Assessment of the sturgeon catches and seal bycatches in an IUU fishery in the Caspian Sea
The paper presents a quantitative assessment of sturgeon catches and related Caspian Seals’ by-catches of the illegal sturgeon fishery in the region of Dagestan and the Volga River Delta in Russia. The study uses semi-structured interviews, direct observations and informal conversations to collect data and estimates that about 10,491 kg of sturgeons were caught with 788 seals of by-catch during 35 trips conducted by 15 boats in the period of 2013–2016. The results show that both IUU sturgeon catch and the rate of bycatch seals have not demonstrated significant change since 2013. However, the rates of seals by-catch have increased since the studies in 2008 – 2009 and may be recognized as the one of the biggest entanglements of pinnipeds as by-catch.
This article explores responses to the implementation of Russian sturgeon conservation policy in three fishing communities (in Dagestan, Kalmykia and the Volga River delta areas), along the Western and Northern coasts of the Caspian Sea. Enforcement of regulatory measures has led to complex socio-cultural responses. We show how social responses to conservation policy generate various forms of poaching. An analytical model of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ forms of poaching is analyzed against three regulatory measures: introduction of specially designated fishing areas in Russia’s Caspian fisheries, border zone expansion and the ban on sturgeon fishing. We explain why in Kalmykia the policy led people to stop practicing hard forms of sturgeon fishing, while fishermen in Dagestan responded in a more complex manner by displaying resistance towards the new policies.
The paper describes how the deliberate by-catch of the Caspian seals in Dagestan, Russia has given to a rise in illegal wildlife trade (IWT) in the region after the sturgeon population, as the most valuable commodity for local markets, critically declined. The data were derived from using a set of anthropological and sociological methods and approaches, including semistructured interviews (SSIs), focus groups, direct observations reflected in field notes, the life-story approach, and “grounded theory”, based on a study of sturgeon poaching conducted by the author since 2012. Although the author subdivided the local IWT into four stages that cover the coastal, piedmont areas, and highlands of Dagestan, in this article, he deepens the readers’ knowledge of the first two stages of IWT in the coastal areas. For a better understanding of the nature of regional IWT, the notion of an autonomous community is introduced. Several examples have been chosen for description: the inclusion of seals resulting from by-catch in new informal contractual relations between young fishers and boat owners, the illegal taking of the fishers sentenced in Kazakhstan, the ransom for the release of fishers sentenced in Kazakhstan (“Kazakh captivity”), the buying of the seals’ carcasses and skins, its initial processing, and the further resale of skins to craftsmen from the mountainous areas of Dagestan. The author argues that the birth of the IWT in the regions is closely linked to the emergence of the local autonomous resource-extracting community, following the breakup of the USSR, where the Sturgeon Fishing Brigade (SFB; the first stage of IWT) and the seals’ middlemen (the second stage of IWT) play the most important roles as social entities. Autonomous community helps the young fishers of the SFB to perceive illegality as an a priori phenomenon, which was facilitated by the long-term absence of the state as the main regulator of social and economic processes. Hence, there is no sense in considering the dichotomy of “legality-illegality” as a research problem when dealing with IWT as a by-product of the autonomous resource extracting community. Results also show that different types of reciprocity and redistribution serve as the main regulatory tools in conducting economic transactions among parties involved in the coastal and highlands IWT structures. The reciprocal ties are partly based on either reputation (in the case of the middlemen) a moral obligations (in the case of the SFB).
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 results of cross-cultural research of implicit theories of innovativeness among students and teachers, representatives of three ethnocultural groups: Russians, the people of the North Caucasus (Chechens and Ingushs) and Tuvinians (N=804) are presented. Intergroup differences in implicit theories of innovativeness are revealed: the ‘individual’ theories of innovativeness prevail among Russians and among the students, the ‘social’ theories of innovativeness are more expressed among respondents from the North Caucasus, Tuva and among the teachers. Using the structural equations modeling the universal model of values impact on implicit theories of innovativeness and attitudes towards innovations is constructed. Values of the Openness to changes and individual theories of innovativeness promote the positive relation to innovations. Results of research have shown that implicit theories of innovativeness differ in different cultures, and values make different impact on the attitudes towards innovations and innovative experience in different cultures.
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.