Income Stratification in Russia: What do Different Approaches Demonstrate?
This paper provides empirical analysis of income stratification in contemporary Russian society and its dynamics in recent decades. The paper analyses in detail different approaches (absolute and relative) to defining income groups. It is shown that the most widely used thresholds of the absolute approach cannot be efficiently applied to contemporary Russian society, as they fail to define the subgroups within the population, while relative approach, based on the median income as the social standard of living, appears more effective for income stratification in Russia. A specific income stratification scale is suggested. Its application shows that middle-income groups currently dominate in income structure, however, the incomes of their representatives are not high in absolute terms and their living standards are quite modest. Income stratification in Russia has been noticeably transformed over the last 20 years – the middle-income group has been growing while the low income and high-income groups’ shares have been declining. The proposed scale implies possibilities for structural adjustments such as regional- and settlement-specific disparities in income distribution; it can be easily replicated and allows broad potential for future research, including international comparisons of income stratification in societies undergoing transitional processes.
In theory, a poverty line can be defined as the cost of a common (inter-personally comparable) utility level across a population. But how can one know if this holds in practice? For groups sharing common consumption needs but facing different prices, the theory of revealed preference can be used to derive testable implications of utility consistency knowing only the "poverty bundles" and their prices. Heterogeneity in needs calls for extra information. We argue that subjective welfare data offer a credible means of testing utility consistency across different needs groups. A case study of Russia's official poverty lines shows how revealed preference tests can be used in conjunction with qualitative information on needs heterogeneity. The results lead us to question the utility consistency of Russia's official poverty lines.
Eighteen papers, from an international, interdisciplinary workshop on measuring empowerment organized by the World Bank's Poverty Reduction and Economic Management network in 2003, address the challenge of evaluating empowerment and its contribution to development effectiveness. Papers focus on a framework for evaluating how empowerment influences the development process and for analyzing the causal forces on empowerment, with cases from Latin America; women's empowerment as a variable in international development; measuring women's empowerment; an analysis of household and family dynamics; psychological empowerment and subjective well-being; an investigation of the relationship between income mobility and perceptions of subjective well-being related to that mobility, using panel data from Peru and Russia; self-rated power and welfare in Russia; applying Q methodology to empowerment; analytical issues in measuring empowerment at the community and local levels; peace, conflict, and empowerment; measuring empowerment at the community level; mixing qualitative and econometric methods; assessing empowerment at the national level in Eastern Europe and Central Asia; the CIVICUS Civil Society Index; empowerment as a positive-sum game; democracy, good governance, and empowerment; and measuring democratic governance. Contributors include economists, anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, demographers, and political scientists. Narayan is Senior Adviser in the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network of the World Bank. Index.
In this paper we use the rich set of unit-level data from the most recent Egyptian household surveys (1995 – 1996 and 1999 – 2000) to assess changes in poverty and inequality between 1995 and 2000. The study analysis is based on the new methodology of constructing household-specific poverty lines that account for the differences in regional prices, as well as differences in the consumption preferences and size and age composition of poor households. The results show that average household expenditures rose in the second half of the 1990s and the poverty rate fell from 20% to less than 17%. In addition to the ongoing divide in the urban-rural standard of living, a new geographical/regional divide emerged in the late 1990s. Poverty was found predominantly among less-educated individuals, particularly those working in agriculture and construction, and among seasonal and occasional workers. These groups could suffer the most from the slowing economic growth evident after 1999 – 2000.
This chapter addresses the relationship between class, family and social welfare policies by analysing the construction of the identity category of ‘unfortunate families’ in popular scientific discourses, governmental policy documents and discourses of social services, and by examining how those labelled as ‘unfortunate’ negotiate this identity conferred to them. The chapter shows that gender and class are closely intertwined in the production of this identity, as it is single mothers who are primarily categorized as ‘unfortunate’. In our analysis we draw on multiple sources of data. First, we analyse in-depth and focus group interviews with service providers and clients and participant observation data from a number of Russian cities. Second, we analyse various government documents and social advertisements, mass media materials, social policy and social work textbooks, and popular scientific texts published during the 1990s-2000s.
This chapter addresses the relationship between class, family and social welfare policies by analysing the construction of the identity category of ‘unfortunate families’ (neblagopoluchnye sem’i) in popular scientific discourses, governmental policy documents and discourses of social services, and by examining how those labelled as ‘unfortunate’ negotiate this identity conferred to them. The chapter shows that gender and class are closely intertwined in the production of this identity, as it is single mothers who are primarily categorised as ‘unfortunate’. In our analysis we draw on multiple sources of data. First, we analyse in-depth and focus group interviews with service providers and clients and participant observation data from a number of Russian cities. Second, we analyse various government documents and social advertisements, mass media materials, social policy and social work textbooks, and popular scientific texts published during the 1990–2010s. This chapter begins with a review of Western theoretical discussions of class in the context of family and welfare in order to see how Russia fits into these debates. Western class analysis was considered irrelevant in the Soviet Union due to the supposedly classless nature of advanced socialism, but the transition to a market economy in the 1990s and the new kind of class society it engendered have made these discussions topical in Russia. In the second section of this chapter we offer a brief description of the main principles of the Soviet and post-Soviet welfare ideologies and the policies towards families. The following sections examine how popular scientific discourses, governmental policy documents and social advertisements, and social service providers construct class with the concept of the unfortunate family. The last section preceding the conclusions analyses how mothers labelled as unfortunate negotiate this stigmatised identity.
A survey investigating the risk of falling into poverty in Russia shows that after improvements in the level of well-being of the Russian population during the past decade, the situation has grown relatively worse during the current economic crisis and for the poor the situation will continue to worsen at an accelerated pace.
In this exploratory study, we examined several interethnic ideologies held by individuals (assimilation, colorblindness, multiculturalism, and polyculturalism) from a social ecological perspective. We examined moderation effects of neighborhood ethnic density (ED) on relationships between interethnic ideologies and intergroup bias towards various minority ethnic groups in the Russian context. Intergroup bias was assessed as a composite score of bias toward four ethnic groups who have different cultural distances from the Russian mainstream population: Chechens, Belarusians, Uzbeks, and Chinese. We obtained a gender balanced sample of ethnic Russians from the Central Federal District of Russia (N = 359) comprising of 47% women and 53% men. The measures were used in a Russian translation by an adaptation using the back-translation and cognitive interviews. Multiple regression analysis was used to test the relationships. The results showed that high perceived neighborhood non-Russian ED weakened negative relations between intergroup bias and ideologies that purportedly accept cultural diversity (multiculturalism and polyculturalism). On the other hand, for interethnic ideologies those purportedly reject cultural diversity, high perceived neighborhood non-Russian ED weakened the positive relations between intergroup bias and assimilation and strengthened the negative relations between intergroup bias and colorblindness. The pattern of results suggests that the relationship between attitudes and intergroup bias may change based on the perceived ethnic composition of the local area and frequency of contacts. Although our findings are relatively novel they support the emerging view that attitudes and intergroup relations need to be studied from a social ecological context.
The present paper discusses perspectives of Activity Theory (AT) in the context of contemporary globalizing world, describing which we refer to the notion “De-structuralized modernity” (Sorokin & Froumin, 2020). Radical changes in everyday life challenge social sciences and humanities. Approaches are in demand, which have the potential to comprehend the changing human étant and éntre. We argue that Activity Theory has the potential to face these challenges. Leontiev’s AT grounds on the idea of qualitatively new mental features arising to deal with novel environmental challenges, which is much in line with J.M. Baldwin reasoning on evolution. AT also offers a method to prognosis the upcoming neoplasms. In the same time, applying classics of AT to the current reality, “De-structuralized modernity”, entails the need for new theoretical elaborations of the latter, stemming from the radical transformation of the relations between individual and socio-cultural environments. A unique societal context emerges on the global level, which, on the one hand, requires individual to adapt constantly to changing socio-cultural reality, and, on the other hand, dramatically expands his/her potential for proactive actorhood transforming surrounding structures. We argue that the major and novel challenge for the individual is the task of maintaining the integrity and coherence of the a) Self-identity and b) system of links in and with the socio-cultural environment - in their dynamics and unity. The notion of “culture” has particular relevance and importance in this context because it allows grasping simultaneously two dimensions in their dynamic dialectical interrelations. First, the “internal” (“subjective”, “in the minds”) and “external” (“objective”, material and institutional environment) realities. Second, individual (“micro”) and societal (“macro”) scales of human activities. Discussing the ways to understand these dynamics, we dispute the popular “constitutive view” on personality and refer to the concept of the “ontological shift” (Mironenko & Sorokin, 2018). We also highlight how technological advancements change and “expand” human nature making it capable to deal with the outlined new tasks.
The article deals with the ways Russian authorities have constructed the social problem of HIV/AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus/ acquired immune deficiency syndrome) in Russia. The statistical construction of HIV/AIDS includes data indicating the significant rise of HIV prevalence in Russia since 2000. The study focuses on what and how Russian authorities speak about HIV/AIDS, while there are official data on the rapid spread of the virus in the country. The work is based on a discourse analysis of the authorities’ rhetoric about HIV/AIDS. During his first presidential terms, Vladimir Putin constructed HIV/AIDS not as an epidemic in the country, but as a “global problem,” representing Russia as a participant in international efforts to combat AIDS. The president problematized the HIV spread through the rhetoric of endangerment but without its crucial term “epidemic,” while at the same time de-problematized HIV in Russia by the strategy of naturalizing (“this is a problem that all countries face”). The Russian authorities appealed to traditional moral values and spoke about marginal or risk groups, rather than risk practices. After the deterioration of relations with Western countries since 2007, the Russian president excluded HIV/AIDS problem from his public agenda, despite the existence of the data on steep HIV growth in Russia. The Russian president’s traditionalism, de-problematization, and silence concerning HIV/AIDS lead to the absence of the HIV/AIDS issues in media agenda, the agenda of local authorities, and consequently the personal agendas of Russian citizens. The consequences are ignorance, fears, stigmatization of people living with HIV, semi-legal status of needle, and syringe exchange programs for intravenous drug users, low antiretroviral therapy coverage, and the continuing HIV epidemic.