FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Comparative analysis of cooperative legislation in the Post-Soviet countries

Photo: ©FAO/Alessia Pierdomenico

On this web-site you will find four short essays on the comparative analysis of the Cooperative Legislation and the list of legislative acts regulating issues of cooperation in the countries of the former Soviet Union.

The cooperative movement has a centuries-long history. 

In 1844, the first consumer cooperative was established in England in the town of Rochdale by a group of so-called "Rochdale pioneers". The first rural credit cooperative was created in 1864 by Friedrich Raiffeisen, the mayor of the German town of Gedersdorf. These early cooperatives were aimed at providing access for the rural poor to good quality foods and consumer products, as well as to financial resources and credit at reasonable rates. The Rochdale pioneers formulated the cooperative principles that govern the activities of the International Cooperative Alliance to the present day.

Cooperatives were transferred to the Russian Empire by liberal-minded landowners and other prominent agrarian activists. Prior to 1917, Russia had accumulated 50 years of valuable experience in the development of agricultural and fishing cooperatives. Unfortunately, this experience was lost during the Soviet era. Of all the different types of cooperation, only quasi-cooperative production associations - collective farms - were developed in the USSR, while the classical forms of Rochdale-model consumer cooperatives were not developed at all. The revival of agricultural consumer ooperatives began during the Perestroika years with the proclamation of the "Law on Cooperatives" in May 1988. Following this Law, legislation governing cooperatives began to emerge in almost all of the post-Soviet countries in the 1990s.


Essays on 
cooperative legislation

List of legislation

Photo: ©FAO/Vasily Maksimov

Photo: ©FAO/Vasily Maksimov

Photo: ©FAO/Johan Spanner