Homeownership and Housing Finance Policy in the Former Soviet Bloc
The inspiration for this book came from two sets of discussions in 1997 and 1998. One set was with housing finance consultants and policy advisers working in the central European states of Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic and in the Russian Federation. The other set of discussions was with officials and knowledgeable observers in the countries in southeastern Europe and nations other than Russia in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). These conversations illuminated a disturbing pattern. First, the types of homeownership policies and related housing finance policies the bellwether reform states of central Europe were pursuing appeared to have serious limitations. Second, the countries of southeastern Europe and the CIS outside of Russia generally seemed to be strongly influenced by what their colleagues to the north and west were doing. Because these nations had yet to tackle restructuring homeownership policies beyond implementing mass housing privatization schemes, this influence could be decisive. This book is the result of a careful analysis of the actual situation in the more “policy-advanced” transition countries of the former Soviet bloc. The book confirms that my initial foreboding was justified. By and large, the policies adopted, while a definite improvement over those inherited from pre-transition governments, are nevertheless conspicuously inefficient and wasteful. One hopes that the other countries in the region that will soon address new homeownership and housing finance policies will learn from the mistakes of their neighbors. Among the many persons who contributed thoughtful analysis and insights about developments in central Europe, I particularly want to thank Douglas Diamond, Achim Duebel, Jozsef Hegedus, Michael Lea, and Katie Mark. I thank Harold Katsura for a careful reading of the entire manuscript. Eric Zaretsky provided competent research assistance. EEI Communications did an excellent job editing the manuscript. Finally, but certainly not least, I gratefully acknowledge the support of the Urban Institute in writing this book.
One of the most important results of the economic reforms in the housing sector initiated by the law “On Privatization of Housing in the RSFSR” in July 1991 is a fundamental change in the role played by the federal government in the functioning and development of the housing sector. Critically, the government stopped operating as the principal centralized source of housing construction finance. Simultaneously, an attempt was made to improve targeting of government investments in the housing sector, which, despite acute budget deficits, the state continued to provide for the social policy goals. The intensive restructuring of the housing finance system driven by the critical condition of the state budget was truly unprecedented. Before the economic reform started in 1991, the budget was responsible for almost 80 percent of the total volume of new housing. By mid-1999 the share of developers in state ownership was down to 11.3 percent, with only 8.6 percent of the housing built by developers in federal ownership.
The capter is dedicated to the description of the fragmentation of the Russian media-based public sphere, in particular - to the dymanics of media use of the participants of the 'For fair elections' political protest movement in Russia of 2011-2012. Authors counclude that: 1) socio-economic divisions in today's Russia are mirrored in the media use patterns; 2) traditional textocentricism of Russian intelligentsia shows up and shapes media preferences and opinion leading: 3) changes in political behavior online (weakly) correlates with differences in online media use patterns; 4) a nation-wide public counter-sphere has formed in the Russian big cities. A prediction is made that fragmentation of the Russian public sphere will be deepening.
This article revisits the evolution of intergenerational social mobility in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia. In particular, it looks at historical changes in the residential, educational and occupational mobility of Russians. The study contributes to the literature by extending the spectrum of institutional and historical contexts, in which the (in)equality of opportunity has been considered so far, re-examining existing evidence by using alternative datasets and a different methodology.
For an empirical investigation I utilize data from four representative cross-national surveys conducted in Russia in 1994, 2002, 2006 and 2013. Following the theoretical arguments developed in the comparative social mobility research and being informed by their empirical findings, I anticipated (1) a trend towards lesser openness in the late years of the Soviet era; (2) a temporary discontinuity of mobility patterns during the turbulent 1990s; and (3) the stagnation of social mobility in the more stable years of Russia’s post-Soviet history. However, my findings reveal no unambiguous trends suggested by previous research, moreover they contradict some of the earlier evidence. In particular, I found (1) steadily decreasing residential mobility both in absolute and relative terms (implying increasing closure of residential communities); (2) a weakening link between parental and child educational attainment in the post-Soviet era; and (3) the invariance of social fluidity in terms of occupational attainment both in the Soviet and post-Soviet periods. The paper concludes by highlighting some of the remaining questions and possible directions for future research.
Published here is the second part of the article. It begins with discussion of loglinear modeling, a technique which is used to analyze mobility tables and to explore the patterns of relative social mobility. In the rest of the article I discuss the empirical findings with regard to the three dimensions of social mobility outlined above. Finally I draw the conclusions, which generalize findings from both parts of the article.
The Russian variant of land readjustment deals with vacant lands inside or just beyond the city border. In 2011, federal law allowed municipal authorities to provide multi-child families with free land plots. The definite size of land plots (between 0.04 – 0.15 hectares/ 0.09 -0.5 acres [5, 7]), their location, and level of infrastructure provision were under the jurisdiction of the local administration. The first implementation experience of the law showed that the land plots provided to the families were poorly located and needed an enormous amount of additional investment into infrastructure, construction of housing, etc. Moreover, the lack of financial resources pushed the families to sell their land plots at low prices; therefore, the objective of the law was not fulfilled. Because of this setback, the Federal Agency of Housing Construction Financing (AHCF) created the program of multi-child cooperatives.
This paper describes the current state of tenant-ownership developments in Russia, with the stress on municipal housing stock and the role of municipalities as owners of it. The paper is written on the basis of the latest official Russian housing statistics and interviews with Russian housing experts, heads of municipal departments of housing policy in Perm, Dzerzinsky and Tula, as well as observation of the work of the group of housing experts involved in a network known as ‘State Strategy 2020’. The paper is illustrated with examples from large industrial municipalities such as Perm, which has a population of almost 1m.
The concept of housing requires a new understanding to effectively address the pressing issues of slums, the urban divide, economic and human development, and climate change. No longer regarded as simply a roof over one's head, housing today plays a crucial role in achieving sustainable development. Sustainable Housing for Sustainable Cities outlines key concepts and considerations underpinning the idea of sustainable housing and provides a comprehensive framework for designing sustainable housing policies and practical actions. Although sustainable housing is often considered from a predominantly green perspective this book advocates a more holistic approach, which recognises the multiple functions of housing as both a physical and socio-cultural system and which seeks to enhance and harmonise the environmental, social, cultural, and economic dimensions of housing sustainability to ensure prosperous residential neighbourhoods and equitable cities.
All contemporary societies are now culturally plural, with many ethnic, cultural, and religious groups attempting to live together in one civic space. The attention paid to how a reasonable degree of mutual acceptance can be achieved among these groups has been extensively examined by many disciplines. Psychologists have also examined these issues, using concepts such as ethnic attitudes, multicultural ideology, perceived threat/security, and prejudice. This study continues this psychological approach, while being rooted in the conceptualizations and findings available from these other disciplines. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia and other former Soviet republics faced new challenges of achieving mutual acceptance and adaptation among members of the larger society (representatives of the ‘host’ nations) and members of other ethnic groups as well as immigrants. In this paper, we portray the current context, including the immigration dynamics in contemporary Russia, as well as a description of migrants and the problems they face. We will then present the theoretical scheme underlying the study, including the hypotheses, the research methods, the main variables and the results of structural equation modeling.
Democratically elected municipal government had no housing role in the Soviet era in Russia, as all housing belonged to the central state and was administered by its local agents. After 1990, a massive privatization of housing was achieved first through the transfer of stock from industrial companies to municipalities and then through no-cost transfer of ownership to the tenants. But the municipalities who lost this briefly-held housing stock to privatization now find themselves owners of 11% of all the housing in Russia: much more in some regions. Poor condition stock and the inability of the new owners to meet maintenance costs have led to a growing housing role for local authorities, who have many new responsibilities and expectations from local residents, but few resources. Although the situation has parallels in other post-socialist countries, the scale in Russia is greater, and there is no EU aid, nor any tradition either of ownership or of collective responsibility. Economic crisis in Europe and a slow down in housing construction in Russia mean that new policies for rental housing are needed. This review considers historic and recent changes in housing policy in the Russian Federation in the light of the emerging housing rôle of municipal governments. In the review we draw on national data as well an in-depth case study of the city of Perm to illustrate the impact of this transformation. Following a national meeting of housing experts in 2011, a new Government Strategy for 2020 has been established and is also discussed.
New political, social and cultural reality in the first five years since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
This volume intends to fill the gap in the range of publications about the post-transition social housing policy developments in Central and Eastern Europe by delivering critical evaluations about the past two decades of developments in selected countries’ social housing sectors, and showing what conditions have decisively impacted these processes.
Contributors depict the different paths the countries have taken by reviewing the policy changes, the conditions institutions work within, and the solutions that were selected to answer the housing needs of vulnerable households. They discuss whether the differences among the countries have emerged due to the time lag caused by belated reforms in selected countries, or whether any of the disparities can be attributed to differences inherited from Soviet times. Since some of the countries have recently become member states of the European Union, the volume also explores whether there were any convergence trends in the policy approaches to social housing that can be attributed to the general changes brought about by the EU accession.
The paper examines the structure, governance, and balance sheets of state-controlled banks in Russia, which accounted for over 55 percent of the total assets in the country's banking system in early 2012. The author offers a credible estimate of the size of the country's state banking sector by including banks that are indirectly owned by public organizations. Contrary to some predictions based on the theoretical literature on economic transition, he explains the relatively high profitability and efficiency of Russian state-controlled banks by pointing to their competitive position in such functions as acquisition and disposal of assets on behalf of the government. Also suggested in the paper is a different way of looking at market concentration in Russia (by consolidating the market shares of core state-controlled banks), which produces a picture of a more concentrated market than officially reported. Lastly, one of the author's interesting conclusions is that China provides a better benchmark than the formerly centrally planned economies of Central and Eastern Europe by which to assess the viability of state ownership of banks in Russia and to evaluate the country's banking sector.
The paper examines the principles for the supervision of financial conglomerates proposed by BCBS in the consultative document published in December 2011. Moreover, the article proposes a number of suggestions worked out by the authors within the HSE research team.