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Political Studies Review 14 (3)

during Brezhnev’s long reign. This disillusion has found itself at the epicentre of the crisis and it
produced the radical economic reform wave of was the first country that was hit hard by it; only
the early 1990s as a reaction against the Soviet recently, the newly elected government of Syriza,
system but also the cynicism and pragmatism after a long and unfortunately fruitless round of
that later triumphed once the initial post- negotiations, had to succumb to the creditors’
communist reform wave faltered. This cynicism demands for further austerity measures.
and pragmatism were behind the combina- The Politics of Extreme Austerity is a col-
tion of autocracy and market economy that lection of articles edited by Georgios Karyotis
Vladimir Putin installed after 2000. and Roman Gerodimos that tries to interpret
The question that this analysis naturally and seek solutions to the Greek crisis. It is
raises is how will Russia change in the future structured along four distinct research ques-
as the 1970s generation dies away and new tions, eloquently summarised by the editors in
generations rise to political leadership? the introduction to the book, each one of them
Vladimir Gel’man and his co-authors offer corresponding to a separate section. The
some hope that further generational–ideational research questions the contributors are called
shifts are likely to occur. They note, however, to answer are as follows: ‘How is the crisis
that this will take some time – another decade framed and represented in public debates and
or two – and that there are considerable struc- by whom?’, ‘What policies are introduced in
tural obstacles to democratisation to overcome. response and how effective are these in arrest-
It is comforting to think that we can wait out ing the crisis?’, ‘What are the implications of
the Putin generation, but it is hard to be certain these frames and policies for society and poli-
which way any generation’s ideas might tics?’, and finally, ‘What are the broader
develop. The general idea in this book is that global phenomena driving or affecting both
each generation reacts against the dominant crises and crisis management?’. As the editors
ideas of their time and this might lead to a reac- of the book rightly emphasise, ‘To understand
tion against autocracy, and that this will be austerity politics, […] each of these [ques-
helped along by globalisation and modernisa- tions] has to be analysed separately and in
tion. We shall see, but in the meantime, this relation to each other’ (p. 5), a relation that all
useful volume is the best brief history of the authors have in mind and the reader of the
recent Russian past and the ideas that have book does not fail to grasp after reading it.
driven change that we have and is recom- Each article is structured in a masterly and
mended for specialists and students alike. well-documented manner by some of the most
experienced researchers in the field. Of great
value are the interviews conducted by the edi-
Neil Robinson tors between 2009 and 2011 with former Greek
(University of Limerick) Prime Minister George Papandreou, presenting
The Author(s) 2016
his own assessment and insights of the Greek
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/1478929916649828 and European crises. This is one of the most important contributions of the book, irrespec-
tive of any disagreement with the findings of
some of the essays which one might have. This
The Politics of Extreme Austerity: Greece
study is one of the first to take Greece as a dis-
in the Eurozone Crisis by Georgios Karyotis
tinct case study and, more importantly, it opens
and Roman Gerodimos (eds). Basingstoke:
up the debate on the Greek and European cri-
Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. 323pp., £68.00 (h/b),
ses, which is a topic that will be at the centre of
ISBN 9781137369222
European development for years to come,
especially as the crisis is bound only to deepen.
The financial crisis brought on by the collapse of
the American subprime markets in 2008 shook
Nikos Christofis
the global economy, and Europe, after more than
(Leiden University)
5 years of being in a recession, has not been able
The Author(s) 2016
to deal with the consequences, resulting in a seri-
Reprints and permissions:
ous debt crisis. Greece, in particular, after a DOI: 10.1177/1478929916649829
steady and increasing growth rate for a decade,