St. Petersburg is home to the discussion club Polit-Gramota. The club sees itself as an alternative public space that offers young people the opportunity to discuss politics and society freely. At the same time, they acquire the skills needed for a career in journalism, civil society, and politics. Even at the height of the political polarisation that accompanied the mass protests against election fraudin the winter of 2011-12, Polit-Gramota was able to maintain its neutrality and guarantee pluralism. This protects free spaces for expression in an authoritarian state and lets young people, who are ignored in mainstream politics, be heard.
Pensions play a key role for the social situation in Russia. Directly or indirectly, half of all households draw pension payments. Moreover, pensions were increased significantly in recent years. At the same time, the pension system is in a precarious situation.
There are major shortfalls every year, which must be offset by subsidies from the state budget. This makes society dependent on the state and the pension system as a whole vulnerable to fluctuations in the budget, which for its part depends on the highly volatile oil prices on international commodity markets. For Russia, the creation of a selfsustaining system of social security is therefore a key modernisation project.
Today, a part of the subculture on the Russian Internet openly and aggressively supports the government camp. In particular, there are the “padonki” (riff-raff), whose incorrect orthography and obscene vocabulary once intentionally provoked readers, but whose neologisms have since become a part of popular culture. The apparent contradiction between the once rebellious behaviour of these groups and their current position in close proximity to the state dissolves upon closer inspection. Ressentiment belonged to the mental disposition of the padonki from the start. The ruling regime has successfully taken advantage of this disposition and now profits from the renown of the former padonki.
Russian society has a dual structure. On the one hand, the state has created formal professional castes, to which it allocates resources based on the principle of welfare-state distributive justice. On the other hand, there exist informal “corporations”. Politics in Russia revolves around the conflict between these two principles of order. On one side are those who want to allocate resources according to the principles of a deeply socialist caste society; on the other side are the members of different regions, sectors, concerns, clans, or ethnic groups who want to see resources allocated according to the unwritten “rules” of a fluctuating hierarchy of these “corporations”.
Russlands Parallelwelten Dynamische Zentrum, stagnierende Peripherie
The Bolsheviks introduced "red funereals' after the October Revolution. These civilian rituals were designed to replace Christian rites and spread the worldview of the new state. Outside of the major cities, however, this type of ceremony never took hold. It was abandoned at the latest after the Great Patriotic War, and religious customs were revived. Only state funerals at the Kremlin necropolis had to be conducted in observance of official Soviet rites. However, even these apparently worldly rituals were rooted in the Christian tradition. At the same time, many people regarded the Soviet practices, particularly the cremation of important individuals, as being a severe breach of cultural traditions.
Why doesn’t Russia grow? While Russia’s economy still has a lot of potential, levels of investment and firm entry have been low and declining over the last couple of years. Even more so than international sanctions and declining oil prices, one of the main reasons for Russia’s adverse investment climate are adverse institutions. In this paper, we show that losing your firm through predatory raiding attacks by criminal groups or corrupt state agencies has remained a real risk throughout the last 15 years. Similarly, high levels of regulatory pressure by law enforcement agencies have remained a serious obstacle to entrepreneurs and investors. In the paper, we first describe the scope of the problem, and then analyze why despite repeated attempts the Kremlin has not been able to solve the issue.
Die Wissenschaft in Russland ist von Paradoxien geprägt. Obwohl sich
das Putin-System scharf vom Westen, seinen Werten und Verfahren abgrenzt,
steuert die Regierung Lehre und Forschung an Universitäten und
Instituten zunehmend nach neoliberalen Prinzipien und Standards, die
vom Westen übernommen werden. Marktlogik dominiert. Russlands Führung
will die Internationalisierung der Universitäten vorantreiben und die
Wettbewerbsfähigkeit der russländischen Forschung erhöhen. Gleichzeitig
versucht der autoritäre Staat, die internationalen Kontakte der Wissenschaftler
zu kontrollieren. Mehrere Wissenschaftler wurden nach fragwürdigen
Verfahren als Spione inhaftiert, andere als „ausländische Agenten“
stigmatisiert. Die Freiheit der Wissenschaften ist sowohl von den neoliberalen
Praktiken wie auch von der autoritären Herrschaft bedroht.