After the economic and ideological changes of the 1990’s older people in Russia have shifted to become the most vulnerable, poor and disrespected group in the country’s population. However, despite the slowly recovering birth rate and low life expectancy, the older population is predicted to constitute almost a quarter of the Russian population (24.8%) in 2016.
However, so called “people’s universities” have long been part of the Soviet tradition and were renewed mostly for the education for older people in the post-Soviet era. Mostly they are supported by non-profit organisations and offer informal education on a range of topics and crafts. These programmes have proved to be enjoyed by older learners and are recognised to be major contributors to active ageing in Russia. Nevertheless, their numbers and capacities are not sufficient to respond to the variety of needs and interests of older people. At the same time large formal educational institutions such as universities do not usually consider the older population to be a target audience for their programmes.
Nevertheless, some political steps have been made by a few Russian regions. This article reports on a national survey of University of the Third Age-type provision for older people in eight cities nationwide. For example, in the Republic of Bashkortostan a region-wide governmentally sponsored programme, “Third Age Universities for All”, came into operation in 2011. A small survey of U3A students in one city is reported. It suggests that while the programme needs to be amended in many ways, it sets a worthwhile precedent and hopefully will be followed by other regions.
The chapter discusses the development of an age-friendly program in the Russian Federation from the first research stage in the city of Tuymazy to its current state of the regional program with 21 participating municipalities. Background information on the project’s initiation in the introductory section is followed by three parts. In the first part, based on the data of the research phase, we examine conditions that preceded the program and suggestions for improvements made by the city residents. In the second part, we discuss steps and strategies that helped us to trigger and develop the age-friendly project in the city of Tuymazy and beyond. In the third part, we review the current state of the regional program, identify challenges and constraints for its further development and sustainability, and in conclusion, we provide a summary of our analysis.
This paper is aimed at applying and analyzing international active ageing indices in Russia, including the Active Ageing Index (AAI), developed by European Centre Vienna, and Global AgeWatch Index by HelpAge International, to provide the base for cross-national comparison and development of a comprehensive national policy on active ageing. Our research was motivated by the following questions (1) to what extent can the international approaches to measure active ageing be applied to the Russian context and data? (2) to what extent a country’s position in the ranking is sensitive to the index methodology and data used? (3) whether and under what conditions Russia can improve its positions in the active ageing indices? To answer these questions, we estimated the AAI for Russia based on eight data sources and recalculated some of the AgeWatch Index results based on reliable data. The methodology of both indices and the quality and adequacy of the data used are discussed in detail in the paper. The results show that ranking of Russia according to these indices varies considerably from the 65th place out of 96 countries by the Global AgeWatch Index to the 18th place among 29 countries (28 EU countries plus Russia) by the AAI. Nevertheless, both indices draw rather similar pictures of active ageing potential in Russia. We provide some recommendations on how the indicators can be modified to capture some peculiarities of the ageing context in Russia and other countries with similar demographic, economic and social context.
Developed countries are facing an urgent problem of population aging. How can we overcome social and economic consequences of aging processes?
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