1963-2018 - 55 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Project: New Directions in Social Policy: Alternatives from and for the Global South

NDSP: Russia

  • Project from: 2013 to 2016

Social policy in the Russian Federation faces a number of serious challenges. Among these are long-term demographic decline, relatively high prevalence of HIV/AIDS and infectious diseases, high mortality rates, and significant levels of structural inequality. At the same time, economic dependence on energy exports has exposed the national budget to volatility, creating downward pressure on social sector spending. Although fiscal stability improved following drastic spending cuts in the 1990s, the current context of low oil prices compounds these challenges. Furthermore, Russia’s welfare policies have a record of relatively poor performance considering the levels of investment, with systematically unequal expenditure and provision across regions, resulting in substantial pockets of deprivation.

In an effort to address these challenges, new legislation in Russia has opened up a space for civil society organizations (CSOs) to work in partnership with the state. Does this mean that CSOs will emerge as a new force in Russian social policy design and implementation? Might it help overcome obstacles that have hindered Russian social policy performance?

This case study, part of the UNRISD research project New Directions in Social Policy: Alternatives from and for the Global South, explores the current social policy shift in the Russian Federation, and asks how well CSOs have been integrated into social policy systems in the country.