This study investigates work schedules in online labour markets, operating in 24/7 mode across spatial borders and time zones. Focusing on largely hidden and invisible work of freelancers such as searching for jobs and communicating with clients, the study documents how platforms put pressures and constraints on freelancers’ time through the mechanism of task allocation. We use data on 241,582 timestamped messages posted by 29,759 unique users in 4082 contests on a leading Russian-language freelance platform to reveal how freelancers’ efforts to get a job make them work nonstandard hours, including evenings, nights and weekends. Freelancers have to be responsive and adapt their schedules to clients’ needs. Freelancers who live in time zones which differ from their clients are particularly disadvantaged, working a greater proportion of nonstandard hours. The findings emerging from the study contribute to current debates on the gig economy and a new time-work discipline.
Introduction and Aims: Sales and survey data have shown a decline in alcohol consumption in Russia since 2007. This study examines whether this decline is consistent across lighter and heavier drinkers in line with the theory of the collectivity of drinking cultures. Design and Methods: Data was collected through annual nationally representative surveys conducted between 2006 and 2018 of 33,109 individuals aged 18–85. We estimated generalized linear regression with Gamma distribution and used log alcohol volume consumed during the previous 30 days as the dependent variable for five percentile groups: heavy drinkers (95th), near heavy drinkers (90th), moderate drinkers (80th), light drinkers (60th for men and 70th for women) and non-drinkers. Dummy variables for years, percentile groups and their interactions were used as independent variables. The controls were age, education, income, body weight, marital status, household demographic structure, residence, ethnicity and regional climate. Results: Reductions in alcohol consumption were observed in all percentiles, but the scale of change was proportionally smaller among heavier drinkers than among lighter drinkers. However, consumption fell by a smaller amount among lighter drinkers than among heavier drinkers. Results of the regression analysis fit with the descriptive statistics. Interactions between the time period and the percentile groups were significant after 2010. Trends were similar for both genders. Discussion and Conclusions: Downward trends across percentiles were in the same direction but the magnitude of change varied. Obtained evidence fails to support a polarization and points towards soft collectivity hypothesis in the reduction in drinking in Russia.
This book explores the contradictory development of gender roles in Central and Eastern Europe including Russia. In light of the social changes that followed the collapse of communism and the rise of new conservatism in Eastern Europe, it studies new forms of gender relationships and reassesses the status quo of female empowerment. Moreover, leading scholars in gender studies discuss how right-wing populism and conservative movements have affected sociopolitical discourses and concepts related to gender roles, rights, and attitudes, and how Western feminism in the 1990s may have contributed to this conservative turn.
Mainly focusing on power constellations and gender, the book is divided into four parts: the first explores the history of and recent trends in feminist movements in Eastern Europe, while the second highlights the dynamics and conflicts that gained momentum after neoconservative parties gained political power in post-socialist countries. In turn, the third part discusses new empowerment strategies and changes in gender relationships. The final part illustrates the identities, roles, and concepts of masculinity created in the sociocultural and political context of Eastern Europe.
Work through online labour platforms, which match freelancers and clients located anywhere, gained prominence in Russia and Ukraine over the past decade. Using survey data of online freelancers in Russia and Ukraine, this chapter inquiries into gender specifics of online work. It shows that some important structural gender differences in online work exist in both countries. These differences are primarily manifested by gender segregation into different sectors of activity. These structural gender differences, along with gender differences in online tenure, working hours, and family responsibilities, translate into persisting gender differences in earnings in both countries. Despite this, women seem to be happier with online work than men (in Russia), or at least as happy as men (in Ukraine). The chapter discusses the reasons and potential policy implications of these findings.
Earning has been traditionally prescribed to male identity, while housekeeping management to the female. The opening of the labor market for women partly weakened gender inequality and the connection between gender and economic performance. However, that decision only opened a “male” economic role for all and kept the “female”-governing household expenditures underestimated. Based on the data of 37 in-depth interviews with middle-class housewives from Moscow, Russia, carried out between 2014-2019 using grounded theory methodology, the chapter reconstructs two lines of argumentation used by women to justify that management of household expenditures can be chosen as a main economic activity without the shame of failing modern gender standards. The first one is denoted as a “consumptive thrift” or “frugal approach.” It explains expenditures of a household as a form of saving and a way to obtain control over the family’s budget and needs. This approach uses economic rationality to suppress impulsive decisions and emphasize the similarity with actions of earning. The second logic is described as “consumption as social reproduction” or “abundant approach.” It points to the dissimilarity between female-driven spending to male earning. In this view, household expenditures make the family a domain of recovery, satisfaction, and relational work that is impossible without the satisfaction of desires.
The advent of information and communication technologies has fueled the digital freelance economy with millions of independent contractors (freelancers) from all over the world, working for distant clients through online labour platforms. This chapter observes how the Russian language and specific socio-economic factors facilitate a distinct online labour market, that operates across the vast territory of the former Soviet Union and beyond. The data from a leading Russian-language online labour platform shed light on the complex geography of the digital freelance economy in Russia, and some important trends over an almost fifteen-year period. The study contributes to the emerging literature on the geography of the digital labour in the globalizing world.
In recent years, Silicon Valley startups have become some of the most successful corporations in the world. They advance the abandonment of bureaucratic control of employees, for example, they do not keep track of what time employees come to work or what they are wearing, and instead delegate decision-making rights to employees and are attentive to their opinions. But what happens behind the closed doors of those companies promoting such openness and the overthrow of the hierar- chy and bureaucratic rules? How and by whom are they controlled? The book by Catherine J. Turco (2016) shows how corporate communica- tion, culture, and control actually work in a company run by millennials reared on social media. During her ethnographic research, Turco describes how a new organizational form she calls a “conversational firm” has arisen and succeeded in solving business problems due to cross-hierarchical communication. One of Turko’s main findings is that subverting the hierarchical control of communication does not mean the hierarchical structure of decision making must fall as well. Thus, employees may prefer some bureaucratic practices and insist on them.
This study examines the ethics of political consultants in Russia using the materials of 73 interviews with election campaigners (political consultants, chiefs of staff, field workers, lawyers, etc.). The study suggests that it is impossible to speak of Russian political consultants as a single community sharing common values. This professional group is heterogeneous and includes people with different perceptions of norms and ethical boundaries. Based on the analysis of the interviews, a classification of political consultants’ professional taboos was developed: universal human morality, ideological orientation, professional orientation, procedural taboos, and legal boundaries. Interestingly, some of the informants used the rhetoric of justification when talking about ethical restrictions. The existence of certain standards of behavior was justified by the fact that the informant was somehow different from the “correct” political consultants (professional biography, belief system, etc.). The absence of ethical boundaries in several cases could be interpreted as a norm and a sign of professionalism, as opposed to as an anomaly.
What is the reason for the low commercialization of high-tech innovations in Russia? Given the Russian engineers’ high scores on initiative, creativity, and technical competence, why is there no successful launch of manufactured—often amazing—inventions on domestic and international markets? Does Russia have a specific way of development in the sphere of high technologies? The research team of sociologists from the European University at St. Petersburg (EUSP)—Olga Bychkova, Boris Gladarev, Oleg Harkhordin, and Zhanna Tsinman—offer answers to these questions in their book, Sci-Fi Worlds of Russian Hi-Tech. Based on a large set of in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs from Russia, as well as Finland, Taiwan, and South Korea, the authors’ focus is not on institutions but on the technopreneurs themselves, who update the hightech markets on their daily practices, ways of social interaction, worldviews, interactions with developers, technical prototypes, and themselves. Employing the concepts from the theory of practice and science and technology studies (STS), the authors have attempted to re-examine the life worlds of Russian technopreneurs and to align their individual narratives with the sociocultural context in which the daily life of developers is embedded. The researchers show the way that engineers live, in which value categories make sense of their work and daily practices, and how it may determine the technological development of the Russian economy and the whole society at the macro level.
The book is filled with detailed and thorough descriptions of methodology and fieldwork, rich and illustrative quotations from the narratives of innovators, and the justification for the theoretical framework of the study. It is addressed to a wide readership and will be useful for sociologists, including those interested in research on science and technology, and for the general public who strives to open up the daily life of those whose works try to “crack the laws of the universe.”
News media tend to reflect voices in the political establishment while cov-ering international events. Is it still true when almost half of the national audience speak the language of the country featured in the coverage? In this paper, we present an analysis of 19.5k news messages collected from Russian-language Ukrainian news outlets covering the 2018 presidential elections in Russia. Using a mixed-method approach (topic modeling and qualitative reading), we identify key topics and stories and evaluate the ex-tent of personalization in the election coverage. We find three central angles: the focus on polls and election results, election preparations in Crimea, and Vladimir Putin’s victory. The elections are linked predominantly to Crimean issues through the date of the elections, each candidate’s stance on the sub-ject, the election management in the region, and other countries’ reactions to the results. Such coverage has an accusatory bias; it stresses the legal status of the Crimean referendum and the Russian authorities’ actions and reports the pressures on locals by authorities, especially the Crimean Tatars. Not linked directly to Crimea, other angles are less emotionally charged. Political personalization of the discussion has a contradictory nature. On one hand, the overwhelming majority of the messages mention public figures. On the other hand, the coverage of the figures is limited and omits their traits. More-over, at times, public figures are replaced by non-personalized symbols (e.g., Kremlin, Russian invaders). However, if the former’s coverage is predomi-nantly neutral, the latter’s coverage is more prone to negative and loaded statements.
This article examines agenda-setting theory. I compare the results of Levada Center surveys on the most memorable issues of the month with the number of publications on those issues in the Russian press from 2014 to 2016. In total, 884 issues are analyzed in the article. The results of the study confirm the impact of discussions in the media on people’s attention to an issue. The results also show that the discussions in the media one week before the date of polling are more important than the issues covered over the entire month. People better remember those issues that took place shortly before the polling, as well as those issues with intensifying discussions during the period. It is also important to note the role of regional publications in the sensitization of the public to various issues. Issues covered by national newspapers and news agencies but ignored by the regional press are significantly less remembered by the population.
In this paragraph, the authors focus on analysing all the factors related to the accumulation of human potential and the integration of new knowledge in rural communities on Altai Krai’s Kulunda steppe that are largely responsible for the sustainable socio-economic development of this area. The analysis leads them to conclude that the understanding of the term ‘sustainable development’ in the directives of the krai and municipal administrations should be expanded in order to allow for the implementation of a number of measures. Those aimed at the socio-economic development of the region to ensure a specific quality of life for all generations in rural communities, both contemporary and future, that would involve the full realization of their human potential.
Russian elections have been severely compromised by allegations of fraud, which makes public opinion polls an important source of information about popular support for Vladimir Putin and his policies. Putin's high ratings as well as the wide use of polls by his administration suggest that his rule is essentially democratic. This paper challenges this view by discussing the specific conception of democratic representation behind polling practices. Far from being a perfect mode of representation, opinion polls are capable of manufacturing the political reality they represent. The paper demonstrates how Russian authorities use polls to replace referenda and to legitimize the results of elections and thereby exposes the representational machine that turns polls into an efficient tool for governance, maintaining the hegemony and promoting de-politicisation. The distinction between partial and total representation, drawn from Ernesto Laclau's work, serves to illuminate the cases when polls and official election returns actually diverge and shows how the legitimacy of a regime is secured by the politics of representation that leaves a significant part of the Russian population unrepresented.
Empirical studies in democracies have revealed some degree of causal relationship between public opinion and foreign policy. A look at the relationship between the evolution of Russian foreign policy priorities, as evidenced in the Foreign Policy Concepts (2000, 2008, 2013 and 2016), and public opinion regarding foreign policy measured from 1997 to 2018 shows significant shifts in perceptions of the nation’s international image. The amity/enmity feelings towards others can be explained as responses to key international events, endorsing the thesis of a rational and reactive public. Overall, public opinion and the official policy line in Russia move in the same direction.
The study compares the networked issue agendas of Vladimir Putin and Alexey Navalny in Russian mainstream media and on the Internet utilizing the theoretical framework of issue ownership theory. We analyze the period from December 12, 2016 to December 12, 2017. The analysis shows that the issue agendas of Putin and Navalny are similar in the mainstream media and on the Internet. In both media types, Putin is often mentioned in connection with economic issues and international relations, which attract the attention of the population and are perceived as important. Navalny is associated with the issues of civic activism, NGOs and anti-corruption.
This study detects and describes a specific set of possible alternatives to local rural development, as exemplified in Altai Krai’s Kulunda steppe that can be implemented in a number of so-called analytical scenarios that the authors substantiate. The first scenario, which involves the natural deterioration of the settlement milieu of Kulunda steppe communities, has already begun and, in the authors’ opinion, is being aided by the state’s inarticulate agrarian policy and the nature of the agricultural market. However, under certain conditions, the authors concede that it might be displaced by a second scenario, which leads to a transformation of Altai Krai’s Kulunda steppe into an area with high-tech farming and processing enclaves that dominate the backward rural district, which is distinguished by unsustainable, inert and intermittent development that allows for only fragmentary modernization. The authors believe that the third scenario—the overall sustainable socio-economic development of this area based on a policy of ‘manageable contraction’ and ‘diversified development’ would be the most desirable.