Free economic zones in the former USSR and the RSFSR during the Perestroika and post-Perestroika period of economic reform

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  • Soviet economists first became interested in the concept of Export Processing Zones in their search for a means to facilitate foreign investment in their economy. The Russian conception, most commonly expressed as Free Economic Zones (FEZs), was rapidly viewed as a "pre-market mechanism" that would serve to enhance economic growth, expand foreign economic relations and facilitate the transition to a market economy. This thesis examines the FEZ'S from a Soviet/Russian perspective, utilizing primary Russian sources, in an attempt to determine possible reasons for the failure of the zones to progress as originally conceived. To accomplish this, a political-economy approach is employed to analyze the key issues underlying the adoption and adaptation of the FEZ concept, as well as the areas of greatest contention surrounding the establishment of the zones in the former USSR. It is concluded that the FEZ reform effectively remained stuck in the planning stages for a number of inter-related factors. The failure of the central authorities to reach a consensus on the form and functioning of the zones in their country inhibited attempts to produce clear and comprehensive legislation. As was the case with many other reforms of the period, the ongoing struggles between diverse political, economic, ideological and national/ethnic interest groups greatly influenced the way in which the zone concept evolved. These conflicts, together with the resulting rapid pace of reforms and events, played a large role in the ultimate failure of the zones to move far past the planning stages.

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  • Copyright ¬© 1993 the author(s). Theses may be used for non-commercial research, educational, or related academic purposes only. Such uses include personal study, research, scholarship, and teaching. Theses may only be shared by linking to Carleton University Institutional Repository and no part may be used without proper attribution to the author. No part may be used for commercial purposes directly or indirectly via a for-profit platform; no adaptation or derivative works are permitted without consent from the copyright owner.
Date Created
  • 1993


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