Directors," Norfolk, VA, 17-19 March 1994 (with Irina Y. Kuzes).

Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, Washington, D.C., "A Critical Perspective on the Yeltsin Reform Program," seminar presented 19 October 1993.

National Intelligence Council (NIC)/United States Department of State, Washington, D.C., "Political and Economic Reform in Russia," invited conference on issues highlighted by the NIC and the U.S. State Department, 25-26 October 1993.

Mass Media Dissemination

My research on the subject of Russian political and economic change has been highlighted recently in a number of national and international mass media outlets. I have appeared as a guest on the PBS series Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg, the NPR program Talk of the Nation with Ray Suarez, and the Cable News Network (CNN). My research has been featured by Good Morning America (ABC), Russian Public Television (ORT), CBS Radio, the Voice of America, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Financial Times, Newsweek, the Associated Press, ITAR-TASS and a number of Russian newspapers and other periodicals.

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Current Research: Russian Political and Economic Transition

This research summary is organized around two books now in print, Radical Reform in Yeltsin's Russia (1995) and Property to the People (1994), and a third book that I am currently writing with Irina Kuzes (The Politics of Interests in Post-Soviet Russia).

My current project inquires into forces that are shaping Russia's political and economic transition, with particular attention to the workings of prominent interest groups and their influence at the national level. We also examine the regional dimension of Russian political life, which has long been a key factor in coalition building within the country--and also an important source of divisiveness.

The Politics of Interests in Post-Soviet Russia (with Irina Kuzes) will draw from data that we have been continuously collecting since the early 1990s. I have worked in Russia for several extended periods during the decade, directing a data gathering project in five regions (Moscow, Ekaterinburg, Voronezh, Smolensk, and the Republic of Tatarstan). Through this time I have worked extensively both in Moscow and in the regions that are the primary focus of the study, and also in other republics of the former USSR. In the current phase of this work, my Russian colleagues and I have gathered several kinds of primary and secondary material, including more than 1,500 semi-structured interviews with respondents we selected because of their involvement in economic and political activities. We have directed the collection of survey data from more than 11,000 people in our five regions. Our research teams in each region have interviewed elites and opinion leaders from business, government, politics, labor, the media, academia and other spheres, probing for information about research questions that are integral to the theme of our study. We are combining data from this field work with statistical and archival data from numerous sources in our analysis.

Our 1995 book, Radical Reform in Yeltsin's Russia, examines political and social factors that shaped Russian economic reforms from 1991 onward. Our research for the book included interview data that were collected in mid-1993 in four of the five regions where we worked in 1995 (all except for Tatarstan). The 5,000+ respondents included political and opinion leaders at the federal and local levels, directors of privatized enterprises, privatization administrators, and general population subsamples in each of the four cities. Our objectives in that work were both descriptive and theoretical, as we sought to utilize our findings to help clarify the process of institution building under conditions of structural transformation.

We observe in the book that Russian economic reforms were undertaken with the belief, shared by Yeltsin and his chief advisers, that economic reform could be a powerful weapon in facilitating the achievement of political goals--most notably, a consolidation of power in Russia that would be independent of Soviet Union structures and a rapid economic transition that would signify a radical break with the Soviet command economy. The reformers failed to recognize, however, the necessity of political coalition-building which promotes the realization of economic objectives. The economic program was, at heart, a political program--but one which failed to take into account critical political, social and cultural features of a nation that influence the economic sphere and constrain actions within it.

The reform strategy that the Russian reformers attempted to follow created unnecessary dislocations from the outset, thus costing the reformers political support, and it both recast and magnified distortions which had long characterized the Soviet economy. The principal stated objectives of voucher privatization were not achieved, and Russia's approach to reforms, which was strongly urged by the West, also inhibited new business development and the expansion of entrepreneurship in Russia. These problems worked against both effective progress toward the realization of a market economy and the strengthening of democratic processes with a balance of power among branches, but they offered expanded opportunities for corruption and the growth of organized crime. The reformers' approach to the privatization of existing enterprises solidified the power of Soviet-era nomenklatura, who have been the principal beneficiaries of Russian economic reform in the Yeltsin era. The larger effect of these policies has been to facilitate the redirection of Russian politics toward authoritarianism and to breathe new life into the discredited command structures which the reforms were initially intended to destroy. Russia's formidable task in 1995 was to work toward overcoming serious negative effects of the Yeltsin reforms in the economic, political and social spheres.

Radical Reform in Yeltsin's Russia continues the stream of research on which our earlier volume Property to the People (1994) was based. That book title was inspired by Boris Yeltsin's proclamation, as voucher privatization was about to begin, that Russia needed "millions of owners" rather than "a few millionaires." The 5,700+ interviews for that study were conducted in mid-1992. Our positive initial judgment about the direction of Russia's reforms is reflected in the book's title. But our findings, which incorporated results from data that we gathered in numerous Russian enterprises, forced us to modify our earlier point of view (if not the work's title) during the course of the project.

The book is organized around several themes that were central to Russia's initial moves to restructure the economy in the wake of the USSR's demise. First, we examined details of the political process through which the voucher system was devised and implemented. The study's second focus was coordination in the economic system. The level of coordination required in a command economy, compared to that needed in a market economy, ensured that an economic transition such as that which was being attempted in Russia would confront formidable obstacles. We inquired into these problems with the goal of providing an overview of the pivotal players in the restructuring program (and debate), their roles, and their strategies. Our third task was to examine administrative coordination at all levels of government. We had found in our earlier research that federal policies are often not implemented at the oblast and city levels, and lower levels sometimes create their own policies for privatization. We analyzed variability in policy creation and implementation at the different levels and assessed the significance of this situation for the pace and shape of privatization in our target research sites. Finally, we studied particular problems associated with the massive privatization program that was undertaken in Russia. We concentrated on the political decision-making component of this problem--a theme to which we have returned in our current analysis for The Politics of Interests in Post-Soviet Russia.

 

 
 

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Copyright 2009 by Lynn D. Nelson. All rights reserved.

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