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Soviet-style neoliberalism? Nashi, youth voluntarism and the restructuring of social welfare in Russia
Problems of Post-Communism (2009)
  • Julie D Hemment

President Vladimir Putin has presided over a sustained mood of backlash against democracy promotion and the international interventions of the nineties. His doctrine of “sovereign democracy” appears to have broken with the liberal/neoliberal models that guided reform in Russia during this period. In this article, I show that something more complex is afoot: the Putin administration has advanced liberalizing reforms at the same time as it has rhetorically distanced itself from them. These contradictions are particularly manifest in the sphere of social welfare. Since 2001, Putin passed a series of liberal-oriented reforms that his nineties predecessors were unable to achieve, for example in pension, health and education reform. He simultaneously advanced certain benefits and greatly increased state spending – for example on “maternal capital” and youth projects. I analyze this dynamic as a Soviet-style neoliberalism that draws on the conceptual resources of liberalizing initiatives at the same time as it articulates forceful resistance to them. Drawing on data gathered in the course of a collaborative project with Russian scholars and youth, this article examines this dynamic and the hybrid social forms these policies give rise to, focusing specifically on provincial programs to promote voluntarism.

  • Russia,
  • youth organizations,
  • social welfare
Publication Date
Citation Information
Julie D Hemment. "Soviet-style neoliberalism? Nashi, youth voluntarism and the restructuring of social welfare in Russia" Problems of Post-Communism Vol. 56 Iss. 6 (2009)
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