Book project: The Politics of Poverty in Contemporary Russia

Project leader

Ann-Mari Sätre

Project period


Project description

Aim and rationale for the book:

The book provides an overview of poverty and well-being in Russia, covering recent developments in poverty, inequality and social programmes as current challenges for the country. The book aims to highlight the impact of transformation on poverty and well-being in Russia. To this end the analysis also relate to and trace continuities from the Soviet system. The analysis is based on the institutional theory (complemented with Amartya Sen’s capability approach) and empirically both official statistics (Rosstat) and survey data (SDMR/AI, Russian survey), as well as interviews collected from four Russian regions in 2002-2017.

Increasing poverty rates during the 1990s were followed by an increased attention to social policies in the 2000s. One component is the increased efforts to engage people in socially oriented NGOs. Citizens are ‘encouraged’ to contribute to the fulfilment of social aims in various ways. The question posed is, what role these developments in social policy have for the prevalence of poverty in the Russian society. The aim is also to highlight the importance of agency as a means for change, while at the same time emphasising the importance of the institutional framework: the agency of both people in poverty and those engaged in social policy are discussed.