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Business-State Negotiations and the Reform to Tax Procedures in Post-Yukos Russia

Stephen Fortescue is Associate Professor in Politics and International Relations in the School of Social Sciences and International Studies, University of New South Wales, Australia and Principal Fellow, Contemporary European Research Centre, University of Melbourne, Australia. He has held research positions in the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University and Centre for Russian and East European Studies, University of Birmingham. His most recent monograph is Russia’s Oil Barons and Metal Magnates. Oligarchs and the state in transition (Palgrave, 2006).

There is strong evidence that one of the major drivers of Russian President Putin’s pursuit of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his company Yukos was irritation at the oligarch’s vigorous lobbying of his tax interests in parliament. It is therefore noteworthy that big business interests continue to be pursued there, including during the recent consideration of legislation on tax procedures. In this article, two con­trasting views of the business-state relationship under Putin are used to frame an analysis of this particular legislation: Luong and Weinthal’s view of a successful negotiated relationship without a coer­cive element, and Tompson’s account of a negotiated agreement that was unable to withstand the differing interests of the two sides and succumbed to state coercion. The policy process that produced the tax procedure legislation suggests that even post-Yukos the opportunity exists for a negotiated relationship, with parliament playing a signifi­cant intermediary role. The conclusion is reached, nevertheless, that there is an insufficient commonality of interests for a stable institu­tionalised relationship.

(2006) 24 No 2 Law in Context 36-59

   
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