While it is becoming increasingly evident that the post-Leninist state is experiencing a considerable decline in capacity and strength, Western analysts have been slow to address the situation analytically. This essay examines the reasons for the lack of attention paid to the state by former Sovietologists, and offers a new theoretical perspective on the Leninist and post-Leninist states. The utility of this perspective is subsequently demonstrated by applying it to the case of local government reform in Poland. The inability of the Polish reform to overcome the administrative weakness of the state demonstrates both the seriousness of the problem, and the need for greater “state” consciousness on the part of post-Sovietologists.

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