1 March 2019: Lineages of Baltic Neoliberalisation: Reflections on Class, Revolution and Capital Accumulation

Leiden University’s Central and East European Studies Center cordially invites you to attend the lecture

Lineages of Baltic Neoliberalisation: Reflections on Class, Revolution and Capital Accumulation

by Jokubas Salyga

  • Date: Friday 1 March 2019
  • Time: 16:00-17:30
  • Venue: Institute of Political Science, Wassenaarseweg 52 2333 AK Leiden, Pieter de la Court building, room 5.B14

Focusing on the first decade of neoliberal restructuring in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania Jokubas Salyga will recover unfashionable analytical categories of class, revolution and capital accumulation. Conceptualising the trajectory of social change as a variant of political revolution, emblematic of considerable continuity in the mode of class rule prior and after the ‘watershed’ year of 1991, his intention is to re-evaluate the reform pattern of the early nineties from a critical political economy perspective that is responsive to local idiosyncrasies. This is accomplished on four inter-related registers. Firstly, previously unstudied and divergent trajectories of neoliberal reform coalitions following the liberalisation of Soviet travel regime are excavated and compared. Secondly, in contradistinction to postulations proclaiming that successful ‘transition’ effort necessitated the ‘hollowing out’ of the state, an emphasis is placed on what I call ‘authoritarian neoliberal statecraft’, evinced in the institutional architecture geared at the implementation of currency and monetary reforms (currency boards) that in turn laid the basis for particular neoliberal regulatory regimes of Baltic economies. Thirdly, engaging with privatisation processes in three national contexts, arguments positing the all-powerful role of transnational social forces are qualified by underscoring the processes of domestic capital consolidation and labour struggles. Finally, accentuating ‘transition’ outcomes pertaining to contracted average standard of living, increases in income and wealth inequality and the expansion of the pool of the poor at the bottom, the presentation concludes with a critique of post-structuralist inclinations to portray post-Soviet strategies of survival as everyday practices of resistance.

Jokubas Salyga

Jokubas Salyga is a PhD candidate at the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham and a Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ) and at ZEIT-Stiftung. He holds a BA in International Relations from the Queen Mary, University of London, MA in International Relations and MSc in Social Research Methods from the University of Sussex. His doctoral research addresses historical sociology of state-formation and capitalist development in the Baltic states over the longue durée with specific emphasis on the development of capitalist relations of production against the backdrop of revolutionary dynamics of social change during the inter-war, Soviet and post-Soviet periods. He is more broadly interested in the themes of origins and periodisation of capitalist mode of production, historical materialist interpretations of Soviet-style societies, resistance to neoliberalism in Eastern and Central Europe and Baltic historiography. Jokubas’ book reviews and online contributions have appeared in Political Studies Review, Europe-Asia Studies, Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe, Journal of Soviet & Post-Soviet Politics and Society and Progress Political Economy.