“Oil Wealth and Welfare in the Russian Federation”
Linda J. Cook
The Putin period has been marked by three changes that are central to popular welfare: rapid economic growth and budget surpluses, providing resources for greater state expenditure; constriction of society’s ability to articulate its interests through either electoral mechanisms or civil society organizations; and an active welfare policy, encapsulated in the Priority National Projects in health, education, etc, as well as many initiatives in demographic policy. My paper will look at these developments as they relate to conceptions of the ‘common good’ and the state’s welfare role. It will address the following questions:
1)How and by whom is the Russian state’s welfare role defined? Do policies respond to felt and articulated needs and interests of society, or are they mainly set ‘from above?’ Are we seeing the return of a paternalistic and controlling state that crafts welfare policies to regulate society and serve its own priorities and agendas?
2)What are the conceptions of the ‘common good’ underlying and justifying changes in welfare provision, i.e., citizens’ rights, state’s responsibilities, economic development, national security?
3)What is the content of policy, especially in health, education, and demographic areas? Here I will focus particular attention on the influence of pro-natalist goals in shaping policies toward health care and women and families, and consider their implications for women as parents, workers, and citizens.