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The chapter traces and explains responses to deinstitutionalisation reforms in the Russian regions. Three parallel policy shifts are taken into account: deinstitutionalisation (DI), public sector reform, and social provision reform. Considered together, they shed light on the logic behind childcare reform implementation at the regional level in the broader context of social policy transformations in Russia. Taking a neo-institutional perspective, the chapter studies compliance and resistance as two types of responses to the federal demand to introduce a new institutional design. Three institutional changes are in focus: (1) the restructuring of public providers with an emphasis on support services and the temporary placement of children; (2) changes to which ministries are in charge of alternative care; and (3) downsizing public sector agents traditionally responsible for this type of care and outsourcing social services to NGOs. The chapter seeks to identify regions that either comply with or resist these reforms, exploring how regional contexts explain variation in responses. The chapter’s empirical analysis reveals regional patterns of resistance and compliance as well as exceptional cases and the socioeconomic contexts which account for them.
The authors introduce ongoing child welfare reform in Russia, consider the international and national context, as well as the main drivers of these reforms and their current results. In addition, a literature review of field is also provided. Child welfare reform in Russia builds on the idea of every child’s right to grow up in a family. The main aim is to deinstitutionalize the child welfare system by promoting adoptions and fostering, restructuring the remaining residential institutions into home-like environments and creating community-based family support services. The chapter introduces the main concepts and terminology used to describe the child welfare system, the research questions of the volume, and employs a neo-institutionalist framework as the theoretical framework of the book. The volume analyses how reform is implemented, which echoes a fundamental change in the ideological premises of child welfare policy. Thus, the reform has shifted the course of the child welfare policy in Russia. The volume examines how the reforms are affecting the institutions and practices of child welfare in Russia, what kind of institutional change has followed the shift in the ideals, and what are the intended and unintended consequences of these reform processes. Finally, the chapter gives a brief overview of the chapters in the volume.
The chapter analyzes the social conditions for the emergence, formation and development of sociology in China. Among the main factors contributing to the development of sociology in China were the translation activities of Chinese scientists, activities of foreign missions in China, the new opportunities for exchange and training of Chinese students in foreign universities, the experience of conducting applied research carried out by American sociologists in China and etc. The Chinese sociological society appeared in the early 1930s. Their activity included publishing of the sociological journals and conducting of the applied sociological researches. Particular attention is paid to the analysis of the development process of Chinese sociology during the period of the Cultural Revolution, accompanied by a series of ups and downs, because to the complete ban of sociology as a science in China until the end of the 1970s, when its revival began. Nowadays Chinese sociology is a fully institutionalized science, there are number of Chinese Universities and departments where the sociological disciplines are taught, also there are several institutions and think tanks. Chinese sociologies paid great attentions to the following topics: problems of employment in small towns, family and marriage relations, social transformation and modernization of society, problems of arranging social life in rural areas, and others.
This article examines the causes of dysfunction in the political machines of Russian regions. According to existing studies, one of the main factors limiting the effectiveness of political machines is the rotation of governors and the Kremlin’s practice of appointing officials who have no previous ties to the region (so-called “Varangians”). Using a unique database of biographies of the municipal heads of Bashkortostan, this study provides a detailed explanation of the causal link between the rotation of the governor and the subsequent failure of the political machine, arguing that it is not so much the status of the new governor as a change in the management model of local elites that leads to a decline in incumbents’ electoral support. Local elites are a key link in the mechanism of the political machine, but they respond to the demands of the regional authorities only when their interests and political patronage are guaranteed by the governor. The lack of such guarantees leads to the loss of loyalty from local elites, negatively impacting the work of the political machine.
This article contributes to the emerging literature on the role of constitutional courts in consociational democracies. While most works have approached the topic from the perspective of regime dynamics, this analysis focuses on how courts relate to the constitutions they are mandated to enforce. Beyond addressing the empirical question of what choices courts make in their balancing between universal values and stability, this article also investigates how courts do this balancing. Through the analysis of seven cases from two consociations, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Northern Ireland, I argue that courts embrace specific interpretive approaches (proportionality analysis, purposive interpretation, and the political question doctrine) to reconcile the ideas of constitutional supremacy and respect for political agreements. The analysis also demonstrates how—by their nature political—framework agreements establishing consociational settlements become primary reference points for interpreting constitutional documents.
This study analyzes roll call voting in the Council of Ministers from December 2003 to May 2019 in order to identify the factors that determine the strategies of coalition behavior of 28 EU Member States. The analysis makes possible to single out two important cleavages affecting the coalitional preferences of the Ministers of states. The first cleavage is observed between the EU members from Eastern and Western Europe. The second cleavage is associated with the duration of the countries’ EU membership. The rationalistic intentions of member countries related to the agenda of the Council and their ideological preferences also influence the process of coalition formation and allow the EU states to go beyond the geographic and ‘temporal’ cleavages.
The chapter explores civilization as a sociological concept. Rooted in the works of Shmuel Eisenstadt and Johann Arnason, this concept has been used by sociologists to describe processes of modernization and the condition of modernity. During the last decade, this current has received some attention in Russian sociology. In sociological use, civilizational analysis has offered an alternative to the politicized, Huntington-inspired civilizationism. The chapter provides an introduction to civilizational analysis surveying its recent impact on Russian sociological scholarship.
This article addresses the puzzle of electoral engineering in autocracies using data from three rounds of Russian regional legislative elections between 2003 and 2017. The analysis shows that electoral engineering was widespread in regions where governors lacked the resources necessary to rely on blatant forms of electoral malpractice for the benefit of United Russia. This pattern became evident during the third round of regional legislative elections. The study indicates that the manipulation of electoral systems may be important for authoritarian rulers when they are unable to rely on blatant electoral malpractice to ensure the certainty of electoral outcomes.
Field experiments have provided ample evidence of ethnic and racial discrimination in the labour market. Less is known about how discrimination varies in multi-ethnic societies, where the ethnic composition of populations is different across locations. Inter-group contact and institutional arrangements for ethnic minorities can mitigate the sense of group threat and reduce discrimination. To provide empirical evidence of this, we conduct a field experiment of ethnic discrimination in Russia with a sample of over 9,000 job applications. We compare ethnically homogeneous cities and cities with ethnically mixed populations and privileged institutional status of ethnic minorities. We find strong discrimination against visible minorities in the former but much weaker discrimination in the latter. These findings demonstrate how institutions and historical contexts of inter-group relations can affect ethnic prejudice and discrimination.
The article deals with analysis of role of childhood metaphor in Russia’s media discourse on international relations. The authors consider symbolic infantilization as a means of symbolic politics, which consists of likening an individual or group to a child in order to gain advantages in the political struggle. The potential use of the childhood metaphor in politics is due to the fact that the adult / child opposition is attracted as a matrix to denote relations of power and
submission. In the hegemonic discourse of modern Russian media, the symbolic infantilization of the Other is part of the remasculinization of Russia, one of the functions of which is the legitimization of power through the infantilization of its opponents endowed with traits of irresponsibility, incompetence, and capriciousness. Using the metaphor of childhood, Western countries and post-Soviet states are also described, which contributes to the representation of
Russia as a strong, sovereign, rational, that is, “adult” country. An analysis of the case of representations of today’s Ukraine showed that Ukrainian society is directly labeled as infantile, as well as indirect - by attributing faith in miracles, emotionality, egocentrism, irresponsibility, and the inability to self-control.
In recent decades the term “civilization” has reached beyond academic and intellectual discourses as a category of identity construction and policy description. In the Russian case, the civilizational talk demonstrates a specific dialectic of domestic and foreign policy aspects. Since the 1990s, the concept of “civilization” has been used increasingly for descriptions of post-Soviet Russian identity in academic and public discourses. It has also penetrated into political rhetoric. In particular, it played an important role in re-interpretation of the Soviet historical narrative by the post-Soviet Communists. In the 2000s an evident rehabilitation of the imperial legacy in the Russian public discourse facilitated its further proliferation. The author of the chapter agrues that the attractiveness of the concept of “civilization” in the Russian case grounds on the symbolic resources that took shape over time. Two aspects of the historical tradition are particularly important here. The first is Russia’s imperial legacy. It involves a competition of different nationalisms which impedes a consolidation of the multiethnic nation. At the same time it provides cultural and symbolic resources that tempt to use a sub-national / civilizational template. The second is long tradition of constructing the Russian identity through correlation with Europe/the “West” that produced a rich repertoire of ideas, symbols and narratives facilitating its representation in civilizational terms. The chapter explores the general historical patterns of discursive construction of the Russian/Soviet identity focusing on the ideas of nation and civilization as competing templates of imagination. It demonstrates that the disposition of contemporary ruling elite to use both national and civilizational terms for description of post-Soviet Russian identity is a result of a long tradition of its construction by mixed templates, without fully fitting to neither one.
This article analyses how global governance frameworks and knowledge claims are
translated to fit local contexts. It specifically looks at harm reduction initiatives targeting
injection drug users utilising the case of Tajikistan. In the 1990s, this post–Soviet
Central Asian country became exposed to an inflow of cheap and easily available heroin
from Afghanistan. While Tajikistan mainly became a transit country, some parts of the
local population also became addicted. To tackle the negative consequences of heroin
addiction, starting from the 1990s international donors proposed the country adopt
a range of harm reduction measures, including providing access to opioid substitution
therapy and establishing drop-in centres where single-use needles and syringes would
be distributed. This article discusses how donor-promoted harm reduction initiatives
were localised in Tajikistan, why and with what outcomes. It argues that instead
of a full acceptance or rejection of knowledge promoted by international actors, a
complex translation process can be observed on the ground. International norms are
thus localised by taking into account societal attitudes towards injection drug users,
the changing nature of legitimate expertise, evolving national legislation and everyday
practices, against the background of other conflicting global governance regimes and
local geopolitical priorities.
In Russia, formal constitutional principles of federalism cannot be abolished without putting the country’s political stability at significant risk. Even the Soviet leadership could not afford to take such chances. The size of the Russian territory, its diversity, the importance of its historical memory (both the Russian Empire and the Soviet federal construction), and the presence of ethnic regions all make abolishing formal constitutional principles unpractical. Thus, federalism as a constitutional principle is invariably maintained by the Russian leadership. Yet many scholars say that federal institutions do not work in Russia, or that a genuine federal principle is simply inconsistent with authoritarian rule.
Without refuting these arguments, we suggest that the situation surrounding federal relations in modern Russia is more complicated. We argue that formal federal institutions create a potential latent threat to the stability of the country’s regime. Federal relations seem largely irrelevant because Moscow constantly preemptively works against institutions of federalism, trying to carefully suppress the potentially dangerous effects of federalism. As a result, federal relations in Russia are a combination of formal and informal rules, where informal non-federal practices prevail. While this system is neither homogenous nor strong, it nevertheless remains stable. It has endured through institutions that suppress regional demands for autonomy and deprive them of representation at the national level.
The Russian leadership promotes a vision of a multipolar world where major powers must have their own “zones of influence.” This implies that other “great powers” have to recognize Moscow’s sphere of dominance over the post-Soviet realm. It also makes Russia’s neighbors increasingly reluctant to delegate their sovereignty to institutions of regional integration, as those are likely to become instruments of Russian domination. As the partners do not trust Russia, they insist on a limited character of integration projects. Russia is more likely to be successful in using asymmetric bilateral bargains rather than multilateral institutions to dominate the post-Soviet region.
Based on the distinction between three approaches to loneliness, and the
development of the phenomenological and existential framework of loneliness
studies, this article explores Russia’s discourse of national loneliness on three
levels: a) the level of the official discourse of the Russian government; b) the level
of political and philosophical concepts; and c) the level of popular media and cinema
(with a specific focus on a case-study of the post-Soviet Russian blockbuster film
Brother and its sequel, Brother 2 ). In this article I concentrate on the particular
experiences of loneliness and their interpretations in Russia after the fall of
the USSR. The case of the fall of the USSR has shown that social and political
exploitations of different forms of national loneliness can become the flip side of
the doctrine of autonomy, equal individual rights and freedom from authoritarian
rule. This should be considered and never disregarded within our analysis of the
contours and new transformations of emerging hegemonic discourses, including the
different forms of nationalism in Russia, and in a wider cross-cultural perspective.
This article explores changing transport-logistic capabilities of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) and Russia’s policy to further develop them. The authors begin with a study of latest changes in the NSR management system in Russia, and characterise a series of systemic measures undertaken by Moscow over the last decade to improve the transport potential of the NSR. They also assess Russia’s key actors, their economic interests and projects in the Arctic, emphasising that large scale energy and infrastructure development projects have become catalysts to accelerate development of the NSR. However, the main research issue of this paper is to determine the most optimal conditions for the NSR utilisation that could ensure time and cost savings for shipping carriers. According to the authors, the key obstacle to successful development of trans-Arctic shipping is the lack of an economically effective model to organise it along the NSR. In this regard, the main research thesis that the authors are trying to prove is that the application of the concept of shuttle transportation between two large logistic hubs, built on the basis of the ports of Murmansk and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky will create optimal conditions for trans-Arctic shipping along the NSR. Another research issue for this paper is to assess the prospects of the NSR as an international transport line. For this purpose, recent trends in Arctic shipping and the prospective for international cooperation in the implementation of major LNG extraction and transport-logistic projects in the Arctic have been analysed.
This book is an analysis of the developments associated with the Belt and Road Initiative (B&RI) five years after Xi Jinping announced both the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) and the 21st Maritime Silk Road (21MSR). Together, these two dimensions constitute the B&RI, providing the so-called Chinese ‘project of the century’ with regional, inter-regional and global reach. This book aims at assessing the impact of the B&RI in all these dimensions and levels of influence. This is a current and promising theme, not only in the short and medium terms, but also within a broader timescale, reflecting Chinese strategic thinking itself, since Chinese philosophy and culture are oriented towards long-term and inter-generational perspectives. Likewise, both the title of this publication and the way it has been organized result from the empirical perception that China asserts a conservative attitude towards foreign affairs, redesigned in multiple dimensions, to create a perception of domestic unity and global prestige. In this vein of thought, the B&RI is already influencing and will continue to influence, directly or indirectly, the current economic and political order.
The paper aims at contributing to the debate on whether open govern-ment impacts the quality of governance, and if so, identify the causal mechanisms that might be evident to support this impact. Using structural equation modeling, we test the sample of country-level data from 2014 to 2017, assessing the direct effect of open government on the government effectiveness, as well as its indirect effect via the levels of democracy and corruption. Our analysis confirms that open government may have positive effects on the quality of governance, but this effect is moderated by the level of corruption in a country.
This paper explores the phenomenon of e-voting, in particular, new i-voting technologies, within the context of hybrid and authoritarian political regimes. While e-voting and i-voting are not particularly widespread, more and more illiberal countries are implementing these innovations, which has been overlooked in the academia so far. The paper attempts to fill in this gap. Firstly, we provide a general overview of the problem and identify the key features of non-democracies adopting e-voting and i-voting. Secondly, we explore the case of Russia, a hybrid regime, which may become a role model for other countries in the near future. The research exposes the potential of e-voting, and in particular, i-voting as a tool for the regime stability and provides some avenues of the future research.
In the period after the global financial crisis of 2008, a new economic model have emerged - “platform capitalism”. Platform companies attracted huge ammount of money, allowing for a while to solve the problem of investment and supporting the financial market. The basis of this economic model is network effects produced by the integrated digital infrastructure, which contribute to monopolization and the constant expansion of platform companies in new areas. The principle of functioning of this infrastructure is the constant collection and further monetization of data extracted from the interactions of individuals with each other or with one of the elements of a digital economy or governance structures. This paper is devoted to the analysis of the logic of the emergence of “platform capitalism” as an effect of structural contradictions of neoliberalism (financialization, permanent market instability). The paper focuses on the transformation of the advertising market under the influence of platform companies, using the US example, to show the mechanism of digital disruption in print media business model. The development of digital infrastructure has allowed platform companies to collect and monetize data, deliver personalized ads to users throughout the internet. A structural shift has occurred - traditional media have ceased to be the main channels for transmitting advertising messages to certain social groups, advertising platforms are able to find them and deliver them ads on their own. In the framework of “platform capitalism”, many print media in order to survive try to transform themselves in accordance with the logic of the economic platform model (developing their website, data collection and monetization, integration into the logic of social networks).
The transformation of the peaceful demonstrations, which started on November 21, 2013, against Yanukovych’s decision to suspend the signing of the association agreement with the EU, into the bloodshed in Kyiv and eastern Ukraine, has vividly demonstrated that the rhetoric of the “protection of Russian-speakers’ rights” can be easily transformed from the level of “discursive threats” to the real threat of Ukraine’s dissolution. Therefore, the article seeks to explain how language-related issues were securitized in public discussions in leading Ukrainian blogs and on news websites that function in the Russian language after the Revolution of Dignity. The analysis of journalistic articles and users’ comments encompasses the period of 2013–2015 when the Russian–Ukrainian conflict and the discussion of language issues reached its climax. It is argued that despite an extreme presence of anti-Russian (anti-imperialist) arguments and consolidation over the idea of Ukrainian as the only state language (“one nation–one language”), arguments that supported an equal legal status of Russian- and Ukrainian-speakers were also to be found in selected digital media outlets. The analysis has also demonstrated that for most online users of Ukrainian digital media that function in Russian, the state language is constructed as the language discriminated against in its own national state.