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Article

Iarskaia-Smirnova E., Lyons K. Editorial // International Social Work, 57(5). P. 431-434

International Social Work. 2014. Vol. 57. No. 5. P. 431-434.

In this issue we present a range of papers about current issues and developments in social work and welfare in Russia. In the Soviet era official state policy did not recognise the existence of social problems so social work was ‘not needed’ in the USSR, a situation which existed to varying degrees in other countries under state socialism (Iarskaia-Smirnova, 2013). The disciplines of sociology and psychology (which could form a basis for critical thinking and professional interventions) were eliminated from university curricula, except in forms which accorded with the dominant political view, and dissent was repressed. There have been major changes in political thinking, societal attitudes and welfare developments since perestroika started in 1985, and particularly since 1991 when the Soviet Union was dissolved, Russia then became open to relationships with western powers and capitalist economic thinking. However, Russia remains a considerable independent power with a distinct history and culture. In this editorial we give a brief overview of the historical and other contextual factors which are informing the particular nature and direction of current developments, some aspects of which are described in the articles.