This chapter looks at the impact of ownership structure on the performance of firms in Russia and identifies, within the domain of corporate governance theory, the factors that may explain any revealed differences in such performance and that of their counterparts in other industrialized countries. When market reforms started in Russia, it was anticipated that mass privatization would create ‘responsible’ owners and, as a result, produce a foundation on which economic reconstruction and growth would flourish. These expectations have on the whole failed to materialize. Restructuring in privatized firms has been slow, fixed production assets show a significant rate of wear, and innovation activity is low as is the competitiveness of domestic goods. Significantly, the inability of new owners to lead the firms forward has been consistently identified by experts as one of the causes of the poor economic performance of Russian companies (Nellis, 1999; Desai and Goldberg, 2000).
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