The article discusses power asymmetries and transcultural entanglements in the Baikal region on the border between the Russian and Qing empires. The Russian imperial authorities used transculturality, the diversity of the regional population and its transboundary connections, as a resource in their attempts to control parts of the former Qing Empire, but at the same time they tried to reduce it through Russification, Christianisation, and the homogenisation of social groups, which led to protest and instability instead of the anticipated results. Consolidation of Russian rule in some spheres undermined its control over others and led to an unexpected increase in cultural and political diversity.
This paper aims to explain the alternation of phases in the Soviet nationalities policy through developments in foreign policy, demonstrating the alternation of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ waves. Drawing upon Randall Collins’ geopolitical theory within a broader historical macrosociology perspective, I examine the effect of geopolitical tensions on the patterns of nationalities policy. Collins argues that geopolitical stability positively affects multiculturalism, while periods of geopolitical tension are associated with assimilation. I test Collins’ theory using a dataset on USSR engagement in international conflicts between 1926 and 1991. The results conform to our theoretical expectations: international security issues have a significant effect on Soviet nationalities policy.
This article examines popular participation in the anti-bolshevik movement in Arkhangel’sk province of the Russian North during the first months of the Civil War. Using the example of local administration, mobilisation and bread supply it demonstrates how the particularities of the revolution in the province influenced the growth of the White movement and how people were able partly to adjust the anti-bolshevik regime to their own needs. It thus shifts the traditional scholarly focus from the bolshevik-controlled centre to the Russian periphery, and from elite party politics to the role of population in shaping the White regime.
Review of Lucan Way's book, 'Pluralism by Default: Weak Autocrats and the Rise of Competitive Politics'.
This article attempts to open up the black box of the Russian Presidential Administration (‘the Kremlin’). Borrowing from literature on ‘institutional presidencies’ and institutional approaches to authoritarianism, I argue that the administration institutionalised over the years. More stable and predictable procedures enhanced administrative presidential powers, but personalism and non-compliance with presidential orders remained. Original data on budget, staff, units, organisational structure, and presidential assignments demonstrates that presidential power should be conceptualised as a polymorphous phenomenon that varies depending on the level of analysis. Researchers should aim to depersonalise their analyses and focus on ‘institutional presidencies’ and ‘centres of government’ instead.
This paper presents findings from in-depth interviews (N = 136) conducted among students at leading Russian universities. Qualitative analysis reveals a three-way divide in how the students imagine Russia’s future. The largest group is optimistic about Russia, seeing it as a global power. A second, smaller group expects Russia to decline in the coming years, while the third group is undecided and unwilling to make forecasts. The paper considers the arguments of the ‘optimists’ and ‘pessimists’, who respectively backed and criticized Crimea’s incorporation into Russia. The paper highlights the association between support for the annexation and optimism about Russia’s future.
This article uses the example of Arkhangel’sk province in North Russia to examine how the two main parties in the Russian Civil War—the Bolsheviks and the White armies—used elements of nationalism and xenophobia to delegitimise their enemies. It reveals the evolution of patriotic rhetoric, first used by the Whites to discredit the Bolsheviks as German agents, and then by the Reds to delegitimise the Whites as agents of the Entente. In the 1920s anti-Allied sentiments became the main trope in the memory of the civil war both among émigrés and in the Soviet North.
Much of the economics and political science literarure on economic change since the fall of the Soviet Union interprets that experience through the lens of rational choice, assuming a logic of instrumental rationality. In such a perspective, people have clear goals and act as individuals to achieve them in a relatively straightforward manner. Societal outcomes, including economic change, are the aggregate result of these individual choices. This perspective inclines analysts to take the existence of institutions and organisations as given, without examining what they are made up of, and how they are reproduced or change, in ‘everyday practices of “little people”’
The article examines how Russian criticism of the normative power Europe (NPE) has evolved. Initially Russia insisted that NPE arguments covered realpolitik. However, two new approaches have recently emerged in Russian reporting on human rights in the EU. One is the demonstration that the EU does not qualify as a normative power. Another is the development of an alternative interpretation of human rights. Russia has, therefore, mastered all NPE critiques. This has occurred as the result of a change in how Russia views international relations. Moscow’s ultimate goal has, however, remained unchanged; it is to reaffirm its equality with key global players.
The introduction of the Unified State Examination (USE) in Russian higher education has been the subject of much debate. One of the primary factors hindering the transition has been ambivalent public and professional perceptions of the effectiveness of the USE in addressing the problems associated with inequalities of access to higher education. This essay contributes to research in this area through a case study analysing the introduction of the USE in Ul'yanovsk Oblast’. It draws on survey data collected from pupils and parents of final year high school students about the USE reforms and explores the reasons why the transition to USE did not proceed as smoothly as its creators might have envisaged. Here the negative perceptions of the high-school graduates and parents reveal that the reforms have been judged to be largely ineffective with regard to reducing the role of material and regional inequalities in determining access to higher education, and in addressing how the differing institutional status of ordinary ‘comprehensive’ and elite, specialised schools continues to create inequalities in access to higher education in Russia.
The essay examines the social policy principles underlying state funding schemes that shape the functioning of non-profit organisations in service delivery in Russia. Scrutinising federal and regional financial tools, the analysis reveals that some non-profit organisations are engaged with a neoliberal logic promoting state funding based on competitive grant processes and a means-tested approach to clients, while others seek privileged access to state resources to secure a statist and stratified service provision for their members. The essay argues that neoliberal principles are extended through contracting-out and are undermining statist practices; however, a situation is emerging within competitive outsourcing procedures in which selected organisations are still receiving privileged treatment from the state
The tasks that Russian policy tried to solve in Central Asia during Vladimir Putin’s presidency (2000–2008) were formulated by Russian political and expert elite circles in the mid-1990s. Boris Yeltsin’s presidential decree of 14 September 1995 proclaimed the reintegration of post-Soviet space around Russia as the major foreign policy priority.1 As a whole, the Russian political class wanted to compensate for the substantial loss of regional influence that occurred in the 1990s
This essay examines the development of a form of Russian-speaking Belarusian national identity. While Belarus’s early post-Soviet nationalists relied upon Belarusian as the central pillar of national identity, this has been challenged by more ‘pragmatic’ nationalists using the ‘language of the people’, namely, Russian. Analysing history textbooks and popular history books that represent three key identity projects in Belarus, this study sheds light on the specific programmatic ideas of a new Russian-speaking Belarusian nationalism. Despite the emergence of the geopolitically-motivated Russian World (Russkii Mir) concept, some Russian-speaking nationalists have articulated a programme that paradoxically draws upon Russian neo-Eurasianist thought, but which is simultaneously anti-Russian.