People and Money: Incomes, Consumption, and Financial Behavior of the Population of Russian Regions in 2000–2017
Macroeconomic dynamics affects incomes of regions’ population and level of poverty: positive shifts in the distribution of regions in relation to these indicators slowed down in the 2010s and were replaced by a negative shift (more apparent in poverty rate) during the crisis of 2014–2017. Income dynamics had a stronger effect on consumption structure and less on population financial behavior. The share of food expenditures is declined in all regions until the 2014 crisis; the most developed regions have the lowest percentage. Structural shift in expenditures in favor of durable goods, including housing, is far from complete in most regions. The increase in the share of expenditures for services is largely due to the growth of tariffs for public utility services. Regional differences are small, with the exception of the Far North regions. The share of spending on human capital reproduction is low and varies slightly between regions. The population of “rich” regions prefers to spend money on recreation and entertainment, but these expenses are shrunken during the last crisis. Individuals' savings behavior is mostly developed in the largest federal cities. Overdue loans are higher in underdeveloped republics and in resource-producing regions, whose population seeks to maintain the level of consumption using loans. The main factor in change structure of consumption and financial behavior is the population incomes, but demographic, settlement and institutional factors must be considered to explain regional differences.
The article deals with the issue of poverty in Russia and characterizes specific features of the poor, which vary depending on the theoretical and methodological approaches to poverty. An empirical base of the research is Russian Longitudinal monitoring survey 2005–2011. The paper tends to cover the issues of poverty, which increase the probability of falling into poverty in modern Russia. The non-economic factors observed are: in particular household size, composition, type of terrain, and home to the poor dependents, gender, risk, etc. The paper also touches upon the issue of how modern social policies can reduce these risks and ways to improve it.
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.
This article analyzes the correlation between alcohol consumption patterns in Russian cities and the characteristics of consumers, including their social status. The empirical dataset used in this study was generated from the Russian Target Group Index for 2000–2010 and produced by Synovate Comcon. The methods used in the study include correlation analyses, cluster analyses and correspondence analyses. The results of the study confirm that differences in alcohol consumption patterns are important characteristics of social groups — stratified by gender, age, education and income — in Russia. Beer, vodka and other spirits are typically consumed by men, whereas wine, champagne and liquors are typical consumed by women. The different social classes also have different chosen beverages: the highest social classes prefer wine, champagne, cognac, whisky and exotic beverages such as rum and tequila. The volume of consumed alcohol is not an indicator of social class. Beer and vodka — beverages consumed by all social groups — are mostly consumed by the poorer and less educated. This study also identified the following consumer clusters: “light drink lovers” (beer-oriented consumption), the “masculine consumer” (consumption of beer and vodka), the “feminine consumer” (wine- and champagne-oriented consumption), and the “eclectic type” (multi-oriented consumption). These clusters have different social and demographic characteristics. In modern Russia, patterns of alcohol consumption and the social class of the consumer tend to be highly correlated. Variegated consumption patterns associated with the postmodern lifestyle were detected in fewer than 5% consumers of alcohol; these consumers tended to be educated, well-off, young and employed in executive positions.
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.