Director of the Visiting Fellows Programme
Anna Korhonen
Head of International Affairs
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Eeva Korteniemi
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Location & Connections


Visiting Fellows 2011-2012



Linda J. Cook, Brown University

Distributive Politics in an Electoral-Authoritarian Regime:  Health Care in the Russian Federation”
Fellowship period: 1-31 August 2011 and tbc: May 2012

Linda J. Cook is Professor and Acting Chair in the Political Science Department at Brown University.  She is an associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University and a faculty associate of the Watson Center for International Studies at Brown, where she directed the International Relations Program from 2000-2002.  Cook holds a BA in political science from Boston University (1975), an MA (1979) and Ph.D. (1985) from Columbia University.  She serves on the Editorial Collective of Studies in Comparative International Development and as an advisory editor of Oxford Bibliographies On-Line.  She is author of The Soviet Social Contract and Why it Failed:  Welfare Policy and Workers’ Politics from Brezhnev to Yeltsin (Harvard 1993), Postcommunist Welfare States:  Reform Politics in Russia and Eastern Europe (Cornell 2007), co-editor of Left Parties and Social Policy in Postcommunist Europe (Westview 1999), has articles in Comparative Politics, Post-Soviet Affairs, Europe-Asia Studies, and other publications on Russian politics, welfare states, labor and representation.  Cook has received research grants from NCEEER, the Kennan Institute, IREX and the Davis Center.  In 2011-12 she will be a Visiting Fellow at the Aleksanteri Institute for Russian and Eastern European Studies, University of Helsinki, Finland.  Her current research centers on distributive politics in electoral-authoritarian regimes, particularly the politics of health care distribution and access in East European postcommunist states. 

Abstract of current research
My current research focuses on distributive politics in electoral-authoritarian regimes, which have proliferated in recent decades. Though these regimes are in important respects authoritarian, they hold open limited arenas for protest and opposition, and can be threatened by mass disaffection or elites’ defection. Moreover states have ceded monopolistic control over welfare provision, allowing NGOs, charitable organizations, and private actors to provide social services. Scholars have begun to examine sources of stability and instability in electoral-authoritarian regimes; my project looks at the implications for distributive politics and social welfare.

My research at the Aleksanteri Institute focuses on the Russian Federation as an electoral-authoritarian regime, and the specific case of health care distribution.  I will look at patterns of provision and access to health care at four sites in Russia:  St. Petersburg, an immigrant enclave in Moscow, the provincial city of Lipetsk, and the rural Sortavala region.  The project will map the distribution of health care facilities at each site, including state, NGO, charitable, and private facilities; study health care access and expenditure as social and political issues in local politics and national elections, through press and expert interviews; and lay the groundwork to design and test a sample population-level survey on expectations, methods, problems, and reliance on political mediation to access health care. During the Visiting Fellowship my work will concentrate mainly on the St. Petersburg and Sortavala cases, taking advantage of the Aleksanteri Institutes’ library and internet resources, as well as its researchers’ considerable  field experience in these regions.  The research should reveal whether Russia’s government is responding to or ignoring vital needs of various populations, and to what extent it is ceding key governmental functions to informal and non-state organizations. 

Email: Linda_Cook [at]
Personal website:

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Aino Saarinen and Meri Kulmala