The Tunnel at the End of the Light : Privatization, Business Networks, and Economic Transformation in Russia

The Tunnel at the End of the Light shows how radical privatization produced economic misery and political chaos in Russia. It argues that the crucial problem lies in the development of criminal and survivalist business networks that prey on Russia's wealth. It was the reversed sequence of Russian reform, which opened markets before establishing institutions to regulate and support those markets, that allowed predatory networks to take hold. The volume grew out of an essay written by Stephen S. Cohen and Andrew Schwartz in 1991, which predicted Russia's current troubles:
The collapse of the former Soviet Empire created an opportunity for the victims of one failed utopian ideology to find another. In its wake, especially in Russia, legions of Western and neo-liberal advisers sped to the cause of translating “democracy ” into elections and "a market economy" into privatization. But the task was rather the creation of an effective public administration. The task was institution building.
The Cohen and Schwartz essay, still relevant to an analysis of Russia's problems and their potential solutions, has been thoroughly updated. The book also contains chapters by Gregory Grossman on the historical sources of the underground economy; Peter Huber and Andreas Wörgotter on the development of survivalist networks, which have thwarted entrepreneurial development; Manuel Castells on the flawed integration of post-Communist Russia into the European and global economies; and M. Steven Fish on the political causes of and remedies for Russia's Racket Economy. A straightforward and sensible alternative to the views of the IMF and the the Harvard Institute for International Development, provides policy-makers, business leaders and scholars with a firm grasp of the historical background, current dynamics, and likely future outcome of Russia's political and economic crisis.
Publication date: 
January 1, 1998
Publication type: 
Cohen, S. S, Schwartz, A., & Zysman, J. (1998). The Tunnel at the End of the Light: Privatization, Business Networks, and Economic Transformation in Russia. Retrieved from