This paper examines the relations between postcommunist states and the powerful economic groups that dominated the early stages of postcommunist economic restructuring. The main argument is that the strategic actions of “winners” systematically undermine the capacity of state institutions and the organizational coherence of administrative agencies. Against the background of a detailed study of one particular story of “postcommunist success”, the rise of Multigroup in Bulgaria, I explore the concrete manifestations of “state weakness” in postcommunism, the nature of redistributive conflicts the former socialist societies, and the historical specificity of the processes undermining the organizational bases of governance in the former Soviet world.

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