Explanations for the sharp difference in the economic growth performance of Russia and China under economic reform vary widely. Some observers emphasize the differences in the choice of initial reform strategy, others the inherited institutional environment for economic activity. There is a debate over which institutional characteristics are conducive to good growth performance: decentralization and competition among local governments or centralization of control over performance targets. Yet there has been little systematic empirical effort of the Russian and Chinese cases to test the implications of these theories for the behavior of firms. This paper uses data from surveys of firms conducted by the World Bank in 2012 to analyze differences in business-government relations in Russia and China. The findings support theories that differences in levels of administrative decentralization and local government competition help account for differences in business-government relations in the two countries and the more dynamic business environment overall in China.
The article tests the extent to which Russia’s “pivot to the East” was supported by shared visions of the American and the Chinese “Other” after the annexation of Crimea in 2014. It compares representations of the United States and China as Russia’s Others in discourses of Vladimir Putin, major political parties, and policy experts at a time when Russian–American relations experienced a considerable downturn and relations with China surged. The method of analysis is frames coding. The article demonstrates that for most of the actors considered, the United States plays a much more important role as constitutive Other than China.
Russia’s government initiated pension reform in 2013 to resolve a crisis: the prolonged recession had created a huge Pension Fund deficit that required unsustainable subsidies from the state budget. The article analyzes four sets of influences on that reform: those from above (high-level policy makers), inside (government ministries, legislators), below (civil society, public opinion), and outside (international actors, policy learning). We find that the strongest influences come from above and inside, and analyze the conflicting policy preferences of key actors on reversal of pension privatization, indexation of payments, and age of eligibility. The policy process is protracted and fails to resolve major issues. Irresolution results from the leadership’s effort to avoid blame for pension benefit cuts despite the weakness of civil society’s influence. The current reform effort has been tentative, halting, and indecisive, indicating a government with a diminished capacity to resolve this major social policy problem.
Russia ’ s government initiated pension reform in 2013 to resolve a crisis: the prolonged recession had created a huge Pension Fund de ﬁ cit that required unsustainable subsidies from the state budget. The article analyzes four sets of in ﬂ uences on that reform: those from above (high-level policy makers), inside (government ministries, legislators), below (civil society, public opinion), and outside (international actors, policy learning). We ﬁ nd that the strongest in ﬂ uences come from above and inside, and analyze the con ﬂ icting policy preferences of key actors on reversal of pension privatization, indexation of payments, and age of eligibility. The policy process is protracted and fails to resolve major issues. Irresolution results from the leadership ’ s effort to avoid blame for pension bene ﬁ t cuts despite the weakness of civil society ’ s in ﬂ uence. The current reform effort has been tentative, halting, and indecisive, indicating a government with a diminished capacity to resolve this major social policy problem.
The Russian leadership promotes a vision of a multipolar world where major powers must have their own “zones of influence.” This implies that other “great powers” have to recognize Moscow’s sphere of dominance over the post-Soviet realm. It also makes Russia’s neighbors increasingly reluctant to delegate their sovereignty to institutions of regional integration, as those are likely to become instruments of Russian domination. As the partners do not trust Russia, they insist on a limited character of integration projects. Russia is more likely to be successful in using asymmetric bilateral bargains rather than multilateral institutions to dominate the post-Soviet region.
Russian membership in the Council of Europe is a function of two threats: isolation internationally and too much democratization/liberalization domestically. These concerns conditioned Russia’s halcyon first decade of membership. Looking forward, however, the obligations of membership challenge Vladimir Putin’s limited interest in further domestic reforms at a time when international isolation bothers him less. The authors argue that understanding these varying domestic and international pressures is a good predictor of Russia’s membership interests. The authors explore general hypotheses from this case study about the conditions under which illiberal regimes willingly cede sovereignty in order to join more liberal and democratic international organizations.
The authors seek to contribute to academic debates on migration studies by examining the role of Islam in the integration of Muslim migrants into a multicultural society with a long-standing Islamic component. This study examined some transformations in the religious practices of both Muslim labor migrants and Russian indigenous Muslims in the situation of large migration flows from Central Asia to Russia. The results demonstrate that these transformations take place in both directions by bringing some Central Asian practices into the life of Russian Muslims and vice versa. The authors also pay special attention to the formation of solidarity between and inside these two quasi-communities. They conclude that social solidarity on the basis of common religion is formed inside migrant communities despite ethnic differences rather than between autochthonous Muslims and migrants.
This article concerns the Islamic community in contemporary Russia and the dynamic identities of Muslim migrants there. The focus of this study is the religious and wider social practices of those Muslim migrants who are considered leaders of local micro-communities, enjoy respect within their religious community, and have steadfast religious authority within their circles. These practices are considered in their local religious and migrant contexts through the prism of such concepts as religious individualism, everyday lived Islam, and tactical religion. The author shows multiple ties that emerge between the region’s Muslims, specifically between unofficial local leaders, and other believers who need this authority to elaborate their everyday Muslim practices in the context of migration and the authority crisis in Russian Islam. This study emphasizes the importance of the everyday in the formation of individual religiosity and shows how a local Muslim environment builds up around certain key figures outside the mosque.
The article analyzes the activities of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and accesses its effectiveness.
This article analyzes gender inequality in Russia's rural informal economy. Continuation of unequal gendered roles in Russia's rural informal economy suggests that tradition and custom remain strong. Gender differentials in time spent tending the household garden remain signiﬁcant, as is the distribution of household tasks into gendered roles in ways that effect professional advancement for women. Land ownership is the domain of men, and women are not owners in Russia's new economy. Moreover, men earn more from entrepreneurial activity, a function of how male and female services are valued and priced in society. Responsibility that is shared includes the marketing of household food. The conclusion is that institutional change is less impactful on gender inequality than persistence of culture and tradition.
From a political linguistics perspective, the preparations for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games offer insight into the Kremlin-orcherstrated Olympic discourse, especially the idea of sovereignty-constitutive for Putin's rule - and reveal challenges to this discourse from outside the ruling group.
If the Soviet nationalities policy was one of the most popular topics among students of Soviet history and politics, Russian nationalities policy became one of the least explored topics in Russian politics. Some scholars even claimed about the absence of Russian nationalities policy. The paper explores Russian nationalities policy and argues that certain trends can be traced from the Soviet period. To show the difference between Soviet and Russian perspectives, the distinction between structural and actor levels of nationalities policy is suggested. It is argued that in the Soviet period the structural level (formal status in the administrative hierarchy, recruitment policy, and cultural-language policy) was the priority; in contemporary Russia the policy focuses mostly on the actor level. The structural level should not be neglected. The evaluation of the potential of structural changes for the rise of latent nationalism is based on quantitative assessment of structural elements using a structural equation modeling approach. We construct indices of political and cultural nationalism for 21 Russian republics and use conventional statistical methods to show that accumulation of latent cultural nationalism might be observed in Russian ethnic republics.
Prior to the 2002 electoral reform, political parties in Russia’s regional legislative elections showed poor performance. Since December 2003, however, all regions have been obliged to elect no less than half of the members of their assemblies by proportional representation. As a result, party competition at the sub-national level became unavoidable. This study tests three kinds of hypotheses dealing with the institutional, sociological, and political factors in the fragmentation of party systems within Russia’s regions. The analysis demonstrates that political factors, especially the activity of the Kremlin and the heads of regional executives, have played the primary role in shaping regional party systems.