The authors consider cooperation a specific form of economic organization alternative to the standard business firm within market economy, and focus on the agricultural cooperation in Russia. First, the article presents key features of the Russian cooperation history: the first attempts to establish cooperative organizations before the Revolution (agricultural societies, agricultural partnerships and credit cooperatives) that gave poor rural population a chance to improve living standards and ensured promising prospects for the long-term development of cooperation in all forms; the dependent forms of consumer and production cooperation under the Soviet regime that deprived all collective forms their true cooperative nature. In the second part of the article, the authors identify the current state of cooperative movement in the Russian countryside by describing its basic features, such as opposition of family farming and state capitalism tendencies of concentration and vertical integration in the form of agroholdings; state rural cooperation policies that 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 perspectives and viability of main types of agricultural cooperatives (production, consumer, credit cooperation). Finally, the authors emphasize that cooperation in contemporary Russia does not fit into the classic Western scheme of cooperative development and still has to overcome a number of sustainable challenges (soviet legacy, lack of initiatives ‘from below’, ideological and economic dominance of large-scale farming, poor academic expertise in the field of cooperation studies).
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.
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.
Drawing on a unique dataset of 9685 Internet freelancers, we shed light on the entrepreneurial potential of the Russian-language online labour market, where more than half of freelancers exhibit entrepreneurial orientations. Our findings reveal heterogeneity of Internet freelancers in relation to entrepreneurship documenting strong differences amongst groups of actual entrepreneurs, potential entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs in terms of socio-demographics, professional characteristics, work behaviour and wellbeing. The fact that by most indicators potential entrepreneurs who plan to start a business typically take an intermediate position between non-entrepreneurs and actual entrepreneurs signals the feasibility of entrepreneurial intentions. Researching the entrepreneurial potential of Internet freelancers contributes to better understanding of how solo self-employment may give rise to new businesses in knowledge-intensive and creative industries which are crucial for modernising transition economies.
Background: Alcohol is a common target of counterfeiting in Russia. Counterfeit alcohol is defined here as the manufacture, distribution, unauthorized placement (forgery) of protected commodity trademarks, and infringement of the exclusive rights of the registered trademark holders of alcoholic beverages. It is often argued that the expansion of the counterfeit product market is due to the steady demand of economically disadvantaged people for low-priced goods. The situation becomes more complicated once deceptive and nondeceptive forms of counterfeiting are taken into account. This study aimed to identify markers of risky behavior associated with the purchase of counterfeit alcohol in Russia. Methods: The analysis relied on consumer self-reports of alcohol use and purchase collected nationwide by the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS-HSE) in 2012 to 2014. I used a generalized linear mixed-model logistic regression to identify predictors of risky behavior by consumers who purchased counterfeit alcohol, either knowingly or unknowingly, during the 30 days preceding the survey. Results: Purchases of counterfeit alcohol declined slightly from 2012 to 2014, mainly due to a decrease in consumers mistakenly purchasing counterfeit products. Predictors of counterfeit alcohol purchases differed between consumers who knowingly and unknowingly purchased counterfeit products. Nondeceptive purchase of counterfeit alcohol was related primarily to an indifference to alcohol brands. Consumers with social networks that include drinkers of nonbeverage alcohol and producers of homemade alcohol were highly likely to consume counterfeit alcohol deliberately. Problem drinking was significantly associated with a higher risk of both deceptive and nondeceptive purchases of counterfeit alcohol. Poverty largely contributed to nondeceptive counterfeiting. Conclusions: The literature has overestimated the impact of low prices on counterfeit alcohol consumption. Problem drinking and membership in social networks of consumers of surrogate alcohol (i.e., nonbeverage) are more influential in explaining why people purchase counterfeit alcohol. Further research on these 2 factors is needed to more fully understand the purchase and consumption of counterfeit alcoholic beverages.
The article focuses on the theoretical and methodological problems encountered by the Russian scholars of cooperative organizations. The authors identify four basic methodological approaches to the cooperation phenomenon in the Russian academic tradition: (1) socio-reformist (or socio-ideological), (2) descriptive-monographic, and (3) economic-theoretical, with the first two being dominant. After a short discussion of the prospects and limitations of the theoretical studies of cooperatives as business organizations by Russian scholars, some of the distinguishing features of Russian cooperation thought are mentioned. Considering the features of the Russian cooperative thought, the authors found it useful to name the most prominent Russian researchers of cooperation who can be included in the ICA list of the world cooperative heritage. The authors pay special attention to the myth of the first Russian cooperative and the Decembrists as the first Russian cooperators. Unfortunately, this myth was officially recognized and determines the birthday of the cooperative movement in Russia. The article briefly discusses the contribution to cooperative thought made by Antsiferov, Bilimovich, Tugan-Baranovsky, Chayanov, and Totomianz. Special attention is paid to the scientific contribution of Emelianoff, almost unknown in modern Russia, and the fate of his ideas. Finally, the authors emphasize the particular importance of describing the transformations and the most important achievements of the Russian and foreign cooperative thought in the curriculum of the discipline “Theory and practice of cooperation”.
The Journal of Economic Sociology (Ekonomicheskaya Sotsiologiya) (http://ecsoc.hse.ru/en) was established in 2000. It was one of the first academic e-journals in Russia at the time when only 3.6% of Russians had Internet access, uploading a 1Mb file took up to 10 minutes on average, and 56% of urban residents in Russia did not have an idea what the Internet meant.
Through a study of agricultural service cooperatives in Russia’s Belgorod region, this article addresses two gaps in the literature: first, the dearth of empirical studies on cooperatives in post-socialist Russia; second, the lack of attention to top-down cooperatives in the global literature, and the overly negative approach to the topic in the few extant studies. Whereas state attempts to establish agricultural cooperatives in Russia in a top-down fashion have largely failed, such cooperatives have sprung up widely in Belgorod. The article investigates: (1) what influence the (regional) state exerts on the cooperatives, and how that affects their daily functioning and viability; and (2) to what extent such top-down cooperatives might evolve into less state-led forms, such as classic member-driven or business-like cooperatives.
The authors examine the changes in the level and composition of consumption expenditures and their associations with household per capita incomes across the four different economic shocks that Russia has experienced since 1994. Data were collected from a nationally representative annual panel survey of households between 1994 and 2014, supplemented by the Federal State Statistics Service source. Four hypotheses on the relationship between per capita income and consumption, the composition of cutbacks, a levelling of expenditures among income groups, and the stability of the pattern of consumer response to economic shocks are proposed. The data demonstrate that consumption expenditures on food, non-food, and services decreased together with per capita income during the four economic shocks. Only a few examples of significant smoothing effects were found. All income groups recomposed their expenditures to maintain consumption of necessities. The high-income group reduced a higher proportion of expenditures on food and services, implying that economic shocks produce a temporary levelling effect on the living standards of different income groups. A relatively stable pattern of consumer responses to economic shocks was revealed, despite these shocks’ divergence; this pattern implies a temporary economization and simplification of expenditures with a fast return to pre-crisis spending once the crisis is over.
In his book Government of Paper, Matthew Hull questions the way in which bureaucracies are enacted in practice through the analysis of the material products of their lifecycle—documents. Documents constantly engage with different people, places, and things, becoming “bureaucratic objects” that mediate all actors and objects involved. Previously overlooked in theoretical studies, the material side of documents seems to be crucial for shaping the governance of a city and its inhabitants. As writing practices and “graphic artifacts” establish a stable relationship between words and things, discourse, and individuals/objects/environments, a focus on documents can provide a new methodological perspective in the analysis of state bureaucracies. The book contains six parts: The introduction provides the reader with a theoretical framework on the material practices of bureaucracy establishment. It is followed by five thematic chapters devoted to different types of widely used documents among state bureaucrats of the Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICTA) and Capital Development Authority (CDA).
Using a qualitative approach, this study explores Russians’ reactions to increases in consumer prices caused by the current economic crisis. The financial turbulence has reinforced doubts about the fairness of market prices and the overall legitimacy of the market order in Russia. Suspicion and cynicism about the state and seller behavior become the main mode of price perception, encouraging proactive, calculating pricing behavior. Respondents’ narratives reveal that proactive pricing behavior is considered to be a sign of social competence, financial independence, and high cognitive capacity. Proactive pricing behavior allows consumers to use their purchasing power for resistance to market injustice and social insecurity and to increase personal sustainability.
The article discusses the price perception of Russian consumers. The data gathered from in-depth interviews with economically active residents of Moscow demonstrate that the interpretation of price can be thematized according to four main categories: “not to be deceived,” “prices are watched by the clever not the poor,” “people like me buy at such prices,” and “some products are worth the price.” The study shows that Russian consumers are more and more artfully mastering the grammar of market prices. Prudence in relation to prices and expenses is forming its own place among cultural values in Russia, where prodigal waste was once an indicator of social success.
Scholars have long tracked how the USSR, a laboratory of social engineering, was deeply informed by local readings of Marxist social theory. Why, then, in recent years, have so many historical and anthropological studies of Russia excluded “Marxist” from the list of main descriptors, or optics, through which they view their material? In this essay, I argue that in much contemporary scholarship Marxism and its many afterlives have evidenced a kind of blind spot, reducing Marxism to “just” an ideology. I assert that rediscovering the presence of Marxism in Russia as a Gramscian hegemonic process and a vernacular that emerged among “laymen” can help us understand how a wide range of Russians continue to make sense of their worlds today. Drawing on several years of research in the city of Perm, I interpret everyday conversations among middle-age urbanites about morality, and demonstrate how this rediscovery of Marxism can elucidate what things matter for Russians today, and how. If social scientists proceed by acknowledging that “professional” and “lay” social knowledge increasingly share sources of “theoretical” inspiration, then we face a range of narrative challenges.
Review of the 4-th International Conference of BICAS: Agro-Extractivism Inside and Outside BRICS