Social сonsequences of the systemic Russian reforms of the 1990s in the Far Eastern region

Yulia N. Kovalevskaya

Possibilities of Different Methodological Approaches for Scientific Criticism of the Market Reforms Results in Russia and the Far Eastern Federal District

The purpose of the article is to search for theoretical approaches and specific concepts for scientific criticism of the market reforms results in Russia and the Far East in 1991—2021. A comparative approach was used as a methodology. The author compares both the theoretical and methodological apparatus and the substantive conclusions developed within the framework of various theories (economic liberalism, neo-Marxism, anthropology of “slow violence”, economic geography and neoinstitutionalism). The neoliberal approach in Russia has been compromised by the course and results of the reforms, all the more interesting is their sharp criticism by the classic of liberalism — J. Stiglitz. In neo-Marxism, the nature of reforms is defined as “involution” — the redistribution of the productive forces of society, leading to a general degradation of the system. Russian capitalism is defined as “parasitic”. The result of the reforms is the displacement of Russia from the position of the semi-periphery of the capitalist world-system to the position of the raw material periphery. The emergence of a new exploited class, the precariat, is noted. The anthropology of “slow violence” (A. Forburg) qualitatively reveals the social side of reforms — widespread but elusive violence with delayed consequences, which manifests itself in peripheral territories. Economic geography shows how the Soviet “leveling” regional policy was curtailed at the beginning of the reforms, and later the results of development based on regional competitive advantages were canceled out by non-economic measures (administrative, customs) in order to concentrate rent in the hands of the elite, as a result of which the raw material nature of the economy increased, and the quality of life in the Far East has deteriorated. In neoinstitutionalism, it is considered the A.M. Etkind’s concept of a “super-extractive state” as a state whose elite directly, by non-economic methods, controls the export of natural resources and/or the market, practically excluding the population from the political and economic process. In general, it can be argued that a negative consensus prevails in the assessment of post-Soviet reforms — the results of the reforms do not satisfy experts of both the right and the left spectrum, regardless of the methodological toolkit.

Keywords: the Russian Far East, market reforms, crisis of the 1990s, precarization, involution, slow violence, super-extractive state.

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Angelina S. Vashchuk

Social Policy in Line With the Reforms of the 1990s and Its Implementation in the Russian Far East

The article provides a retrospective analysis of social policy in the transition period from the stage of destruction of the Soviet model to the genesis of the liberal model. The author characterizes various approaches to the study of social policy, assessing their merits, and offers a concept for historical research. The study focuses on the adoption of projects for the denationalization of property and privatization in the context of the confrontation of political forces in 1990—1993, and also examines the reaction of Far Eastern politicians to the adopted liberal course of social policy. Attention is drawn to the special principle of regrouping local politicians, administrative and bureaucratic methods of privatization, and the implementation of other forms of social policy in the interests of certain groups. Aspects of the reaction of the Far Eastern residents to privatization as the main social reform are discussed. The consequences of privatization are revealed on the basis of the main methodological premise — the emergence and development of a new type of inequality. It is concluded that social policy in the 1990s led to a state of shock among the population of the Far East. Its beneficiaries were large private owners and managers. State structures have moved away from regulating social relations, controlling social stratification, and supporting the vast majority of the population. The large gap between the adopted programs and the progress of their implementation, as well as the social realities in the region, only reinforced this state.

Keywords: Russia, Far East, regional political elite, social policy, privatization, social stratification, new forms of ownership, poverty.

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Nikolay S. Vorontsov

Problems of Social Protection of the Population in the Work of the Soviets of People’s Deputies of Primorye (1990—1993)

The article is devoted to the implementation of social policy in the Primorsky Krai in 1990—1993 in the context of the growing systemic crisis, the restructuring of economic relations and the transformation of public authorities. The relevance of the study is due to the need for a comprehensive analysis and systematization of the experience of anti-crisis activities of authorities and local governments in the implementation of the basic principles of social policy. On the basis of normative documents, mainly acts of office work of the Primorsky Regional Soviet of People’s Deputies, as well as city and regional Soviets (councils) and executive committees, a list of tasks facing regional and local authorities during the transition period is indicated. The author analyzed the decisions of local Soviets and their executive bodies to provide social assistance to vulnerable categories of the population: pensioners, disabled people, elderly citizens, children, large families, healthcare workers and public education workers, as well as other citizens in need of support. The issue of preventive measures to overcome the growing unemployment due to the ongoing economic reforms, denationalization and privatization is considered. Based on the analysis of archival documents, methods of implementing social assistance programs in the localities were demonstrated, the influence of political and economic reforms on the social situation in Primorye was revealed. According to the results of the study, it was concluded that the effectiveness of social support measures, expressed in the adoption of long-term programs and situational decisions, turned out to be low. It is established that all the social protection practices available in the arsenal of local Soviets in the new conditions encountered insurmountable obstacles: the collapse of the material supply system, the scarcity of budget and resource opportunities.

Keywords: social policy, social protection, Primorsky Territory, Soviets of People’s Deputies, unemployment, rehabilitation of disabled people, privatization.

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Svetlana G. Kovalenko

The Managerial Elite in the Russian Far East in the 1990s: Regional Leaders and the Vertical of Power

The article is devoted to the process of transformation of the managerial elite and changes in the system of power relations in the Far East during the years of radical Russian reforms. The relationship between the federal and regional authorities at that time was one of the main issues of Russian reality. This process was organically connected with the formation of a new model of public administration, which, de jure was different from the Soviet one, but de facto inherited many of its features, in particular, the priority of the executive branch over the legislative power. After the collapse of the USSR, the struggle for power and spheres of influence in the region acquired new features. Boris Yeltsin’s focus on regional leaders largely shaped the regional political space. But in the 1990s, the regions had their own political processes, which had a much greater impact on socio-economic life than the formal directives from the Center. In addition, the informal relations between the Center and the region that had developed over the previous decades, as well as the desire of the new leaders to realize their ambitions, seriously affected this process. The role of the governors and their relations with the central government are shown. Guide interviews with representatives of the managerial elite revealed their attitude to the ongoing processes and the most significant features of the political field. The author describes the regional features of political transformation and the consequences of the state strategy for the political process in the Far East.

Keywords: transformation of the management system, regional elite, Russian Far East, governors.

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Nonna M. Platonova

Social Consequences of Transformation Industrial and Civil Complex of the Russian Far East in the Context of Market Transformations

On the example of resource-producing industries of the industrial and civil complex of the Far Eastern territory, the complex processes of the early 1990s are revealed. It is noted that at the late Soviet stage, the guiding vector of the state’s socio-economic policy was the integrated development of the Far Eastern region. However, in the context of the changed institutional environment, the beginning of the diversification of ownership forms, drastic changes followed in the industrial sector. Against the background of the general economic crisis, such basic industries as fishing, forestry, and mining were on the verge of decline, production rates were declining, most economic indicators were far from the previous ones, many industrial facilities were closed, workers settlements were degraded or liquidated, and social infrastructure was falling into disrepair. For the regions of the Far North, the general trends were further burdened by the imbalance of the raw materials orientation of the regional economy, the constant increase in financial costs for the operation of mining deposits, and infrastructure development. As a result of the loss of industrial potential and deindustrialization, fixed assets were reduced, unemployment increased, especially in basic industries, inflation caused the insolvency of the Far Eastern population, the outflow of population from areas that previously specialized in the extraction of natural and mineral raw materials increased. Summarizing, the author notes that in the market conditions of the early 1990s, many qualified specialists were out of the field of economic interests of the new owners of industrial enterprises, a radical change in the economic mechanism led the social sphere of the basic branches of the Far Eastern industrial and civil complex to collapse.

Keywords: the Far East, industrial and civil complex, perestroika, social sphere, basic branches of production, working settlement, unemployment.

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Evgeniy V. Buyanov 

Business of Financial Companies “Russian House Selenga” and “Russian Realty” in Amur Region in 1995

Post-perestroika socio-economic reforms in the Russian Federation were aimed at developing a new phenomenon for the former Soviet society — private entrepreneurship. However, this process turned out to be extremely controversial and painful. At first, a significant part of the inexperienced Russians were overcome by the mood of close good luck in business, easy profits, the euphoria of achieving rapid success and prosperity. This was taken advantage of by commercial banks and organizations operated on the principle of a financial pyramid, which at the first stage of the initial accumulation of capital, being largely criminal in nature, became institutional instruments for the concentration of funds in the hands of individual owners. The population, accustomed to relying on the state for everything, was trusting of such companies, since the very fact of their registration with federal and local authorities created the illusion of a state guarantee of the obligations of private entrepreneurs. In 1995 in the Amur region, financial companies “Russian Selenga House” (“RSH”) and “Russian Real Estate” (“RRE”) (head offices in Volgograd) were operating. Many residents of the Amur region, tempted by the opportunity to get rich quickly, became their clients, despite the sad experience of the “MMM” society. Soon after, investors of “RSH” and “RRE” lost all their savings. Attempts to return them by the court order was not successful. At that time, there was no mechanism for state compensation of losses to private individuals in the Russian Federation. The story of the financial deception of thousands of the Amur Region residents shows that there were certain economic, social and psychological reasons that allowed unscrupulous entrepreneurs to act in the country in the mid-1990s. The source base of this work consists of materials of public organizations, documents of the State Archive of the Amur Region and the personal archive of the author.

Keywords: state paternalism, private entrepreneurship, financial company, financial pyramid, securities, stock market, state regulation of the securities market.

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Svetlana M. Dudarenok

Academic Historical Science in the Russian Far East in the 1990s: Experience of Survival and Search for a Way out of the Crisis

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the radical transformation of all spheres of public life, Russian historical science entered one of the most complex and controversial stages of its development. Its state, as well as the position of historians, was negatively affected by the crisis of Marxist-Leninist methodology, the critical attitude to fundamental historical science prevailing in the mass consciousness, its replacement with historical journalism, the change in the external conditions for the development of this scientific branch — the authorities stopped using it as a powerful tool for promoting their policies and ideology, and, consequently, financially support its development. Historians of the Russian regions and regional institutes of the Academy of Sciences with their branches found themselves in the most difficult situation, and there was a certain tension in relations between Moscow and the Russian “historical periphery”. At that time, the staff of the Institute of History, Archeology and Ethnology of the Peoples of the Far East of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences faced quite difficult tasks: to preserve the staff of professional historians, to rethink the established concepts, to develop new methodological approaches and principles for analyzing historical events and “white spots” of the history of the Far East, to determine priority areas of scientific research and prospects for the future. The administration and staff of the IHAE FEB RAS were able to overcome the crisis and reach new scientific frontiers by reorganizing the structure and changing the vector of historical research.

Keywords: the Russian Far East, IHAE FEB RAS, historical science, history methodology, dissertation research, formation and civilizational approaches in historical studies, authorities, reforms.

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Elena S. Volkova 

Influence of Reforms at the End of 20th — Early 21st Century to the Cultural Sphere of Russian Far East

The article is of a general nature: the author aims to identify the main trends in the development of the culture of the Russian Far East in the 1990s—2000s, to reveal the regional specifics of this process. During the perestroika period the intensity of cultural life increased, the transformation of monostylistic culture into a polystylistic one accelerated, and intercultural communications were developing rapidly, which received a positive assessment of society. But the subsequent market reforms of the 1990s led to a chronic underfunding of cultural institutions and a decrease in their attendance, a decline in the well-being of workers in the industry and an outflow of specialists, a fall in the value of creative work and the status of the artistic intelligentsia, the invasion of amateurism and the spread of cultural surrogates, the disintegration of the all-Russian cultural space and an increase in geographical differentiation, finally, to a general decline in the cultural level of the population, which negatively affected the development of human capital. Far East transformation into a depressive territory and pronounced negative demographic trend make the problem of personnel in the sphere of culture especially acute, and the modification of the network of institutions, coupled with the low population density and the collapse of the regional transport system, sharply increase the gap between the urban and rural population in terms of the availability of cultural goods, which, in its turn, exacerbates migratory sentiments. The crisis of regional identity led to the transformation of the artistic paradigm.

Keywords: Russian Far East, culture, market reforms, post-Soviet period, artistic intelligentsia.

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Elena N. Chernolutskaia

Numerically Growing Ethnic Groups in the Russian Far East in the Late 1980s — Early 2000s

During the years of systemic reform, the Far East plunged into a deep crisis, which was accompanied by a long demographic degradation. In the period between the last All-Union census of 1989 and the first All-Russian census of 2002, the population of the region decreased by 1.1 million people. Against this background, several ethnic groups stood out, which, contrary to the general trend, numerically increased in the whole region or in some of its districts — by a total of 20 thousand people. The author determined that such groups included the indigenous peoples of the Far East, Buryats, Yakuts, Tuvans, Gypsies, ethnic communities of Dagestan, Ingush, Chechens, Koreans, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Tajiks (the analysis does not include representatives of ethnic groups of traditional foreign countries). The article shows the specifics of the numerical dynamics of each of these groups in comparison with the late Soviet period, reveals the dominant role of the migration influx, determines the social, political and economic factors of this process, as well as the nature of the inclusion of ethnic communities in the regional socio-economic space. It is concluded that, despite the small share of these groups in the total composition of the Far Eastern population, their dynamics influenced the change in the structural proportions in the population, the color of the economic and social landscape of the region, the formation of ethnic niches of entrepreneurship, employment, social activity, and the criminal environment. All this has become a new challenge of the reform period for the government and society.

Keywords: ethnic groups, demographic dynamics, migration, post-Soviet reform period, Russian Far East.

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Victor V. Shcheglov

The Impact of Migrations on Ethnic Composition of the Population of the Sakhalin Region in 1990s — Early 2000s

The article analyzes the influence of migration processes on the formation of quantitative indicators in the ethnic composition of the population of the Sakhalin region during the 1990s — first decade of 21st century. The author draws attention to the erosion of the historically conditioned majority of the Slavic population of the region in the conditions of intensified migration processes. The article shows that in the 1990s, significant changes in the ethnic composition occurred due to the increase in migration activity in the region. This process was influenced by the deterioration of the economic and social situation in the region, natural disasters, the liberalization of the border regime, the formation of sovereign states in the post-Soviet space, etc. It is noted that at the turn of the century, with the emergence of favorable economic conditions, mainly due to the implementation of oil and gas projects, the process of attracting labor resources from countries of the far and near abroad has developed. The author argues that labor migrants from the far abroad did not have any significant effect on the quantitative indicators of the ethnic composition. The presence of migrants from neighboring countries, especially from the Central Asian republics, is more noticeable. Their number in the general composition of the population has increased significantly, while the traditionally formed ethnic groups — Russians, Ukrainians, Koreans, Belarusians, Tatars and others — have declined.

Keywords: the population of Sakhalin Region, migration, labor force, ethnic composition, diaspora.

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Andrey V. Popovkin

Galina S. Popovkina

The Russian Orthodox Church and the Coronavirus Pandemic Challenge

The coronavirus pandemic has become a challenge for many social institutions in Russia. The reaction of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) has exposed a lot of problems and contradictions both in the church itself, in the revived Orthodox tradition, and in the established model of its relations with society. The Russian Orthodox Church traditionally positions itself as the bearer of such values as charity, care for the suffering, etc., but the reaction of a number of hierarchs and ordinary believers to the threat of the disease revealed a disregard for health, and sometimes indifference to the suffering of patients. There have been attempts to bring theological grounds both under the observance of sanitary measures and under the neglect of them. The research is based on the analysis of the normative documents defining the strategy of relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and society and the state, as well as the statements made during the pandemic and the behavioral strategies demonstrated by the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church. It was found that the roots of the ambiguous response to the coronavirus pandemic lie in the internal contradictions of the Orthodox tradition in relation to human disease and suffering. This problem was not only not resolved in the historical development of the Russian Orthodox Church but was reinforced during the church revival of the post-Soviet period, which was accompanied by the reification of the Orthodox tradition. This led to the formation of Orthodox conservatism, which demonstrated a dehumanized attitude to the disease, distrust of scientific data about the epidemic and sanitary measures. And although the voice of Christian humanism nevertheless sounded, it can be assumed that the ROC should carry out the reception of its theological heritage and surviving traditions.

Keywords: Orthodox tradition, pandemic, coronavirus, Russian Orthodox Church, conservatism.

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Oksana P. Fedirko 

Problems of Relationship of Society and Religious Associations in the Conditions of Post-Soviet Reforms: a Historiographic Overview

The article provides a brief historiographic review of the studies of secular historians and religious scholars published in 2019—2020 in the Far Eastern and central publications. The author provides an overview of publications on two issues. The legal regulation of state-confessional relations in Russian regions and in the post-Soviet space was analyzed using scientific articles by M.I. Danilova, N.Yu. Embulaeva (Krasnodar), T.A. Chumachenko (Chelyabinsk), R.A. Podoprigora (Kazakhstan), O.K. Shimanskaya (Nizhny Novgorod). The authors note the general and specific features of approaches to the construction of state-confessional relations in the new conditions of post-perestroika reality on the territory of Russia, Kazakhstan and Moldova. The processes of religious self-identification of the population of the Far East in the 1990s considered in the studies of S.M. Dudarenok (Vladivostok), A.I. Pospelova, S.V. Pospelova (Magadan), N.V. Potapova (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk), M.S. Alekseeva and S.V. Vasilyeva (Ulan-Ude). Despite the fact that these authors study the history of religions and the relationship of society, religious associations and power structures in the region, for several years they managed to introduce new sources into scientific circulation, conduct an active scientific research and understand the reasons for the worldview searches of the Far Eastern intelligentsia, the influence of foreign missionaries on changes in the confessional landscape of the Far East, the emergence, spread and results of the activities of new religious movements in the socio-cultural space of the region, the specifics of the religious self-identification of the population of various territories of the region.

Keywords: history, religion, historiography, 1990s, Russia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Far East, self-identification, law enforcement.

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