The EU Neighbourhood Policy under the Crisis of International Liberal Order: New Challenges to Democracy Promotion in the Eastern Neighbourhood?

Modern scholarship is getting ever more preoccupied with exploring the roots, dynamics and possible consequences of the developments, constituting the “crisis of international liberal order” globally (Ikenberry 2018; Alcaro, 2018; Peterson, 2018) and within the EU (Rittberger and Blauberger, 2018; Kreuder-Sonnen, 2018). As underlined by Ikenberry (2018), the threats to the international liberal order are to great extent conditioned not by the rise of revisionist states, but the weaknesses of the liberal internationalism and its structures. This argument seems to be especially relevant for the EU, given the lengthy debate on the EU’s “democratic deficit”, internal legitimacy challenges and ‘hypocritically’ uncontested normative power. Nevertheless, the present scholarship lacks evidence on the changes in the understanding and framing of the above challenges following the launch of the “crisis of the international liberal order” debate and the debate’s reflection in the Union’s foreign policy, in general, and its approaches to value-promotion, in particular.

In this view, the present paper seeks to unveil how the intra-EU manifestations of the crisis of international liberal order impacted the EU’s policy vis-à-vis the “associated Neighbours” in 2016-2018 in general and the Union’s democracy promotion policy, in particular. Conceptually, the paper is based on the notions of “liberalism”, “liberal international order” and the “crisis of international liberal order”, as well as the external governance perspective on democracy promotion. The paper combines content analysis of ENP policy documents with the “black letter law” research. The results of the study showcase that, largely due to its supranational nature, the EU’s norms are vulnerable to the internal triggers of the ongoing crisis of international liberal order. The growing intra-EU norms’ contestation, coupled with external threats, results in the ENP’s emphases’ shifting from value-promotion to security and economic issues and the toughening of the EU’s democracy- stability dilemma in the region.

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Banned books and the freedom to write in the Soviet Union

The era of communism affected strongly the freedom of speech and how foreign books could be published in the USSR. The paper is based on my Master's thesis in which I researched the so-called banned books and how they could be translated. This means the paper contains facts about samizdat and tamizdat and, for instance, the work of different bodies responsible for censoring books in the USSR. As an example I chose the books written by George Orwell. Orwell critized the Soviet system by satirizing it and was banned because of this in Eastern Europe, but the author himself had a huge attempt to get his books published there.

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Signs of '68 Inside the Soviet Union

The narrative around “1968” often struggles to embrace key moments from that year which arose within the Soviet human rights and dissident movement. These events are often relegated to the status of a minor footnote to the broader context, or their significance and parallels are largely diminished or sidelined. Indeed, there seems to be a tendency within this larger narrative to refer to resistance to the Soviet Union from within the Soviet Bloc (especially Poland and Czechoslovakia, etc.), while activities on the ground inside the Soviet Union and their significance remain largely obscured from view. I would contend that this weakens the case for claiming that 1968 was a global phenomenon. I will argue that activities associated with the Soviet underground movements in 1968, especially, but certainly not limited to the founding and flourishing of the Chronicle of Current Events and the remarkable demonstration on Red Square against the invasion of Czechoslovakia should be more fully integrated into the global narrative of 1968. The reasons for this concern both their “internal” importance, (as for example in Aleksandr Daniel’s view that the Soviet human rights movement literally grew out of the Chronicle), but also their immediate and long-term impact on events, groups and individuals outside the Soviet borders. Expression of the profoundly positive reception of the ostensibly quixotic August 25th demonstration was almost immediate in Prague. Such acknowledgment has reverberated continuously down to the present day, with a school in the Czech capital having been named after Gorbanevskaia just a couple of years ago. In the case of the Chronicle, Joanna Szczesna, one of the founding members of KOR and its publication Biuletyn informacyjny, has attested to the singular influence of the Chronicle.

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‘Vsjo bylo tak, no nje tak vsjo bylo’: paradoxes of Soviet era (popular music) culture

Всё было так но не так всё было (Everything was so but not everything was so) – this contradictory sentence was pronounced by Russian jazz pianist Boris Frumkin who used it for describing life in Soviet era. This view of seeing Soviet era as full of contradictories is also shared by several researchers. An anthropologist Aleksei Yurchak, for instance, refers to Soviet era controversies by proposing the concept of Soviet paradoxes. He discusses the era in terms of coexisting contradictory ideas instead of simplistic binaries. Tsipursky and Johnston have criticized widely used one dimensional resistance paradigm of thinking about Soviet era culture.

Relaying on the idea of traversing representational dualism originating from New Materialism, this presentation approaches Soviet era (musical) culture in terms of wide variety of coexisting paradigms which relationality is established affirmatively and structured by positivity rather than negativity. The presentation in based on variety of interview, archival and media materials collected for my book project on jazz festival Tallinn 67.

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The experience of internal exile in the Soviet Union during Stalin’s time

The Gulag system in the Soviet Union has been understood as an integral part of Soviet terror, but the view of those deported into the ‘special settlements’ are often marginalized from the historical understanding of it. Through the experiences of those deported it is possible to reassess the terminology and approaches in contemporary historical research. Ingrian Finns, who were living around Leningrad, were deported to Siberia, Central Asia, Kola-Peninsula and other peripheries inside the Soviet Union in 1930s and 1940s. Drawing on letters from 1930s (150) and later oral histories (50) of people deported, this study shows the devastation of deportations, internal exile and diaspora that followed. Ingrian Finns highlighted the forced and violent nature of exile: hunger, slave-labor, illness, death, arrests and escapes, but also attempts to preserve religion, own culture that became counter culture, community and the collective memory of the homeland Ingria and the wish to return there. Official versions of the Soviet power conflicted with the experiences of Ingrian Finns, who resisted stigmatization, repression and falsification of their past.

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Institutions and income inequality in transition economies

The relationship between economic growth and inequality has been intensively analyzed over the last decades. However, empirical results remain controversial. Although a majority of papers are linking economic growth and institutions, saying that good governance has a critical bearing on economic and social outcomes there is no guarantee that benefits of economic growth are broadly shared by all population including the poor. The empirical relationship between inequality and institutions has only relatively recently started to develop (Savoia et. al, 2010). The found interdependence is controversial: institutions could well change the ongoing distribution of wealth and income (Chong and Gradstein (2007), increasing property rights protection increases income inequality (Savoia at. al 2013).

The paper explores the relationship among income inequality and institutions in 28 economies (17 economies according to UNCTAD and 11 members of the EU) for the period of 1992 – 2016. The Gini coefficient is used as a measure of inequality and is from two sources the Standardized World Income Inequality Database (SWIID) and UNU-WIDER. Institution indicators relating mainly to political and economic institutions such as governance, economic freedom and corruption are from different sources. The log of GDP per capita in constant prices (2005 or 2011) from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators is used as a welfare measure to capture the Kuznets curve hypothesis. We also control for education, financial development and inflation. It was found that the property rights preserve the income inequality, but the democracy counterbalances that effect. In line with Savoia et. al (2013) in countries with a high level of democracy like EU member states the sufficiently representative systems reverse the inequality-worsening effect.

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Young players of a Pokémon Go game: security(zation) and control in public places in Saint Petersburg and Helsinki

This paper will focus on young people playing hybrid reality mobile game (HRG) Pokemon Go in Saint Petersburg and in Helsinki, their use and assignment of the (media) city, and experiences of social control. The Pokémon Go, that was published in June 2016, immediately raised discussions about control and security, about redefining the norms related the use of public places. Both in Russia and Finland, the discussions in mass media raised the issues of relations between players and non-payers in the city, about the norms and control: what to do if groups of mobile game players suddenly became visible in public places, did the playing activity broke the norms of behavior in churches, cemeteries, and memorials?

In the past decade, the government policies in Russia turned towards stricter control of civic activities and communications. The players of Pokémon Go were almost immediately included in a rather politicized and criminalized context in public and media discourses. This was related to the previous cases of criminal prosecution on the grounds of insulting religious feelings of believers and moral panics related to a presence of a large number of people in public space(s) – in squares and the streets of the city, which may fall under the law on unauthorized public events. In their interviews players noted that the presentation of the game in the media was biased and even the reports from other countries were presented with negative connotations.

Both in Russia and in Finland young players tell that they become more active in using the public places, which have additional meaning in the virtual realm of the game, they become more engaged in neighborhood communities and the game increased their mobility in the city, changed everyday routes. At the same time, they developed different strategies with coping with the specific national contexts, norms and control.

This paper is co-authored with Arseniy Svynarenko.

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Patterns of Population Ageing in Moscow and Saint - Petersburg in 1990 – 2015

Famous Russian poet Andrey Voznesensky wrote that all progress is reactionary, if a person collapses. This can be applied to democracy. The basis for considering political issues should be a clear picture of demographic trends. The major global demographic trend is population ageing. Russian population is undergoing rapid ageing, and this process is the most noticeable in large metropolitan areas, the largest ones are Moscow and Saint-Petersburg.

The objective is to analyze the situation in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg with regard to population ageing, since 1990. Ageing is characterized using conventional measures: Prop. 60+ (proportion of population aged 60 or over); OADR, old-age dependency rate (relative size of old age population to working age population (aged 15 – 59), and others. Prospective ageing measures that take account of remaining life expectancies are touched upon as well. Gender differences in ageing indicators are considered.

Similarities and diversities in the dynamics of ageing indicators for Moscow and Saint-Petersburg have been revealed. Thus, Prop. 60+ and OADR increased over the considered period both for Moscow and Saint-Petersburg, but this increase (relative to 1990) was greater for Saint-Petersburg: Prop. 60+ (for both sexes) for Moscow increased by 16.1% (24.4% for Saint-Petersburg), OADR for Moscow increased by 11.7% (22.0% for Saint-Petersburg). Until 1994, values of Prop. 60+ (for both sexes) and OADR were higher for Moscow, since 1995, the inverse inequality holds. Besides, at the end of the considered period, values for Moscow and Saint-Petersburg converge both for Prop. 60+ and OADR.

The suggested detailed analysis of dynamics of ageing measures provides a complete picture of population ageing in the greatest Russian megacities. Results of the study may contribute to adaptation of demographic policies in the "Russian capitals" to population ageing.

This paper is co-authored by Natalia Kalmykova.

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Imported Institutions: A Critical Perspective on Russia's Policy of Ethnic Tolerance

The paper applies the theory of institutional isomorphism to explain transformations of the ethnic policy in Russia during 1990s – 2010s. In their seminal work W. Powell and P. DiMaggio (1983) claim that modern organizations in varying societal sectors tend to converge. This is in turn caused by similar conditions: submission to the imposed rules or a common belief that change will be fruitful. However, organizational unification does not entail growing efficiency, but frequently quite the opposite. The paper distinguishes between three periods in the development of Russian policies on ethnic affairs. 1) 1996-2004. This period is characterized by Russia’s joining international treaties on provision of cultural and ethnic diversity. Here, Russia saw the West and international organizations like the UN as a source of inspiration to replace the preexisting Soviet principles on ethnic diversity. A concept of ethnic tolerance was introduced to facilitate new organizations. 2) 2004-2012/2015. This phase is marked with Moscow’s dwindling interest in the matter: certain budgetary programs were abandoned, the ministerial post on ethnic matters was dissolved, and all the responsibility was relegated to the regional level. 3) 2012/2015- to date. A new tide of organizational redesigning reminiscent of the Soviet one returned, and with it a discursive shift condemning the tolerance ideology in favor of the Soviet doctrine of “friendship of nations”. The ethnic policy was once again centralized. The paper argues that the theory of institutional isomorphism can be applied to all the three stages, but with certain caveats.

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Developing Societal Security Strategy: The Case of Russia’s Arctic Cities

The main research objective of this study is to examine how urban centers of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation (AZRF) design and implement societal security strategy. There are three specific purposes to this analysis: first, to evaluate the scope and focus of these strategies; second, to find out whether these strategies are efficient or not and whether they improve the situation with regard to societal security or not; and third, to understand whether these policies are of short-term/single-issue character or represent forward-looking strategies that are conducive to the sustainable socio-economic and environmental development of the northern urban areas.

The following AZRF cities are in the focus of this research: Arkhangelsk, Monchegorsk, Murmansk, Nickel, Norilsk, Salekhard, Severodvinsk, and Vorkuta. The author concludes that the Russian northern municipalities are serious about solving numerous societal security problems and making these urban areas better and more comfortable places to live in. Despite some residual problems and shortcomings, Arctic cities’ sustainable development strategies evolve in a rather dynamic and positive way.

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Russian canned political jokes: form 1917 through 2018

We will discuss the evolution of the Russian political jokes (anecdoty) as a specific speech genre from its origin to its transformation in this century. We claim that one might consider any canned joke as “political during Soviet times. We have based the research on the database of the Russian political canned jokes collected by the authors. We will give an account of the rules of telling political jokes in Russian: formal means of introduction of a joke text into discourse, the setting of context, the “linguistic masks” of joke characters (linguistic clichés, accent, typical grammar mistakes, etc.), which correlate with their “behavior masks” (Lenin., Stalin, etc.).

The paper will discuss the conceptualization of the world in Russian jokelore, what one takes for granted in Russian jokes and what one need to know to understand them and the transformation of “anekdot” in the last two decades. Canned jokes have remained very popular in Russia; people practice joke telling in every part of society, at all ages. In particular, several new characters of Russian jokelore have emerged since 1990. However, reference to jokes has become more popular than joke telling nowadays. We will look at ways of using jokes in the present-day political discourse (in particular, indirect allusions to jokes). In addition, we will discuss some new genres of political jokes such as pirozki and poroshki.

This paper is co-authored with Aleksei Shmelev.

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Digital activism in Russia

In this paper we will investigate the context, modes and impact of various types of activism in the Russian-language segment of the Internet and social media after the beginning of the opposition protest wave in 2011. We will examine the interplay between Russian authorities’ efforts to have a full control over civil society (which we dub ‘The occupation of the Runet’) and democratic initiatives effectuated through Runet by civil society actors.

This paper is co-authored with Markku Lonkila.

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At the Heart of the Revolution: Oil and Soviet Trade Strategy - 1918-1927

At the foundation of the RSFSR (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic), it was apparent to the Central Committee of the Communist Party (Bolshevik) that greater consolidation of the physical resources of the former Russian Empire was necessary for the future survival of the nascent Soviet state. The nationalization of the Russian oil industry, mostly centered in Baku, Azerbaijan first in 1918 and then in 1920, filled the limited needs of the Soviet domestic market, and by 1924, produced enough benzene, at least on paper, to provide a readily exportable surplus for the Ministerstvo vneshne torgovli (Ministry of Foreign Trade (MVT)). Nevertheless, despite the initial successes of the industry, a set of compounding structural issues complicated the situation as Minvneshtorg continued to push the exportation of refined oil products to compensate for growing trade deficits exacerbated by the importation of Western machinery.

This paper is part of an exploration of the economic and political metamorphosis of Soviet policy toward petroleum exportation, specifically from directly after the October Revolution into the NEP (New Economic Policy). The intent of this study is to explore the correlation between the recovery of Baku’ oil industry after 1919, shifts in broader regulatory policy during the early years of NEP, later ramification for Soviet trade policy as Baku’s industry began to see declining rents from the industry, and the glacial reaction of the Soviets to address the relatively elderly nature of Baku’s fields. The purpose of this investigation is to emphasis oil production as economically and geopolitically essential to how the Soviet state evolved after the Revolution, and that oil production and the over-riding desire of the Soviets to re-enter the international energy markets had a significant influence on Soviet geopolitical decision-making after 1918.

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Countering terrorism, regime change or the unipolar global order? Assessing the reasons for Russia’s turn to the Middle East

This paper reviews the recent literature and key policy documents on Russian current foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and attempts to explain the reasons for its renewed activeness in the region. The focus is not only on Syria and Russia’s military intervention there, but on the broader diplomacy which has turned Moscow into a prominent player in the MENA, having frequent and deep contacts with numerous actors across the faultline of regional alliances. Domestically, Russia’s intervention in Syria and its actions in the MENA tend to be presented primarily as measures to combat Islamic terrorism, which may dangerously spread to post-Soviet Muslim countries and Russia’s sizeable Muslim minorities. In Western policy-making circles, Moscow’s MENA policies were first seen as an attempt to break out of the diplomatic isolation (vis-à-vis the West) in which the Kremlin had plunged itself during the Ukraine crisis, in an attempt to restart cooperation based on the anti-terrorism agenda. Other explanations that have been put forward include Russia’s negative reaction to the Arab Spring and its opposition to regime change based on the Libyan experience. Some scholars also point to the economic benefits – in terms of arms sales, energy deals, other exports and investments – that come in the wake of Russia’s strengthened presence in the MENA. Another perspective that subsumes several of those cited above focuses on restoring world power status, as well as on the Russian goal of modifying the US-led regional and global order to allow for a more multipolar system. The paper reviews these interpretations of Russian foreign policy in the MENA and elaborates on their merits and shortcomings.

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The national agents of transnational memory and their limits: the case of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk

This paper examines the drivers and limiting factors of the transnationalization of Second World War memory in Europe by focusing on the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk. It is argued that the creation of the Museum reflected the growing transnationalization of the memory of the conflict in Europe in recent years. Liberal and pro-European political elites and epistemic communities have promoted this process, and are thus identified as its primary agents. The paper investigates the agents’ motivations and their political ramifications. It contends that the museum stemmed, on the one hand, from the intent of placing national memory narratives within a broader transnational framework; on the other hand, its creators aimed to transcend the national dimension and address an international audience through a focus on topics of Europe-wide relevance. However, the ‘national’ agency from which the project originated also constituted its main limitation. The plight of the Gdańsk Museum highlights how the transnationalization of memory relies heavily on the political fortunes of liberal-minded agents who look beyond the domain of domestic politics. The rise to power of nationalists in Poland is undermining the transnationalization trend and subverting the foundational ideas of the museum. The paper concludes by arguing that, while necessary to support the process of transnationalization of memory, national-level agency may prove insufficient. This is particularly true at a time of rising right-wing populism, which entails the renationalization of historical memory.

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Comments to Articles: A New Area for Innovative Production and Freedom of Expression or for Collateral Censorship?

As debated in the western scholarship (Benkler 2006, Lessig 2006; Zittrain 2008), the information production has been transforming from a traditional mode––the industrial information economy, dominating on the market during the 20th century, to an innovative mode––the network information economy. The emergence of the latter has been enabled by the Internet expansion and radically decreased prices of powerful personal computers. These factors have placed the means of production in hands of Internet users. Consequently, consumers of mass media production have turned into active producers of information goods. This new role has increased levels of individual autonomy and freedom of expression. However, these outcomes have been endangered by new powerful players on the online media market––Internet service providers. These companies are ready to censor collaterally user-generated content to escape liability for third-party speech (Balkin 2014).
This paper will be among the first to apply these theoretical insights to the case of Russia. The paper will focus on comment sections attached to articles published by online mass media. In contrast to the previous researchers who consider only Internet service providers as collateral censors (Zittrain 2008; Balkin 2014), this paper will argue that online mass media also censor user-generated comments collaterally. To prove this, the paper will introduce an original analytical model to depict ways of producing information goods by commentators and to explain benefits of this production both for a mass media outlet and for society. Then, this paper will look at whether an online mass media outlet acts as a collateral censor. If this hypothesis is to be proved, it will reveal new-level threats for online free expression.

This article is co-authored with Marina Galkina.

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Where Does the "Poverty Threshold" lie in Modern Russia?

The analysis of inequalities is usually supplied by an analysis of poverty, because the poverty rate and its depth illustrate the uneven distribution of national wealth among the citizens. Concentration of a significant part of national wealth in the hands of a small share of the population can lead to a decrease in the standard of living in the country. We would like to illustrate it by the results of our research.

The purpose of the research was to analyze whether it is possible to apply the relative income lines (0,5, 0,75, 1,25, 2,0 of median income) widely used in Western studies to construct income stratification in Russia, i.e. to verify them. In the report, we will focus on verifying the lower boundary of the middle class (0,5 and 0,75) as they are based on the risks of failing into poverty. The latter should be less than 10% for population with 0,75 of median income and less, because middle class representatives should not have high poverty risks. The verification methodology, therefore, was based on comparison of relative boundaries with an absolute poverty indicator - the subsistence level.

The empirical data for the research is drawn from two widely known all-Russian surveys – the 3rd wave of the Monitoring survey by the Institute of Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences (the IS RAS Monitoring) and several waves of the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey conducted by the Higher School of Economics (RLMS-HSE)

The results showed that the monetary version of the relative approach can be applied to identify the poor in the modern Russian society and define the groups of Russians whose low socio-economic status is undeniable. The group with income of 0.5-0.75 times the median comprises significant number of the poor in Russia, including non-employed pensioners largely overlooked by the state because their per capita income surpasses the minimum subsistence level for pensioners but does not take into account their real expenses. Relative poverty line at 0.5 times the median per capita income in modern Russia identify a significantly smaller share of the poor (6% of the population) as compared to the absolute methodology that is based on the minimum subsistence level (25%). Essentially, these are Russians who live in a very deep poverty. In western countries there groups cover 1) mostly non-poor population with 10% (and bigger) risks of poverty and 2) the group of poor people.

As applied to the problem of inequality, this indicates that significant income inequalities decrease the standard of living in Russia, which in some regions becomes sufficiently close to subsistence level, i.e. to poverty.

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Are Russian people ready for the challenge of digital economy?

Transition to digital economy is a global trend of today and Russia is no exception. On the one hand, digital economy opens new opportunities for improving quality of life and work-family balance. On the other hand, it makes obsolete traditional human capital and creates new facets of functional illiteracy. The paper explores readiness of the Russian population to meet new demands and use new opportunities. Three rounds of Comprehensive Monitoring of Living Conditions of Population conducted by Rosstat in 2011, 2014 and 2016 serve as dataset. We use two basic indicators of involvement in digital economy: computer literacy and Internet access. It is shown that while the share of population equipped with at least basic computer skills and Internet access has risen significantly between 2011 and 2016 it is still lower than in majority of European societies: about one third of population remains locked out of digital economy. The key factors determining possession of relevant skills are age, place of residence, wealth and health. Elderly people irrespective of other factors face the highest risk of isolation from digital economy. When analyzing the younger age cohorts we obtain that members of well-to-do households and big city dwellers demonstrate not only the highest coverage with Internet access but a much more broad list of purposes for Internet usage ranging from financial operations to online job search and distance employment. The majority of population use Internet mainly for social networking and entertainment (movies, games, etc.). The most vulnerable segment unable to benefit from digital economy encompass people with at least two negative characteristics of dwelling in rural area, belonging to low-income household and disability or bad health. Thus in the Russian case transition to digital economy widens the gap in opportunities opened for different population strata.

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The link between gender equality and achievement motivation in the labour market across Europe

Today labour market situation in Europe is influenced by a shift from traditional to egalitarian gender attitudes. This study aims at revealing the association of gender attitudes, achievement motivation and realization of this achievement motivation by working women in Europe. The dataset is the fifth wave of European Social Survey (2010). 26 countries are included into the analysis. The main focus of investigation is on working women but sometimes men are included for comparative reasons. Multilevel regression modelling is applied. According to the results, women with more egalitarian gender attitudes show a higher achievement motivation and are more likely to be able to influence policy decisions in the organization. However, both these effects are not universal. The effect on achievement motivation is relevant only for countries with higher female participation in the labour market, which confirms the results based on descriptive statistics. On the contrary, the effect on possibility to influence decisions is true for countries with lower female involvement in the labour market. The impact of achievement motivation upon the possibility to influence decisions is very strong in all the countries.

Overall, not all women with egalitarian gender attitudes are willing to pursue them in their professional life. The reason for that may lie in the fact that women still carry the double burden of doing most part of the housework and contribute to family income at the same time. Interestingly, men with more egalitarian gender attitudes tend to attach more importance to using their own initiative on their job although this effect is weaker than for women. This could be possibly explained by the fact that people who have modernization values in one area (for instance, attitudes to gender equality) tend to have modernization values in other areas (for example, work values), as well.

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When governors go abroad: regional diplomacy in Russia

Unlike in the 1990s and early 2000s, nowadays scholars rarely address the issue of international activity of Russian regions (a phenomenon known as paradiplomacy). Due to successful centralization efforts, Russian governors almost lost their domestic as well as external agency. However, there is still a considerable variation in the levels of their international activity. Employing an original dataset on the international activity of Russian governors from 2005 to 2015 I investigate the effect ethnicity and local political regimes have on the level of gubernatorial participation in paradiplomacy. Contrary to other quantitative studies, I find that ethnicity has a positive effect on external activity. I also argue that more democratic local political regimes create incentives to attract foreign direct investment, thus bolstering the willingness of the governors to participate in paradiplomacy. This paper contributes to the literature on regionalism and paradiplomacy as well as governance in centralized authoritarian states.

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1968 in USSR: Case of Leningrad University Students

During Spring of 1968 many of soviet intellectuals hoped that something analogical to Prague Spring can be happen in Soviet Union also. Universities, special Moscow and Leningrad universities was the place where exist some private-public place for discussion. Physical and mathematic faculties had such free places specially. Other place with arbitrary free public sphere   was physical-mathematic schools, affiliated with Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev and Novosibirsk, which was established in 1963 -  the last year of Khruschev leadership. A good example of such free public sphere in such special high schools was the activity of   famous soviet bard and dissident Yuliy Kim as teacher of literature  in Moscow physical-mathematic school. The frequent quests in analogical Leningrad physical-mathematic school was famous author Boris Strugatskiy  (and story of Brothers Strugatskie “Ugly swans” was created after such meetings).

Author of this thesis was student of such school in 1966-1968, and than, in  August 1968 entered to Physical faculty of Leningrad University. It was special atmosphere of  liberty inside this faculty, and secretary of bureau of Communist Party at this faculty had nickname as “Dubchek on Fizfak”.  In such situation komsomol organization was also very liberal. I remember such example: in Autumn 1968 first year student Anatoliy Barzakh  went out from Komsomol as protest against occupation of Czechoslovakia. In other university such student must be expelled from university quickly.  But komsomol committee was against and Anatoliy graduated university successfully.    Other examples of analogical events will be presented also. Finally remarks: many alumni  from this university faculty were active participants late, during Gorbachev’s Petestroyka.

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Young players of a Pokémon Go game: security(zation) and control in public places in Saint Petersburg and Helsinki

This paper will focus on young people playing hybrid reality mobile game (HRG) Pokemon Go in Saint Petersburg and in Helsinki, their use and assignment of the (media) city, and experiences of social control. The Pokémon Go, that was published in June 2016, immediately raised discussions about control and security, about redefining the norms related the use of public places. Both in Russia and Finland, the discussions in mass media raised the issues of relations between players and non-payers in the city, about the norms and control: what to do if groups of mobile game players suddenly became visible in public places, did the playing activity broke the norms of behavior in churches, cemeteries, and memorials?

In the past decade, the government policies in Russia turned towards stricter control of civic activities and communications. The players of Pokémon Go were almost immediately included in a rather politicized and criminalized context in public and media discourses. This was related to the previous cases of criminal prosecution on the grounds of insulting religious feelings of believers and moral panics related to a presence of a large number of people in public space(s) – in squares and the streets of the city, which may fall under the law on unauthorized public events. In their interviews players noted that the presentation of the game in the media was biased and even the reports from other countries were presented with negative connotations.

Both in Russia and in Finland young players tell that they become more active in using the public places, which have additional meaning in the virtual realm of the game, they become more engaged in neighborhood communities and the game increased their mobility in the city, changed everyday routes. At the same time, they developed different strategies with coping with the specific national contexts, norms and control.

This paper is co-authored with Anastasia Sablina.

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Causes of poverty in Russia

This paper will discuss both causes of poverty and difficulties to get out of poverty. The aim is to capture the essence of poverty circles, and the reasons why it is so difficult to get out of vicious circles of poverty. Reasons to poverty as given in surveys and interviews are presented and related to theoretical explanations, in which poverty is analysed as a consequence of the working of society rather than individual failings. Attitudes to poverty and changes of attitudes as presented in surveys are studied and related to those expressed in interviews. This paper also deals with poor households’ ways of coping with poverty and what strategies they might have to improve their situation. Sen’s entitlement theory is used to analyse how households use whatever means they have at their disposal. The concept ’transformation’ is used to depict that the change of the system is treated as an ongoing process. To study the effects of transformation the analysis focuses on new groups of poor, working or unemployed persons with children.

As to the causes to poverty, in broad terms two different kinds of explanations can be identified, those that are connected to state policies and the working of society on the one hand, and those that are related to attitudes and behavioural patterns of individuals on the other. There are also important links here. In particular, attitudes to poverty are crucial as they feed into strategies to meet problems of poverty in politics as well as in society in general.

The analysis is based empirically both on Russian official statistics (Rosstat) and survey data (SDMR/AI, Russian survey), as well as interviews and observations from four Russian regions in 2002-2017, including a survey from two towns in one of the regions collected in 2011.

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