This paper uses the famous events related to Pussy Riot as a natural experiment to examine the effect of alternative media on church membership. A difference-in-differences strategy is used to explore the effect in question. The hypothesis is that, given a lack of religious background in the majority of the population and strong temporary interest in religious issues promoted by a particular provocative event, mass media substantially affect religious choice. To check if this is the case, I compare the dynamics of religious choice of those exposed to alternative media reports on church topics and the rest of the population. As a proxy of familiarity with an alternative view, I use a dummy variable for using the Internet to obtain news. The main finding is that, during the experiment run over the year 2012, the growth of self-reported Orthodox believers was significantly lower in the treatment group than in the control group. Exposure to alternative media coverage turned out to heavily affect religious choice.
This article contributes to current discussions on state capacity, quality of institutions, and political regimes. Our analysis demonstrates that the J-curve argument (“good institutions” in autocracies as compared to hybrid and transitional regimes) may not be generic and is not well supported by empirical evidence from the sample of post-Soviet countries. An explanatory model of the “King of the Mountain” is instead provided. Its focus is on the monopoly of political rent as a precondition for extraction of economic rent. It demonstrates an inverse correlation between the quality of institutions and the extraction of political and economic rent, and explains why an autocrat may not have an incentive to improve institutions that may make his/her monopoly vulnerable, and rather would prefer to preserve a low quality of institutions and “bad enough governance.” An analysis of a variety of external and domestic factors that may endanger this monopoly is provided. Finally, the autocrat's alternative strategic choices are analyzed. It is argued that better payoffs for the autocrat – paradoxically – may result from partial reforms and improvement of the quality of institutions. However, for various reasons, this is not occurring in post-Soviet autocracies.
Upgrading skill formation has become an increasingly urgent task for societies facing the challenges of rapid technological change and globalization. However, reform of systems of vocational education and training (VET) poses severe challenges for aligning the interests of schools, firms, households, and governments, even in societies with relatively efficient markets for labor and education. Where market institutions are poorly developed, these challenges are particularly acute, resulting in endemic mismatches between the supply and demand of skill. Currently governments in many countries, including the United States, Russia, and China, are seeking to adopt elements of the German dual education model. The Russian federal government has undertaken several initiatives designed to upgrade VET by encouraging closer cooperation of vocational schools and firms at the regional level, including the adoption of dual education programs. This paper focuses on one such project: a 2013 pilot program administered by the Russian Agency for Strategic Initiatives, to foster the development of new models of dual education. The paper compares the 13 pilot regions with regions that submitted proposals but were not selected and with all other regions along multiple economic, social, demographic, and institutional dimensions. The findings suggest hypotheses about the conditions that enabled the pilot regions to take advantage of federal policies encouraging the adoption of dual education. More generally, the paper sheds light on institutional solutions to collective action dilemmas in skill formation in transitional and developing societies.
This study seeks to discuss the survivability of charitable NGOs in Russia without foreign funding. We use cross-section data from a quantitative household survey conducted in April 2016 to investigate common giving patterns of Russians. Using statistic and regression analysis, we explore causes of donations and individual and social attributes of charitable giving in general and to NGO in particular. We find that Russians prefer direct giving to people in need rather than to NGOs; the donations are small, spontaneous and irregular; they are mainly targeted to support poor and unhealthy. Involvement in religion activities and higher self-assessed income are two factors, which contribute most to the probability of donating. Educated and younger donors are more likely to donate to NGOs compared to donating to particular people/families. The study suggests that private donations to NGOs will decline if no changes in public policy are made. NGOs supporting education, environment, culture or civil organizations seem to be worst-hit.
To what extend are Russian state agencies involved in predatory behaviour, and what are the determinants of their activities? Analysing a novel dataset containing 312 cases of illegal corporate raiding (reiderstvo) between 1999 and 2010, this paper identifies a shift both in the regional and sectoral distribution of raiding attacks over time, as well as an increasing participation of state agencies in criminal raiding attacks. Using panel regression analysis to look at the determinants of increasing state involvement, I find that election results for the ruling president and his party, as well as the degree to which elections are manipulated throughout Russia’s regions are significantly and positively correlated with the number of raiding attacks in a given region, while regions with governors that have stronger local ties are characterized by a smaller number of attacks. A potential interpretation of these findings is that the federal centre might tolerate a certain degree of predatory activities by regional elites, as long as these elites are able to deliver a sufficiently high level of electoral support for the centre, with the effect being weaker in regions where the governor is interested in the long-term development of the regional economy.
This paper challenges the central claim of Natalia Forrat’s article that university support programs under Putin targeted the uppression of antiregime student mobilization. Empirical evidence, both on the national-policy level and on the level of higher education institutions, suggests that the government introduced support programs in order to establish a research capacity at Russian flagship universities and to develop a more competitive national science system. The low level of students’ political engagement can rather be attributed to the outdated structures of student representation, inherited from the Soviet period.
This paper analyzes the mechanisms of creating a symbolic connection between several generations of protesters in the late USSR and in Putin’s Russia. Based on an analysis of the periodical press, data on human-rights violations during public protests, and published sources on the history of Soviet dissidents, the article traces how and for what purposes protesters in the 2000s and 2010s used the symbolic and practical legacy of Soviet dissidents, what additional meanings of protest were actualized with these linkages, and how references to specific spaces of protest actions transformed the content and form of public protests. Using Charles Tilly’s concept of “repertoires of contention,” I argue that references to the dissidents’ legacy were not limited to the discursive level of repeating slogans but included various public actions that memorialized and/or reconsidered the Soviet dissidents’ tradition of contesting the state monopoly over public space.
This study investigates whether economic freedom of a region drives firm performance. Despite the large number of papers about the relationship between economic freedom and growth, there is still little evidence on the role of economic freedom in performance of individual firms. We address this gap in the literature using hierarchical linear modelling, allowing us to investigate regional differences in company level performance. The dataset consists of information about 1096 companies combined with the Index of Economic Freedom for Russian regions during the period 2004 – 2014
Gender inequality in Russia's rural formal economy is examined using quantitative and qualitative data. Rural women continue to be underrepresented in farm managerial positions, and gendered income differences remain the norm. Rural women are underrepresented because they continue to have responsibility for most of the housework and child care. The traditional division of labor inside the household continues to dominate, thereby affecting women's career trajectories and earning potential. Value change about gendered roles in the formal economy has been minimal. © 2014 Taylor & Francis.
It is widely recognized that unified oppositions present a bigger threat to dictators than divided oppositions. In this paper, we use micro-level data on opposition protests in Putin-era Russia to examine the factors that facilitate co-operation among different opposition forces. In particular, we focus on what leads so-called systemic opposition parties – those who have been granted some institutional accommodation by the regime – to join forces with non-systemic opposition forces. We propose a novel permutation-based method for analyzing protest coordination using event count data and find that coordination is most likely on issues of fundamental importance to the systemic opposition’s base supporters. We also find that state co-optation reduces the extent of coordination. These findings illustrate the politically precarious position of “loyal” oppositions under autocracy; they must simultaneously show fealty to the state and maintain some measure of credibility as an opposition party that cares about its supporters’ demands.
After stagnating throughout most of the 1990s and 2000s, Russia’s efforts to
reintegrate the post-Soviet space are finally gathering momentum. According to
President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s goal is to establish a Eurasian Economic
Union “capable of becoming one of the poles in a futuremulti-polarworld.”Most
existing studies see Russia’s imperial and post-Soviet legacies as the driving
forces behind these efforts. Although they offer valuable insights, these studies
fail to explain the timing of Russia’s push for deeper regional integration. This
article examines these developments from a geopolitical perspective and
compares Eurasian regionalism with the regional integration projects of other
great powers (more specifically, Brazil and Mercosur/Unasur and China and
ASEAN þ 1). All three efforts are occurring at a time when the international
system is in flux and the ability of the USA and other Western powers to deliver
key global collective goods is being called into question. Regional integration
must ultimately be seen as a strategy by Russia and other great powers to respond
to these challenges and prepare themselves for an unpredictable future.
Vladimir Putin has managed to achieve strikingly high public approval ratings throughout his time as president and prime minister of Russia. But is his popularity real, or are respondents lying to pollsters? We conducted a series of list experiments in early 2015 to estimate support for Putin while allowing respondents to maintain ambiguity about whether they personally do so. Our estimates suggest support for Putin of approximately 80 percent, which is within ten percentage points of that implied by direct questioning. We find little evidence that these estimates are positively biased due to the presence of floor effects. In contrast, our analysis of placebo experiments suggests that there may be a small negative bias due to artificial deflation. We conclude that Putin's approval ratings largely reflect the attitudes of Russian citizens.
This paper investigates the effect of informal ties between court chairpersons and prosecutors on the repressive implementation of criminal justice in Russia in the area of fraud convictions. We use criminal law statistics of Russian regional courts for 2006-2010 and determine the alignment between chairpersons and prosecutors by measuring the length of their mutual career paths. The informal ties have a strong impact on trial outcome, which, however, changes over time. During periods of high bureaucratic risks and uncertainty, regions with higher extent of informal ties between judges and prosecutors exhibit more repressive law enforcement. If external risks decrease, informal coalitions seem to increase the independence of the courts, insulating them from bureaucratic pressures and limiting their repressiveness.
This paper investigates the effect of informal ties between judges (as represented by regional court chairpersons) and prosecutors on the repressive implementation of criminal justice in Russia in the area of fraud convictions. The authors utilize criminal law statistics of Russian regional courts for 2006–2010 to determine the alignment between chairpersons and prosecutors by measuring the length of their mutual career paths. The informal ties have a strong impact on trial outcome, which, however, changes over time. During periods of high bureaucratic risks and uncertainty, regions with a higher extent of informal ties between judges and prosecutors exhibit more repressive law enforcement. If external risks decrease, informal coalitions seem to increase the independence of the courts, insulating them from bureaucratic pressures and limiting their repressiveness.
There is a normative expectation that constitutionalism does not co-exist well with autocracy. How do constitutional courts then uphold their integrity under authoritarianism? In this paper, I answer this question by taking the case of the Russian Constitutional Court (RCC) and showing how court–government accommodation in the new post-third wave autocracies can be achieved by limiting the amount of information the court receives from its secretariat. It follows from a detailed analysis of case selection in the RCC that the secretariat can function as an “insulator,” protecting the Court from political and reputational risks. The two features that make this possible are its invisibility to the judges and the clerks’ specific professional culture. The research is informed by an extensive series of in-depth interviews in the RCC, and benefits from the relocation of the RCC to St. Petersburg in 2008.
The arrest of the protest punk band Pussy Riot (PR) in February 2012 and the subsequent prosecution of three band members pose a significant puzzle for political science. While PR’s performances presented a coherent alternative to the Putin regime’s image of Russian reality, it was unlikely that the discordant music and crude lyrics of their art protest would inspire Russian society to take to the streets. Yet, the regime mounted a very visible prosecution against the three young women. We argue that the trial marked a shift in the Kremlin’s strategy to shape state-society relations. In the face of declining economic conditions and social unrest, the Pussy Riot trial encapsulated the Kremlin’s renewed focus on three related mechanisms to ensure social support: coercion, alliance building, and symbolic politics. The Pussy Riot trial afforded the Kremlin an important opportunity to simultaneously redefine its loyal constituency, secure the Church-state relationship, and stigmatize the opposition.
In their most recent works, North and his coauthors (North, D. C., J. J. Wallis, S. Webb, and B. R. Weingast. 2012. In the Shadow of Violence: Politics, Economics, and the Problems of Development. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press; North, D.C., J. J. Wallis, and B. R. Weingast. 2009. Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press) name the formation of organizations capable of effectively restricting violence in society as a necessary condition for transition from developing societies to societies with sustainable economic growth. However, the mechanisms of emergence and conditions for the operation of such organizations in contemporary developing countries remain unclear. We follow the logic of formation of such organizations using the case study of collective actions of the Russian business community aimed at restricting “state violence” against business. We seek to identify the conditions leading to a shift in the choice of strategies from attempts at informal agreements with extortionists controlling means of coercion to cooperation of businessmen and trace the further evolution of organized forms of collective action. Finally, we assess to what extent the created organizations can be efficient and self-supporting in the long term.
Our research bears on two critical issues for contemporary Russia: federal–regional power relations; and whether Moscow can modernize institutions and address dissatisfaction with social service delivery, a major political issue. It is the first comprehensive study of a major 2015 reform that ended the state monopoly over service provision and initiated outsourcing (contracting out) to socially oriented non-profits (SONPOs) and other nonstate organizations. We find substantial interregional variation. Statistical tests of economic, political, and institutional explanations show that only the economic helps to explain variation across Russia's regions. We rely on comparisons of six regions, drawing on semi-structured interviews to gain a contextualized understanding of their varied implementation strategies. Key findings are that regional leaders demonstrated agency in crafting diverse strategies, while the Center showed flexibility. Whether Moscow can modernize public services remains unclear, though there is some evidence of improvement since the beginning of the outsourcing reform.
The paper is focused on assessing the risk factors for Russian manufacturing firms posed by sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU, US, and other countries in 2014. While there is an extensive literature assessing the successes and failures of international sanctions on the economies of both those imposing and targeted by sanctions on a macroeconomic level, we are more interested in trying to understand the corporate response – i.e. which firms evaluate the introduction and increasing scale of economic sanctions as a threat to their corporate strategy, and their possible reactions aimed at adjusting to a changing environment due to the geopolitical shock. Our research, based on a recent survey of manufacturing companies, provides evidence that over the last decade Russian manufacturing firms have become much more integrated into the global economy than is commonly assumed, through foreign direct investment, foreign trade (including imports of both technological equipment and raw materials and components), international partnerships, and by extensively supplying foreign companies that operate in Russia. Considering the self-selection effect of the top-performing firms in terms of foreign trade, we can state that sanctions could prove most harmful not only for the targeted firms, but for the entire population of better-performing and globalized firms involved in foreign trade with the EU and Ukraine. Thus, the impact of the sanctions on the prospects of the Russian manufacturing sector may be very strong over the medium-to-long term.