This article explores the phenomenon of the care provision which ‘distant wives’ and partners offer to their imprisoned intimate friends. Prisoners in Russia are one of the most marginalized groups and are at the periphery of social care system in crisis. It focuses on the young women, who, in the Russian context, are known as ‘zaochnitsy’. These women are part of a network centred on prison communication and become acquainted with men via the Internet or telephone. They become voluntarily involved with individual prisoners, in contrast to wives of men who married them before imprisonment. The article is based on qualitative data gathered during sociological research into women support networks for prisoners. The research framework covers the regimes of waiting and practices of care that are characteristics of the everyday lives of wives, mothers and girlfriends maintaining (continuous and temporary) communication with relatives or partners in Russian colonies. Based on the gender analyses of the care regimes, the article demonstrates that becoming prisoner's partner means for women the production of their own femininity, moral image and getting emotional and sometimes material care.
In the context of the spreading HIV epidemic in Russia and the lack of government's effectiveness in addressing this problem, the role and importance of HIV activism in protecting the rights and improving the quality of life of HIV positive people has been increasing. This article focuses on the development of the HIV community in St. Petersburg, one of the largest and the most problematic, in terms of the HIV epidemic, cities in Russia. The research was conducted within the qualitative methodology, using ethnographic case-study methods and biographical interviews. The authors use the analysis of field observations and 19 interviews with men and women involved in HIV activism in St. Petersburg to show how collective actions of NGOs and action groups form the city HIV community through working with different groups and the development of participants' agency
This article offers a discussion and interpretation of recent ethnographic research into the nature of male public space in a sports club in St. Petersburg. Particular focus was put on examining the how the children of migrants interacted and socialised at the club. This study has attempted to take a positive/critical approach to the analysis of how children with a migrant background experience out-of-school sport clubs. The main conclusion of the article is that sport clubs not only provide a space in which children can interact with their peers but also offer an opportunity to socialise with older teenagers and young people. The sports training regimes that are offered to develop these children into ‘men’, creating new hierarchies within which one’s ethnicity and language are of reduced importance in comparison to factors such as age and sporting ability. All the same, despite offering new skills and experiences to its members, sports clubs also reproduce the hierarchies present in society as a whole, especially those connected to gender and ethnicity.