By Andrea Chandler
Via compelling and insightful research of the Russian case, this booklet explores the position that social welfare performs in regime transitions. It examines the function that gender and social welfare has performed in Russia's post-communist political evolution from Yeltsin's assumption of the presidency to Putin's go back for a 3rd time period as president in 2012
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Extra resources for Democracy, Gender, and Social Policy in Russia: A Wayward Society
On the other hand, she argued that this safety net should not provide overly generous benefits, because people should learn to rely more on themselves rather than 28 Democracy, Gender, and Social Policy in Russia expecting full support from the state. 52 In that sense, her views showed an unexpected convergence with the ideas of the dissidents. 53 Based on empirical research, Zaslavskaia argued that there would be fewer social problems if people had more ability to participate in decisions. 54 She also argued that if men received higher pay, more women would be able to stay home with their children, and this would create more stable families.
The collapse of communism had revealed that social welfare had proved a key weakness of the Soviet regime, and leaders brought in new promises that the post-communist state would improve social conditions. In Russia, as communism collapsed, there was no immediate, systematic effort to roll back women’s rights. And yet, there was a dramatic deterioration in the quality of social welfare within the first few years of the transition. Why was this the case? Largely, it was because of a downgrading of the social sphere on the list of political priorities: a full decade passed before there was an overhaul of the social welfare system.
By 1987, Gorbachev would draw the conclusion that a comprehensive programme of intertwined social, political, and economic reforms would be necessary to restore the vitality of Soviet socialism. This programme would be known as Welfare and Social Justice 27 perestroika, and it fundamentally changed the way that social welfare was viewed in Russia. Under Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost (openness) social problems began to be more openly discussed in the Soviet media. 49 These articles often expressed a sense of shame that grave social problems could exist in a country that claimed to be progressive.