Unwritten rules: How Russia really works?

Unwritten rules: How Russia really works?

Essay
Alena Ledeneva
04 May 2001

Western businesses and policy-makers must first grasp the "unwritten rules" that underpin the Russian economy, if they are to play a role in its transformation, according to this essay. Too often foreign investors and policy-makers focus on the ineffectiveness of the rule of law, rather than starting by looking what does work in Russia and how. "If legislative reforms and law enforcement do not operate in the expected way, it is logical to suppose that something is working against them, and working very efficiently", write author Alena Ledeneva. "What is it? A tentative answer can be found in popular wisdom: "Russia is a country of unread laws and unwritten rules."