Russians' Views on the Necessary Social Policy: Between Mid 2000s and the Corona Crisis of 2020

Russians' Views on the Necessary Social Policy: Between Mid 2000s and the Corona Crisis of 2020

Lezhnina Yu.P.

Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Senior Research Fellow, National Research University Higher School of Economics; Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Sociology FCTAS RAS, Moscow, Russia

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The article is prepared thanks to assistance by Russian Science Foundation, grant No. 17-78-20125P

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Lezhnina Yu.P. Russians' Views on the Necessary Social Policy: Between Mid 2000s and the Corona Crisis of 2020. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2021. No 4. P. 50-60


The article is based on data from All-Russian studies of the FCTAS RAS 2006–2020 and describes the characteristics of the welfare attitudes of Russians. It is shown that the idea of liberalizing social policy is out of expectations of Russians, and not because of the “dependеnt culture” but due to the lack of opportunities to solve problems on their own: limited access to social infrastructure, poorly functioning institutions, lack of their own financial resources. Together with the constant deterioration of the social sphere conditions it determines the necessity for an operational response by this state. The main points of the social agenda, according to the population, are the implementation of the humanitarian functions of the state (with an emphasis on the healthcare sector) and guarantees of institutional conditions. The Russians’ expectations regarding the general logic of welfare policy are quite homogeneous among various social groups. It is slightly impacted by the current stage of the life cycle. Over the past 15 years, the attitude for social policy among Russians has become more conscious and balanced, with an understanding of the limited state capabilities. That is why, even before the pandemic, targeting was a key characteristic of the desired social support. The 2020 crisis situation did not exacerbate paternalistic sentiments, as it was in 2009 thus indicating relevant stability of Russians expectations from state and a chance to construe a new configuration of the social contract on their basis.

social policy; social contract; welfare attitudes; public administration


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Content No 4, 2021