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An evaluation of the persistence of blat in post-soviet societies: a case study of Ukraine's health services sector

[journal article]

Williams, Colin C.; Onoshchenko, Olga

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Please use the following Persistent Identifier (PID) to cite this document:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-455239

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Abstract The use of personal connections to gain preferential access to goods and services and to circumvent formal procedures exists in all countries to varying degrees. In this paper, the aim is to critically evaluate the continuing widespread positive depiction of this practice as a form of friendly help. Studying the health services sector in the city of Mykolayiv in Ukraine, this practice known as blat, which was widely used in Soviet societies to gain access to goods and services, is shown to persist in post-Soviet market societies, albeit transformed. Those possessing connections and access to health services now increasingly view such access-assets as commodities to sell rather than provide them as non-monetised friendly favours. The outcome is a call for blat to be re-theorised more negatively as an exemplar of the darker side of social capital, and for a policy shift from doing nothing to seeking its eradication.
Keywords social capital; public health services; Ukraine; corruption
Classification Health Policy
Document language English
Publication Year 2015
Page/Pages p. 46-63
Journal Studies of Transition States and Societies, 7 (2015) 2
ISSN 1736-8758
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution