Reforming Housing and Utilities Services in Russia: Obstacles to Making Residents and Agencies Play by the New Rules
Since the 1990s, the Russian authorities have attempted to reform housing policies to relieve the burden on public budgets. The regime has turned to neoliberal instruments of decentralisation, privatisation, responsibilisation and commercialisation. These have had to be balanced against a social contract based on residents’ expectations of how housing and utilities services are provided. The new instruments have struggled to make any difference in the dominant patronalist setting, resulting in a contradictory policy pattern and ongoing controversies. Based on a field study that was made between 2014 and 2017, the article shows how the controversy unfolded during this period in three cases: homeowners’ associations, property management companies and the top-to-bottom repair of apartment buildings.