Жизнеспособность российского и других постсоциалистических обществ: итоги 20-летия реформ

English title: Sustainability of Russian and Other Post-Socialist Societies: 20 Years after Reform

Author(s): Gordey Yastrebov - Anna Krasilova -

Language: Russian

Type: Journal article

Year: 2012


In this paper we argue that the existing divergence of development paths in the postsocialist world appears to have been caused by reformers’ poor (and, perhaps, intentionally wrong) understanding of the certain cultural and historical contexts of these countries’ development, because such understanding was blindly focused on institutional building rather than setting the milestones for development and achieving certain goals in terms of society’s well-being as a whole. However, since the 1990s the literature on development has accumulated a rich line of arguments in favor of non-European modernity and variability of development, and attempts to distinguish modernization from westernization (Eisenstadt’s multiple modernities, varieties of capitalism approach, and the renaissance of civilization theories). All evaluations are based on various sources, such as World Bank, Human Development Indicators, World Health Organization, Eurostat and the European Social Survey. Several general conclusions were drawn based on empirical analysis. First of all, as far as successfulness of the Great Transformation is concerned, it is possible to conclude that the outcomes were highly unequal. While Central and Eastern Europe today can more or less enjoy the levels of social development comparable to that of Western Europe, the CIS countries still have a lot to catch up. Russia is in particular poor shape in spite of the fact that it has enjoyed higher economic performance in recent years (thanks to the favorable oil markets). Second, economic performance is, indeed, important as it provides certain endowment to social development. However, the actual relationship between the two is still very uncertain, since better economic performance may as well be a consequence of better human development. However, in the case of underperformance of Russia and, to a lesser extent, Kazakhstan it is clear, that in both countries the problems of human development are highly neglected. Third, democracy seems to be a good cure to social development, as it helps developing the consensus in population about the corresponding goals and measures.However, this truth is convincing only in a certain context. A European context, where better democracies are associated with higher levels of human development. And we would dare to suggest that particular countries such as Turkey, Kazakhstan and Belarus look quite challenging to this experience. Finally, we introduce our preliminary theoretical and methodological framework for further analysis and argue in favor of considering a civilization context, within which any kind of social, political or economic change is implemented.

Volume: 21

Issue: 1

From page no: 140

To page no: 163

Refereed: Yes


Journal: Mir Rossii - Universe of Russia