Journal section "History of economic and sociological thought"

Revisiting the Issue of the “Initial Accumulation of Capital” in Post-Soviet Russia

Gulin K.A.

Volume 12, Issue 6, 2019

Gulin K.A. Revisiting the issue of the “initial accumulation of capital” in post-Soviet Russia. Economic and Social Changes: Facts, Trends, Forecast, 2019, vol. 12, no. 6, pp. 276–291. DOI: 10.15838/esc.2019.6.66.16

DOI: 10.15838/esc.2019.6.66.16

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
The inclusion of those economies that are “peripheral” in relation to so-called “first world” countries into the paradigm of capitalist development is a topical issue of globalization. This process turned out extremely dramatic in its implications for former Soviet republics, in particular for post-Soviet Russia. The country, which had a highly capitalized economy “at the start” of market transformation, faced the fragmentation of socialized property and its transition to the form of private ownership. Politicians, public figures, experts, and scientists often interpret the stage of the 1990s “capitalist transition” from the standpoint of the “initial accumulation of capital” – a well-known category of Marxist political economy. However, we find this approach highly controversial. The goal of our paper is to find out whether it is legitimate to talk about the applicability of the key provisions of this theory to characterize the processes that took place in Russia in the first post-Soviet decade. This can be done by analyzing the theory of initial accumulation and its modern interpretations. In the first part of the article, we give a brief overview of the development of the theory of initial capital accumulation from its original provisions formulated by K. Marx to modern interpretations of this process. The second part considers the content of a discussion on the processes of post-Soviet capitalist transformation in Russia through the prism of the theory of initial accumulation. The third part uses actual data on the dynamics of fixed assets, gross fixed capital accumulation, investment activity to make a critical assessment of the processes of capitalist accumulation of capital in Russia in the last decade of the 20th century. We conclude that in the post-Soviet period there was a fragmentation of socialized property and its transition to private ownership, which contradicts the key provisions of the concept of initial accumulation (liquidation of property of small producers and its socialization). The novelty of the obtained results lies in the fact that the historical process that took place in Russia in the last decade of the 20th century was defined as a process of appropriation and secondary redistribution of state property, accompanied by catastrophic processes of decapitalization


decapitalization, fixed assets, capital, capital accumulation, initial accumulation

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