Developing an Age-friendly City in Russia
The Age-Friendly Cities (AFC) framework is being developed by the World Health Organization and has become a global concept. This paper analyses the findings of Age-Friendly Cities Project (AFC) conducted by the author with the World Health Organisation in Russia and the author’s experience of implementing the AFC Framework in the Senior Resource Centre “Wisdom Ripening” in the city of Tuymazy, Republic of Bashkortostan. Methods, used for the paper, include literature review; focus groups reserach (WHO Global AFC Project); interviews with the NGO professionals in Minnesota, USA; interviews and survey of older persons and volunteers, participating in activities of Senior Resource Centre “Wisdom Ripening”.
Despite the economic and political transitions, slowly recovering birth rate and low life expectancy in 2016 older people are predicted to constitute a quarter of total population (24.8%) in Russia. People considered old now and getting old soon are 'children of the Soviets', which means they've inherited lack of personal initiative, little understanding of the concept of volunteering, and paternalistic views that the State must provide all for people. Younger older people (60-69) reveal the same patterns of very low civic engagement as the rest of the population (4-4.5%), naturally the rate drops further for older ages. However, older people volunteer more frequently than others for particular organizations such as veterans' unions, local communities and condominiums' baords and committees, religious organizations. This role is supported by public expectations that older people're engaged with their families and homes only (63%), 28% believe they are a burden, however 42% think they're a resource. A number of nonprofits do offer a range of volunteer opportunities for older people.
This paper is aimed at applying and analyzing international active ageing indices in Russia, including the Active Ageing Index (AAI), developed by European Centre Vienna, and Global AgeWatch Index by HelpAge International, to provide the base for cross-national comparison and development of a comprehensive national policy on active ageing. Our research was motivated by the following questions (1) to what extent can the international approaches to measure active ageing be applied to the Russian context and data? (2) to what extent a country’s position in the ranking is sensitive to the index methodology and data used? (3) whether and under what conditions Russia can improve its positions in the active ageing indices? To answer these questions, we estimated the AAI for Russia based on eight data sources and recalculated some of the AgeWatch Index results based on reliable data. The methodology of both indices and the quality and adequacy of the data used are discussed in detail in the paper. The results show that ranking of Russia according to these indices varies considerably from the 65th place out of 96 countries by the Global AgeWatch Index to the 18th place among 29 countries (28 EU countries plus Russia) by the AAI. Nevertheless, both indices draw rather similar pictures of active ageing potential in Russia. We provide some recommendations on how the indicators can be modified to capture some peculiarities of the ageing context in Russia and other countries with similar demographic, economic and social context.
This article discusses an important issue of older people’s image in the modern world. The authors’ research results demonstrate that perceptions of older people in Russia are quite controversial, but overall are rather negative. Poverty, inadequacy to the modern world (both in terms of life experience and adaptability to the modern life style), passiveness and concentration on the family and home were reported by the respondents as qualities most typical for older people. However, these perceptions change towards more positive ones while talking about older people they know closely and expectations towards their own older age appear to be more of active ageing, active life style.
After the economic and ideological changes of the 1990’s older people in Russia have shifted to become the most vulnerable, poor and disrespected group in the country’s population. However, despite the slowly recovering birth rate and low life expectancy, the older population is predicted to constitute almost a quarter of the Russian population (24.8%) in 2016.
However, so called “people’s universities” have long been part of the Soviet tradition and were renewed mostly for the education for older people in the post-Soviet era. Mostly they are supported by non-profit organisations and offer informal education on a range of topics and crafts. These programmes have proved to be enjoyed by older learners and are recognised to be major contributors to active ageing in Russia. Nevertheless, their numbers and capacities are not sufficient to respond to the variety of needs and interests of older people. At the same time large formal educational institutions such as universities do not usually consider the older population to be a target audience for their programmes.
Nevertheless, some political steps have been made by a few Russian regions. This article reports on a national survey of University of the Third Age-type provision for older people in eight cities nationwide. For example, in the Republic of Bashkortostan a region-wide governmentally sponsored programme, “Third Age Universities for All”, came into operation in 2011. A small survey of U3A students in one city is reported. It suggests that while the programme needs to be amended in many ways, it sets a worthwhile precedent and hopefully will be followed by other regions.
The chapter discusses the development of an age-friendly program in the Russian Federation from the first research stage in the city of Tuymazy to its current state of the regional program with 21 participating municipalities. Background information on the project’s initiation in the introductory section is followed by three parts. In the first part, based on the data of the research phase, we examine conditions that preceded the program and suggestions for improvements made by the city residents. In the second part, we discuss steps and strategies that helped us to trigger and develop the age-friendly project in the city of Tuymazy and beyond. In the third part, we review the current state of the regional program, identify challenges and constraints for its further development and sustainability, and in conclusion, we provide a summary of our analysis.
International Perspectives on Age-Friendly Cities
In upcoming decades, the Baltic Sea States will face considerable challenges with regard to population ageing. In the majority of the countries (Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Russian Federation and Sweden), between 31% and 28% of the population will be 65 years or older in 2050. For the remaining countries (Denmark, Estonia, Iceland and Norway), the corresponding numbers range between 27% and 24% (UN Population Division, 2001). This disproportionate age distribution yields significant social and economic consequences, mainly due to a shrinking labour force and increasing financial imbalances within the region’s social security, pension and healthcare systems. Sustainable policies are needed to address the causes and consequences of demographic change, as population ageing will have strong impacts, not only on economic growth, but also on social cohesion (between social groups) and social sustainability (between generations) within the region. Therefore, it is essential to learn more about how to best make use of the resources at hand by fostering active and healthy ageing, and increasing the labour force participation of older people.
In this volume, 11 chapters are dedicated to describe the specific situation in each of the Baltic Sea State countries. The authors are researchers with profound expertise of the national situation of the workforce participation of older adults, whose articles compile the national status quo, highlight pathways of reforms in the retirement system, and provide evidence- based policy recommendations for prolonging working lives. Thus, the discussion paper provides thorough evidence and enables debate of the issues at hand from a comparative perspective, as well as in light of the Baltic Sea States region as a whole.
The paper examines the structure, governance, and balance sheets of state-controlled banks in Russia, which accounted for over 55 percent of the total assets in the country's banking system in early 2012. The author offers a credible estimate of the size of the country's state banking sector by including banks that are indirectly owned by public organizations. Contrary to some predictions based on the theoretical literature on economic transition, he explains the relatively high profitability and efficiency of Russian state-controlled banks by pointing to their competitive position in such functions as acquisition and disposal of assets on behalf of the government. Also suggested in the paper is a different way of looking at market concentration in Russia (by consolidating the market shares of core state-controlled banks), which produces a picture of a more concentrated market than officially reported. Lastly, one of the author's interesting conclusions is that China provides a better benchmark than the formerly centrally planned economies of Central and Eastern Europe by which to assess the viability of state ownership of banks in Russia and to evaluate the country's banking sector.
The paper examines the principles for the supervision of financial conglomerates proposed by BCBS in the consultative document published in December 2011. Moreover, the article proposes a number of suggestions worked out by the authors within the HSE research team.
The article is devoted to the study of the authoritarianism prevalent in the mass consciousness of Russians. The article describes a new approach to the consideration of the authoritarian syndrome as the effects of the cultural trauma as a result of political and socio-cultural transformation of society. The article shows the dynamics of the symptoms of the authoritarianism, which appear in the mass consciousness of Russians from 1993 to 2011. This paper proposes a package of measures aimed at reducing the level of the authoritarianism in Russian society.
This work looks at a model of spatial election competition with two candidates who can spend effort in order to increase their popularity through advertisement. It is shown that under certain condition the political programs of the candidates will be different. The work derives the comparative statics of equilibrium policy platform and campaign spending with respect the distribution of voter policy preferences and the proportionality of the electoral system. In particular, it is whown that the equilibrium does not exist if the policy preferences are distributed over too narrow an interval.
The article examines "regulatory requirements" as a subject of state control over business in Russia. The author deliberately does not use the term "the rule of law". The article states that a set of requirements for business is wider than the legislative regulation.
First, the article analyzes the regulatory nature of the requirements, especially in the technical field. The requirements are considered in relation to the rule of law. The article explores approaches to the definition of regulatory requirements in Russian legal science. The author analyzes legislation definitions for a set of requirements for business. The author concludes that regulatory requirements are not always identical to the rule of law. Regulatory requirements are a set of obligatory requirements for entrepreneurs’ economic activity. Validation failure leads to negative consequences.
Second, the article analyzes the problems of the regulatory requirements in practice. Lack of information about the requirements, their irrelevance and inconsistency are problems of the regulatory requirements in Russia.
Many requirements regulating economic activity are not compatible with the current development level of science and technology. The problems are analyzed on the basis of the Russian judicial practice and annual monitoring reports by Higher School of Economics.
Finally, the author provides an approach to the possible solution of the regulatory requirements’ problem. The author proposes to create a nationwide Internet portal about regulatory requirements. The portal should contain full information about all regulatory requirements. The author recommends extending moratorium on the use of the requirements adopted by the bodies and organizations of the former USSR government.