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«Public Administration Issues» Journal,

Post. address:
National Research University
Higher School of Economics
20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow 101000, Russian Federation
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Research and educational journal
Published quarterly since 2007
ISSN 1999-5431
E-ISSN 2409-5095

Linda Kuk 1
  • 1 Ph.D, professor of the Department of political science, Brown University, Brown University, 36 Prospect St. Providence, R.I. 02912 USA

The state in the social sphere: departing or staying? Social reforms in central eastern Europe and Russia

2014. No. 2. P. 120–144 [issue contents]

The article presents a comprehensive analysis of welfare states in Central Eastern Europe and Russia from their foundations in the Soviet period through post-communist transition, with focus on the years after 1990. The article covers the emergence, structure, performance and transformations of these welfare states, including social insurance, health care, labor market institutions, and the gender dimension. Mapping trajectories of post-communist welfare state change, the text considers scholarly debates about the agents of change, including external agents such as the European Union and International Financial Institutions, as well as domestic societal interests and state-institutional actors. The story involves communist legacies and strong elements of path dependency, as well as varying levels of fiscal constraint, policy innovation and path-departing changes. The author finds that post-communist restructuring and retrenchment have reshaped statist welfare systems in market-conforming directions throughout the post-communist region, redefining the boundaries between public and private responsibility for societal well-being. Social insurance has been partially privatized in most states, labor market institutions have been made more flexible, and family benefits have been broadly retrenched. At the same time, post-communist welfare states have shown divergent patterns of change. CEE welfare states have been shaped by the layering of solidaristic communist legacies, conservative Bismarckian social insurance revivals, and the liberal imprint of international institutions. They have liberalized, but retain large elements of public responsibility for welfare and affinities to Europe. In Russia, sharper economic contraction led to deeper retrenchment, liberalization and informalization of the social sector; then, after 2005 Russia more generous statist and paternalist  elfare policies. Post-communist welfare states are distinctive; they do not ‘fit’ any existing Western typologies or models.

Citation: Kuk L. (2014) Gosudarstvo v sotsial'noy sfere: ukhodit ili ostaetsya? Itogi reform v Rossii i stranakh Tsentral'noy i Vostochnoy Evropy [The state in the social sphere: departing or staying? Social reforms in central eastern Europe and Russia ]. Public Administration Issues, no 2, pp. 120-144 (in Russian)
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ISSN 1999-5431
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