Unpacking the Black Box of Institutional Reform
As the communist transition unfolded in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, strong and effective judiciary reform would have created a judiciary system that supported a conducive, market-based business environment. Without private property protection, contracts are not enforced, access to the courts is unequal, and a market economy cannot take root. Yet, in many transition countries judiciary reform has been slow or insufficient. Much attention, instead, has been devoted to the development of laws and regulations.
In Russia, the INDEM (Information Science for Democracy) Foundation – one of the first Russian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) founded in 1990 – set out three years ago to analyze the state of the judicial system in Russia. One of the main instigators of this analysis was a complaint frequently heard from many Russian entrepreneurs: “Give us a proper judicial system and we will solve all of our other problems ourselves.” Given Russia’s checkered experience with judicial reform, INDEM aimed to discover why certain institutional reform initiatives do not always bring about the intended results. Building on its previous work on anti-corruption in Russia, INDEM decided to analyze judicial system functionality. The findings, however, present a broader set of lessons learned from the Russian transition that can be applied to any institutional reforms.
Georgi Satarov is a founding member and, since 1997, president of the INDEM (Information Science for Democracy) Foundation in Moscow, Russia. Prior to INDEM, he was general director of the Russian Public Policy Center and served as an advisor to President Yeltsin. He also is a member of the Presidential Commission on Government Reform, the Vice-Chairman of the National Anti-corruption Committee (a non-governmental organization), a member of the United Commission for the Coordination of Legislative Activities, and a member of the World Bank External Advisory Board on Governance and Anti-corruption. He has a PhD in systems and management analysis and a master’s in mathematics and teaches at Moscow State University.
Established in 1990, INDEM Foundation is one of the first Russian non-governmental organizations. INDEM promotes the ideals and values of democracy by assisting in the development of civil society and consultancy to Russian public officials and government bodies. In its activities, INDEM addresses a wide range of issues: anticorruption, justice assistance, governance reform, political, ethnic, federalist and regional issues, and international cooperation. For research purposes INDEM develops unique sociological, statistical, and information technology methods.
The views expressed by the author are his own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE). CIPE grants permission to reprint, translate, and/or publish original articles from its Economic Reform Feature Service provided that (1) proper attribution is given to the original author and to CIPE and (2) CIPE is notified where the article is placed and a copy is provided to CIPE’s Washington office.
- Democratic Governance
- Access to Information
- Combating Corruption
- Business Association Development
- Corporate Governance
- Legal & Regulatory Reform
- Informal Sector & Property Rights
- Corporate Citizenship (CSR)
- South Asia
- Southeast Europe
- Middle East & North Africa
- Latin America & the Caribbean