The paper is aimed at exploring the Russian state return to the highly competitive industry of retail trade by adopting restrictive industry-specific legislation in 2009. We reveal a new precedent model of governance using the liberal rhetoric of the competition protection to justify intervention in interfirm contractual relations. We use survey data collected from 843 retailers and suppliers in 2013 to demonstrate that the new legislation had not achieved the proclaimed goals. The paper concludes that instead of market facilitation, the new state activism leads to the further suppression of business and the subversion of antimonopoly policy.
The authors consider cooperation as a specific, alternative form of economic organization to the standard business firm within a market economy, and focus on agricultural cooperation in Russia. First, the article engages with the key milestones of the history of cooperation in Russia: (1) the first attempts to establish cooperative organizations before the Russian Revolution (agricultural societies, agricultural partnerships and credit cooperatives) which gave the poor rural population a chance to improve living standards and ensured promising prospects for the long-term development of cooperation in all forms; (2) the dependent forms of consumer and production cooperation under the Soviet regime that deprived all collective forms of their true cooperative nature. In the second part of the article, the authors describe the current state of the cooperative movement in the Russian countryside and identify its basic features, such as opposition to family farming and the state capitalist tendencies of the concentration and vertical integration in the form of agroholdings; state rural cooperation policies which aim to promote and financially support small farming including the development of rural cooperatives; the number and types of cooperatives in the countryside; the reasons for debates on cooperation legislation; the viability of the main types of agricultural cooperatives (production, consumer, credit cooperation). Finally, the authors emphasize that cooperation in contemporary Russia does not fit the classic Western scheme of cooperative development and still has to overcome a number of substantial challenges (the soviet legacy, lack of bottom-up initiatives, the ideological and economic dominance of large-scale farming, poor academic expertise in the field of cooperation studies).
Russia’s criminal justice system must contribute to the country’s social integrity and equilibrium. And yet in Russia, as in most of the post-Soviet states, instead of being used as a means of producing public good, criminal justice has become a vehicle of institutional overturn. In other words, in its overall logic, Russia’s criminal justice system to this day generally subordinates the daily safety and security needs of the public to the overall (implied) objective of protecting the national political system and the political-economic elite.
The paper reports on the organizational transformation of the Russian defence industry during the period of privatisation and radical market reforms. The study is based on the results of the original large-scale longitudinal survey of the directors (CEOs) of the industry. We find that during a decade of transition, 1996-2006, Russian defence industry managers were able to largely preserve the production potential of their enterprises and make them capable to operate under market conditions. Coupled with the restoration of government orders and the 2020 rearmament program these newly acquired market skills contributed to the impressive revival of the Russian defence industry in the Putin’s era.
Nonstandard work schedules have important consequences for workers in the new economy. Using unique data on the work times of Internet-based freelancers, specifically, self-employed professionals participating in a Russian-language online labor market (N = 4,280), the authors find that working at night has adverse effects on workers’ subjective well-being as measured by satisfaction with work–life balance, life satisfaction, and emotional exhaustion. Night work has differential effects on freelancers’ well-being based on gender, partnership status, and caregiving responsibilities. Highlighting the autonomy paradox, the authors’ findings document how freelancers’ discretionary application of a flexible schedule to work at night consequently undermines their well-being.
Lotta Björklund Larsen’s new book is an ethnography written as a “social biography of things” which is not a rare case in modern Western anthropology. What makes this ethnography special is that the “thing” under study is a report by in-house analysts of the Swedish Tax Agency based on their own two-year research into errors made by small businesses in their annual tax returns. Of course, the anthropologist followed the Agency’s Task Force, not in order to understand why Swedish entrepreneurs make such mistakes, but to understand how the Agency obtains its information
about tax compliance and uses it to motivate citizens to comply, and to what extent the Agency itself is shaped by taxpayers’ perceptions of fairness and by their ways of defining the boundaries between
private and public and between household and business in everyday life. Björklund Larsen claims that, because of the law’s inconsistency, Swedish auditors work as the law’s interpreters and develop artistic skills to balance two different sets of values — “hard” and “soft”. Hard values of controllability are used to legitimate audits, soft values of empathy help to show society that the Agency collects a “fair” amount of money. Even though the Agency appears to have been very successful in this “creolization” of values over the last few decades, the balancing is always very political and risky, and, in order to save its reputation and to maintain the trust of society in most ambiguous situations, the Agency prefers not to rock the boat and to brush research results under the carpet. I would highly recommend Shaping Taxpayers to anyone interested in knowledge production, technology, and government studies.
Modern organizations are no longer just formal rational entities for researchers – they have proved to have a culture, and their employees are real people. One way to hear those people’s voices is listening to stories they tell. Storytelling in organizations uncovers internal events and their interpretations, allows revealing the hidden world of emotions, where there are power conflicts, values interiorization (or denial), and new order development. Three stories told by the employees of the “Russian Post” Moscow Head office show the employees’ perception of organizational change, launched by the managerial shift in 2013. Personnel changes, communication between the Head office and periphery, as well as the interaction among the departments and with the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation are viewed through the metaphors of “drama”, “unmanaged organization” and “storytelling organization”. A common phrase “Well, that’s the Postal Service!” turns out to be much more complex and concealing a set of problems and processes, not all of which have yet been realized even within the organization.
The article analyzes how the Russian media cover activities of Alexei Navalny, an opposition politician. On the basis of the data from the company Medialogy, the author examines the intensity and tone of the discussion about Navalny in print and electronic newspapers, blogs, and also on the three largest federal channels — “Channel One”, “Russia-1” and “NTV”. Her research shows that the tendency to ignore Navalny’s activities is almost an exclusive feature of television, which seeks a trade-off between silencing this activity and discrediting the politician, while other types of media cover it quite widely. According to the author’s conclusion, Navalny attracts heightened attention due to both state actions directed against him, as well as his own political and anti-corruption activity. Despite a slight increase in the share of positive messages in the discussion about Navalny, it is predominantly of a critical nature. Curiously, the tone of the discussion depends on the communication channel itself rather than the occurring events. Different types of media cover the politician’s activities in a different way: the same information can trigger criticism of Navalny in the traditional (pro-governmental) media and a campaign in his defense in the Internet publications and blogs.
The discussion on My Five Major Challenges as a Teacher was the first meeting within professional development program for HSE faculty, namely, Teach for HSE. The program is designed to improve teaching skills and represents a working tool that will allow any committed teacher to either design a new course from scratch or to redesign an existing one. Participants will discuss teaching models adopted by the leading universities. In the first cycle, the focus will be placed on problem-based learning. The organizers hope that the program will stimulate an ever wider discussion on teaching to evolve. In this paper the reader is introduced to four personal reflections on teaching experiences by teachers in widely different domains: sociology, economics, political science, and English as a foreign language. Even though they have been teaching to college students for many years, every day they have to answer questions regarding what to teach, how to teach, what to teach for, and whom they teach.
The paper examines issues connected with the implementation of MOOCs in teaching, motivation to study on these courses and the attitudes of the students and faculty towards the possible substitution of university courses for MOOCs. The study is also devoted to the evaluation of determinants in the demand for MOOCs among the students and faculty of Russian universities. The study is based on cross-sectional data from a student and university faculty survey carried out within the framework of the Monitoring of Education Markets and Organizations Project (2016). The results of the study indicate that MOOCs are demanded more by university faculty than by students. We found that faculty and student attitudes towards the substitution of general university courses for MOOCs is neutral, and negative regarding the substitution of special professional courses for MOOCs. Regression analysis revealed that students with higher academic achievement and faculty involved in research activities and participating in summer schools and vocational training are more likely to use MOOCs in their studies. Studying in a top university has a strong positive impact on the probability of student participation in MOOCs. However, the same effect for university faculty is ambiguous.
The author explores the discussion about political consumerism in modern society and offers a broader approach to the politics of consumption from a historical perspective. After the cultural turn in consumption studies, the development of political consumerism as a new analytical framework has become a productive step forward for deeper understanding of consumption and the notion of the consumer. In particular, this paper reviews the main reasons for the emergence of an economic understanding of consumption and how this understanding has led to an opposition between politics and consumption. The theory of political consumerism softened the antagonis- tic relations between the passive and self-interested consumer and the ac- tive citizen who cares about social prosperity. According to this approach,
consumption is a new creative form of political participation during the societal shift to more post-materialist values and increasing demand for individual autonomy. Consumers use markets as an alternative arena for political action, where their purchasing power becomes a tool for restoring social justice without government intervention. However, the author argues that the theory of political consumerism is too linear and too narrow a framework for analyzing the variety involved in the politics of consumption. The politics of consumption re ect the dynamics of the relationship between the state and its citizens. The notion of the consumer is shaped not only by the market economy, but also by the directive power and interests of the state. Based on historical evidence from different countries, this paper shows the proliferation of genealogies of consumerist policy and the understandings of the citizenship norms represented by consumers.
People who were born in the USSR in the 1970s and were in their thirties at the time of my fieldwork in 2009–11, questioned their adulthood in ways that are different from other parts of the world. Whereas many others are finding adulthood “unattainable” or “elusive” (see Durham’s introduction to this volume), perestroika teens wonder whether adulthood had somehow passed them by. Given the intersection of culture, history, and personal experiences, many find their adulthood fleeting, squeezed between being “too young” and “already old.” The maturation of perestroika teens was already questionable because lingering Soviet ideals glamorized childhood and youth as the locus of moral agency, contrasted with the “unmarked” (see introduction), but vaguely traumatic and morally compromised by routine, world of adults. This departure from a “happy Soviet childhood” was further complicated by the disappointments of the 1990s when none of the various social and moral strategies helped them build a good foundation for a professional career. In 2010, they often felt they belonged “neither here, nor there”; in other words, split between Soviet and post-Soviet moral orders, and between their glamorized childhood and questionable adulthood. A growing realization that being just a few years older or younger would have changed their life opportunities and the way they experienced adulthood reinforced the disappointment. Finally, pro-natalist policies and discourses that dominated the public sphere in Russia in the 2000s helped to seal the “has-been, already old” sentiment among these men and women.
This article examines Russian consumers’ evolving attitudes toward imported goods during the post-Soviet era. It also considers the role of market and ideological factors in forming consumer preferences. Ideally, consumers should behave purely rationally, reacting only to the quality of a good, prices, and their own limited budgets. In which country a good is produced should not be important. However, in reality, rather than being guided by market signals, consumer views of goods are determined by political factors and moods, which changed considerably through the course of post-Soviet history.
Illegal markets involving illicit products and transactions have been largely ignored by the scholars, despite their significance in various economies. There is a lack of conceptual categorization and scarcity of reliable data. The study examines the structure and evolution of heterogeneous illegal markets in Russia with a special emphasis on markets of homemade alcohol, counterfeit alcohol, and illegally manufactured alcohol. A variety of statistical sources and survey data is used to demonstrate that the compositions of these markets have come through four different stages since late socialism, depending on the constellation of political, legislative and economic factors. At each stage, some of these markets prevail, whereas others remain undeveloped. Overall, illegal alcohol markets tend to grow in periods of exogenous political or economic shocks and shrink in periods of economic growth. Changes in the structure of illegal markets are backed by a continuous requalification of products, organizations and transactions contesting the boundaries between legality and illegality. Some illegal activities retain their legitimacy due to the ignorance or tolerance of enforcement agencies and final consumers. Boundaries between legitimate and illegitimate activities are blurred and move slowly.