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Russian Politics from Lenin to Putin

2021-10-20 13:29:40

Author

Stephen Fortescue is the Deputy President of the University’s Academic Board and Director of Postgraduate Research for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. He is a political scientist in the School of Social Sciences and International Studies, whose research is focused on the contemporary Russian policy-making process and the Russian mining and metals industry.

Stephen’s most recent monograph is Russia’s Oil Barons and Metal Magnates (2006, Palgrave) which offers an analysis of the role of the so-called oligarchs in the post-Soviet Russian political economy. His next book is to be on the relationship between personalist and institutionalized politics in Russian policy-making, with taxation as the main case study. He publishes regularly on a wide range of issues related to Russian mining and metals. He currently supervises research students working on the Russian gas industry, environmental policy in Russia, and on various business and politics topics not related to Russia.

Research Areas

Russian politics, business and politics, resource politics

Current Research Projects

Personalist vs institutionalized politics in contemporary Russian policymaking
Two views of Russia exist a patrimonial state dominated by personal relationships and characterised by highly informal behavior, and a highly bureaucratized state swamped by rigid rules and procedures. The project seeks to determine in what circumstances one view dominates over the other, through a study of the processes, procedures, and personnel of contemporary policymaking.

Federal Russian politics: modernizing northern economies
With Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Norway; funded by Norwegian Research Council, 2011-2013. My contribution is on the contribution of the mining and metals industry to the modernization of northern Russia.

Editor

Stephen Fortescue is an Honorary Associate Professor in Russian Politics at the University of New South Wales, and Visiting Fellow at the Centre for European Studies, Australian National University. His areas of research interest include the contemporary Russian policy-making process, business-state relations, and Russia’s commercial involvement in the Asia Pacific. He received his PhD in Soviet Politics from the Australian National University.

Stephen’s most recent monograph is Russia’s Oil Barons and Metal Magnates (2006, Palgrave) which offers an analysis of the role of the so-called oligarchs in the post-Soviet Russian political economy. His next book is to be on the relationship between personalist and institutionalized politics in Russian policy-making, with taxation as the main case study. He publishes regularly on a wide range of issues related to Russian mining and metals. He currently supervises research students working on the Russian gas industry, environmental policy in Russia, and on various business and politics topics not related to Russia.

Discription

Thomas Henry Richard Rigby (always known as Harry) was born on 13 April 1925, in Coburg, a working-class suburb of Melbourne. His father, after arthritis had ended a career as a golf professional, was forced – in the Great Depression – to take labouring work outside Melbourne, coming home only for the weekends for a substantial part of Harry’s childhood. Harry was a clever and conscientious student, and did well enough at school to aspire to the pinnacle of a working class kid’s hopes at the time, a career as a school teacher. That career was cut short before it began by the war. Harry joined up as soon as he was old enough, and the end of the war saw him a Corporal at Advanced Land Headquarters on Morotai (in the then Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia). During his time in the army he had the briefest of flirtations with membership of the Australian Communist Party. Like so many young men returning from war service, Harry found himself with the previously unthinkable opportunity to go to university. He initially enrolled in a pass degree in French and Dutch, but then transferred to an honours degree in French and Russian, ultimately dropping the French for Political Science. He studied Russian with Nina Mikhailovna Christesen, the first Russian he’d ever met. He didn’t study Soviet politics per se as an undergraduate, but the topic of his MA thesis was ‘The Soviet View of Southeast Asia’. The thesis was supervised by Mac Ball and examined by Lloyd Churchward. He completed it in 1951 just before heading for London on a Melbourne University ‘travelling scholarship’. In London he was invited to work on a PhD at the University of London under the supervision of Professors William Robson and Hugh Seton-Watson. Some details on his early intellectual influences and interests are given in the Introduction to this volume. On completing his PhD in 1954 he returned to Australia to take up a teaching position in Russian studies at the Canberra University College, the predecessor to the teaching faculties of the Australian National University. In 1956 Leonard Schapiro, whom Harry had known in London, came to Canberra and invited him to return to London for a year to assist him on a new research project. Part of the deal was that he would work in the Foreign Office Research Department, and from there he was posted to the British Embassy in Moscow. He finally returned to Canberra in xii December 1958 where he resumed his teaching position. In 1963 he transferred to the Department of Political Science of the ANU’s Research School of Social Sciences, where he remained until his official retirement in 1990. That was followed by a series of post-retirement appointments and fellowships at the ANU, including the Transition of Communist Systems Project. Harry continued to be active in the discipline until the last few years. Although no longer working in the field, he still likes to hear what others are doing. Harry Rigby is the mildest of men – although not without a streak of steely resolve, and he is the most modest of men – although not without pride in his own achievements and those of his family and students. This volume is offered as a celebration of the life of a wonderful human being. But it is also offered as a practical commentary on the contribution to Soviet and post-Soviet Russian studies of one of its leading practitioners. Many years ago the editor of this volume suggested to Harry – was it on his 60th or 65th birthday? I don’t rightly remember – that a Festschrift be published. I received a sharp and resolute rebuff. A number of years later his long-term colleague at the ANU, Robert F. Miller, made the same suggestion and received an equally stern rebuff. It was not just a matter of Harry’s modesty. He seemed to think that a Festschrift implied that his work as a Russian specialist was over and done with. As wrong as we might have thought that understanding of a Festschrift to be, his wishes were respected. Recently, however, at a meeting between his very old friend, Michael MccGuire, and a young Australian colleague, Roderic Pitty, the idea was revived and taken to Harry’s family. They agreed, and since Harry himself now admitted to be no longer working on Russian affairs he could find no reason to object. The approach adopted was to find contributors, ideally who had had a personal working relationship with Harry, but who above all would write something that would engage with the concepts, ideas and issues that Harry dealt with throughout his working life, essentially the domestic politics of the Soviet Union. That approach meant that some of Harry’s closest friends and colleagues over many years are not included in the volume – my apologies to them. Details on the contributors can be found above.

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