Social work in FSU countries: mapping the progress of ‘the professional project’
This article presents material from literature and responses from national experts about social work developments in the 15 Former Soviet Union (FSU) states, since independence in 1991. Taking professionalization as a theoretical framework and considering the role of the state and other actors, the authors use a thematic approach to analyse the factors relevant to the professional project. Throughout the region, the state is identified as still the major actor in driving welfare changes and creating the organizational and legislative bases for the development of social work. A chronology of legislation relevant to the establishment of social work is included which highlights the variations in the pace of developments, as do the establishment of professional education (throughout the region) and professional associations (in most countries). The authors conclude that the professional project faces many challenges across the FSU region and the progress made – or lack of it in some countries – can be related to the politics and economics of particular states. However, the evidence suggests that, less than a quarter of a century after the demise of communism, this project has been initiated in all but one FSU countries and there are indications of positive developments.