The economic space quality is an important factor for the sustainable and stable development of regions. The period of stagnation of the Russian economy has had a negative impact on the dynamics of the social and economic development of the Northwest Federal District regions. The significant decline in GRP growth and fixed investment was accompanied by a significant increase in interregional differentiation, which further increased the heterogeneity of economic space. A sharp decline in the indices of «weak» regions has led to an increase in the tendency of «shrinking» of the population to sufficiently well-off regions, which creates a multiplicative effect of the increase of differentiation of the level of social and economic development of the RF subjects and further deterioration of the economic space quality. «New» factors of regional development - innovations and digitalization, do not yet have a significant impact on regional development due to their weakness. The quality of economic space is also affected by a significant reduction in interregional interaction in a stagnant economy.
Though the crisis of industrial capitalism and Fordism-Taylorism did not necessarily signify «the end of labour», it still marked its profound transformation. Above all, it affected the space–time characteristics of production, i.e. the space of labour went beyond the walls of factories. The boundary between working time and leisure time became blurred. In modernity, labour was considered a guarantee of redemption. This raises the question of what scenario of the “Economy of Salvation” can society offer to the proletariat, now replaced by the precariat, in a context of fewer jobs or when the job itself has changed. The ambivalence of leisure time now means that it is beneficial both for the worker and for leisure industries. During leisure time, the worker not only rests and recuperates, but also perfects existing skills and gains new ones, develops his/her social networks, indulges in his/her hobbies and passions. In other words, one should be completely emancipated from work, yet while being emancipated the person can continue to form his/her own subjectivity, becoming potentially more valuable for the labour market. Thus we can see that leisure time itself can turn out to be productive. Global changes in the nature of labour and leisure have caused deep social metamorphosis in Russia by way of political regime change. In this “new world”, former civil, economic and professional identities yield to stratification by habitus – everyday, consumer and cultural practices. However, will humanity be able to continue its development on the basis of leisure, not labour? Could network solidarity potentially be nourished by some kind of “livelihood allowance” or by alternative economic and ecological micro-projects, and thus be considered simply as a marginal pastime or the basis of tomorrow's polis and oikos? Western politicians regularly promise re-industrialization, while their Russian colleagues argue for the turn from raw-material to high-tech economics. What future does the barometer of cultural practices show? This is the problematic of our research team "'Cognitive capitalism' through the prism of cultural practices and discourses (comparative approach)" carried out within The National Research University Higher School of Economics’ Academic Fund Program in 2013, grant No 13-05-0013.
Special characteristics of modern employment demonstrate serious changes in the character and the content of the labour process. The phenomenon of “the end of labour in its classical sense”, which triggered heated debates in the end of the XX century, was described in details by British sociologist Z. Bauman in his work «The Individualized Society»:
“That situation has changed now, and the crucial ingredient of the change is the new ‘short term’ mentality which came to replace the ‘long term’ one. Marriages ‘till death us do part’ are now a rarity: the partners no longer expect to stay long in each other’s company. According to the latest calculation, a young American with a moderate level of education expects to change jobs at least eleven times during his or her working life – and that ‘job-changing’ expectation is certain to go on growing before the working life of the present generation is over. ‘Flexibility’ is the slogan of the day, and when applied to the labour market it means an end to the job ‘as we know it’, work on short-term contracts, rolling contracts or no contracts, positions with no inbuilt security but with the ‘until further notice’ clause” [Bauman 2001, p. 24].
Rising on the wave of industrialization, after the transition to the postindustrial, information epoch, labour is losing its past significance. More and more people consider labour as a heavy routine and would like to get rid of it forever. And especially in the circumstances of depressive aggravation of the so called global problems, which have not only been left unsolved since they were identified by the Rome club, but continue to forebode humanity death from ecological catastrophes, depletion of natural resources, incurable diseases, the planet’s overpopulation etc.
There are obvious dramatic changes in the labour and employment sphere. After the transition to the postindustrial economy, classic labour (as a hard, back-breaking work, focused on achieving a material (embodied) result) ceases determining the sense of human existence.
The article analyzes the role of the informal component in the industrial collaboration of emploees and employers in modern Russian organizations on the basis of empirical research conducted by the authors through a survey of the staff of a number of businesses based in major cities of the Russian Federation. The paper studies a unique set of empirical data obtained by using authoring tools carefully tailored to the specific conditions of Russia. It is concluded that, with the further advancement of Russia towards establishing an effective market economy, there is a general trend towards a reduction in the role of personal relationships in social and labour relations, although a complete rejection of protectionism in this area is not possible because of certain peculiarities of the Russian mentality.
Russia’s transition towards a market economy in the early 1990s called for new approaches to the regulation of employment relations in the post-Soviet era in order to strike a balance between employers’ interests and employees’ rights in modern conditions. Adopted in 2001, the Labour Code of the Russian Federation (hereafter: LC RF) contributed to solving the issue only partly, for it was actually passed as a compromise between different political forces. As a result, it consists both of provisions which can be implemented in the new context of the market economy and restrictions inherited from a planned economy.
It soon became apparent that Russian employment legislation was in need of further development to adapt to ever-changing socio-economic conditions and the increasing complexity of the employer-employee relationship resulting from globalization and technological progress.
This state of affairs resulted in extensive amendments to the LC RF, in particular in 2006, when the majority of the provisions were profoundly revised. However, previous experience shows that many aspects concerning the legal regulation of employment relations are far from being addressed, not least compliance with international standards and practical needs at a national level.
In this special issue of the ADAPT Labour Studies BOOK-SERIES the authors try to achieve a twofold objective: rate recent developments of Russian labour law from a practical and a theoretical point of view and reveal its new challenges.
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.