Introduction: Studying Islam from below and interrogating divisions in contemporary Russia
The four contributions to this special section aim to study Islam in Russia from below, by examining how Muslims in Russia live and experience their vision of the Islamic religion in conformity and/or dissonance with official categories of Islam, or by simply moving beyond them. The contributions in this collection start from the idea that the study of Islam in Russia is inevitably confronted with normative discourses about acceptable and undesirable forms of Islam. These normative discourses are represented in the categories of “traditional” and “non-traditional Islam” that contributors to the section examine and interrogate through the perceptions and experiences of their Muslim informants. A number of questions arise when we examine the relationship between lived, grassroots Muslim experiences – Islam perceived from below – and top-down normative discourses. First, we can ask whether official categories reflect emic self-definitions, ways in which Muslims in Russia define themselves, taking into account that these emic terms are in flux. We can also ask about the nature of grassroots Muslim experiences: do they inevitably emerge outside of official Muslim institutions, or do we find a variety of grassroots Muslims, not all clearly identifiable on a religious level? Second, we can consider what increased religiosity, taking different forms, might mean for the perception of official dichotomies, along with the role of the Muftiates at the intersection between state discourses and grassroots Muslims. Does increased religiosity dissolve, alter or consolidate divisions drawn on an official level? The ethnographies in this section reveal that the exploration of Islam tends to produce unique trajectories among Muslims in Russia that cannot always be clearly located on a theological spectrum. The religious trajectories carved out by Muslims in Russia are constantly evolving and responding to a changing socio-political environment.
Since 2008, tighter budget constraints have forced the Russian federal government to adjust the system governing its relations with the regions. This paper argues that more advanced Russian regions have the potential to develop a constructive response to the recent deterioration in their operational environment. This argument is based on an analysis of the experiences of coping with the external shocks that have occurred over the last 25 years in the Republic of Tatarstan. The paper identifies key factors that have helped the republic successfully tackle previous shocks, such as elite cohesion and internal consensus regarding republican developmental priorities.
The Reader includes commented Russian translations of the major normative texts on Islamic and customary law in Arabic which were composed in Dagestan from the 17th through the first third of the 20th centuries. Most of these monuments were never published in Russian. A considerable part of them is kept in manuscripts in state and private collections. These works and documents show a gradual transformation of Muslim legal culture, power and society after the North Caucasus was involved in the political and legal space of tsarist and early Soviet Russia. In addition, the book includes studies on the history of Islamic justice and law in the region introducing readers into the current state of international research in this field. The focus is made on theory and practice of Islamic and customary law, treatiseas on different questions of fiqh, legal deeds and legislation/ The reader addresses first of all to undergraduate students specializing on history, law and culture of Islam in Russia. It can be used as a reference book in university courses related to particularities of Islamic and customary law in Russia as well as to a general history of Islam and Muslim societies in the colonial period in Russia and worldwide.
The paper studies empirically competition on regional markets for banking services in Russia. Bank-level statistics collected in two adjacent Russian regions, namely Bashkortostan and Tatarstan, enabled to compare these markets. Estimation based on Herfindahl-Hirschman index, Lerner index and Panzar-Rosse model suggests that both regional markets are featured by monopolistic competition. Contrary to ex ante expectations, intensity of competition in Bashkortostan turned out to be higher than in Tatarstan. There is found no convincing statistical proof to the theoretical hypothesis that market power dynamics are driven by market structure, i.e. by the degree of market concentration in the hands of top players.
This paper studies the determinants of educational outcomes in the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. Using principle component analysis, least squares with robust standard errors, and probit models, I found that family resources, including socioeconomic status, cultural and social capital, show a statistically significant effect on educational achievements and plans about educational trajectories. However, little of the variation in the dependent variables can be explained by variation in family resources. In Tatarstan, as in developed countries, family resources have a low influence on educational outcomes. Moreover, school quality, gender, nationality, peers, health, plans about future work, and other physical and psychological factors play important roles in influencing educational outcomes. Girls obtain better results than boys, and Tatar speakers show higher educational achievements than Russian speakers.
This empirical paper adds to competition and industrial organization literature by exploring the interplay between industry structure and competitiveness on local, rather than nation-wide, markets. We use micro-level statistical data for banks in two Russian regions (Bashkortostan and Tatarstan) to estimate Herfindahl-Hirschman index, Lerner index, and Panzar-Rosse model. We estimate Panzar-Rosse model in two ways: via the widely used price-equation that accounts for scale effects and then via a revenue-equation that disregards scale effects as suggested by Bikker, Shaffer and Spierdijk (2009). We find both regional markets to be ruled by monopolistic competition, although estimation by revenue-equation does not reject monopoly hypothesis for Tatarstan. Existence of sizeable locally-owned and operated institutions does not necessarily lead to higher competitiveness of the given regional market. Non-structural methods of estimation suggest that bank competition in Bashkortostan is stronger than in Tatarstan.
Analytical communities for the goal of this paper can be defined as loosely united clusters of professionals doing joint or related work in policy analysis, research and development, who frequently work together on common analytical goals and clients, while not necessarily form a special organizational structure which differ them from think tank. Examples of analytical communities could be university research departments, regular authors of one analytical journal, members of certain intellectual clubs, or regularly meeting informal research groups, including individual intellectuals working together on the regular basis. The goal of this paper is to show an important connection between regional and local analytical communities and local administrations of the Russian regions to specify a unique role the analytical communities can play in strategic planning, providing local administrations both with data, ideas, solutions, and scenarios of social developments, which local authorities are interested to get the answers to.