Through a study of agricultural service cooperatives in Russia’s Belgorod region, this article addresses two gaps in the literature:
first, the dearth of empirical studies on cooperatives in post-socialist Russia;
second, the lack of attention to top-down cooperatives in the global literature, and the overly negative approach to the topic in the few extant studies. Whereas state attempts to establish agricultural cooperatives in Russia in a top-down fashion have largely failed, such cooperatives have sprung up widely in Belgorod.
The article investigates:
(1) what influence the (regional) state exerts on the cooperatives, and how that affects their daily functioning and viability; and
(2) to what extent such top-down cooperatives might evolve into less state-led forms, such as classic member-driven or business-like cooperatives.

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Keywords Cooperatives, top-down cooperatives, Russia, agriculture, social capital
Sponsor Support from the Basic Research Program of the National Research University Higher School of Economics is gratefully acknowledged by Kurakin. The fieldwork conducted by Visser was financed by the European Research Council (ERC) [Grant No. 313871].
Persistent URL,
Journal Post-Communist Economies
Kurakin, A, & Visser, O. (2017). Post-socialist agricultural cooperatives in Russia. Post-Communist Economies, 29(2), 158–181. doi:10.1080/14631377.2016.1267974