Public Demand for State Support in the Post-Communist Welfare State: The Case of Russia
This study explores the roots and details of the Russian population’s demand for broad state interventions in three areas: labour market, social investment, and material support. Demands in labour market policy are the most frequent among the Russian population and stem from the need to eliminate inequalities in access to ‘good’ jobs and ensure fair remuneration of skilled labour. In Russia, unlike in Europe, needs in social investment policy do not stem from individualistic interests and the imperative to compensate for market failure. Instead, they result from state failure, leading in particular to growing inequality of life chances in healthcare and worsening health of the broader society. These impacts are perceived as a fundamental adverse effect of unsuccessful social policy changes, and this type of demand for state support is growing alongside household income. At the same time, wealthy Russians also hardly believe in state efficiency in the labour market, show less demand for employment policy interventions, and generally prefer ‘state escapism’. The study argues that an individualistic mindset per se is a cornerstone of the absence of request for state support in any form. These findings support the concept of bottom- up sociocultural modernisation while helping explain state escapism in post-communist welfare regimes. In general, the study provides empirical contributions to the literature on diversity of statist expectations in post-communist welfare regimes.