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Women And The Birth Of Russian Capitalism: A History Of The Shuttle Trade Hardcover

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AuthorIrina Mukhina
LanguageEnglish
PublisherNorthern Illinois University Press
Publication Date19/Sep/14
Book DescriptionBy the mid-1990s, shuttle trade - a practice in which individual peddlers travel abroad and then return with foreign merchandise in their suitcases for resale-constituted the backbone of Russian consumer trade and was a substantial source of revenue. Despite its importance to the Russian economy, there has been very little scholarship dedicated to the shuttle trade and its participants, most of whom were women. In this enlightening study, Irina Mukhina assesses the reasons why women were attracted to this business, the range of the personal experiences of female shuttle traders, and the social impact of women's involvement in this sort of economic activity. By analyzing the social and gendered dimensions of the shuttle trade, Mukhina argues, we can begin to understand more broadly how gender shaped the "transition" period associated with the end of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe. She demonstrates how women traders facilitated the transition to the market economy in Russia as well as how the difficulties that these women faced highlight the gap between the rhetoric of free market economy and the actual market practices. In doing so, Mukhina reveals that the shuttle trade became not only an avenue of female suffering but also of survival and even empowerment during the time that most Russians now call "the wild 1990s."
Editorial ReviewMukhina provides a succinct, perceptive history that adds depth to a growing appreciation of how economic and political change can affect the lives of ordinary people--particularly Russian women--in the post-Soviet era. --CHOICE "The book was thoroughly researched and well written and it would be of interest to historians as well as scholars interested in the economic and political transition, migration, and gender." --Journal of Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society "This volume is an important addition to student reading lists on socioeconomic and political change of the 1980s and 1990s, and on gender studies. It is a most rewarding read." --The Russian Review "This book is a valuable work in the field and fills an existing scientific void on the subject. . . . The author artfully connects international and national contexts and assesses the links between an economic transformation and a social shift. The book is also a meaningful testimony of an important period of Russian history." --Europe-Asia Studies "Irina Mukhina's study significantly enhances our understanding of how the shuttle trade, and especially women's participation in it, shaped emerging markets in Russia as communism was collapsing. It also illuminates how the traders themselves experienced this transitory period. The most important contribution this book makes is telling the story of the women involved in the shuttle trade." --Kate Transchel, California State University, Chico
About the AuthorIrina Mukhina is assistant professor of history at Assumption College, the author of The Germans of the Soviet Union, and the editor and translator of Rural Women in the Soviet Union and Post-Soviet Russia.
Number of Pages355
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