This paper examines the systemic change from communism to capitalism and the transformation of the welfare system in the Visegrad countries, the Baltic states and Slovenia. The CEE countries aimed to create capitalism through liberalization, macro-stabilization and privatization of the state-owned firms after the breakdown of communism. The first attempts at privatizing the large state-owned firms in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic resulted in different types of state and private “hybrid ownership” structures in which some state paternalism remained. The state paternalism remained in Slovakia, too. The Baltic states adopted the most radical liberalization and macro-stabilization policy in the region to create a form of capitalism, which was furthest removed from the past-communism symbolized by the former Soviet Union since they considered independence from Russia as the most important challenge of the systemic change. While Slovenia created a German type of corporatist industrial relation in the first half of the 1990s on the basis of the past legacy, i.e., self-management socialism, it implemented privatization gradually. Due to both internal and external reasons such as the CEE countries’ low level of domestic capital accumulation and their accession into the EU, the inflow of FDI from old EU member states into the CEE increased at a faster pace since the late 1990s. As a result, “dependent capitalism” emerged in the eight CEE countries. The Visegrad countries enjoyed a higher pace of economic growth through multinational-led export increases by the late 2000s. In the Baltic states, a “housing and consumption boom” originated from the excess-loans from foreign bank affiliates to households. However, the CEE economies (except Poland) were severely damaged by the spread of the financial crisis and recessions in the core EU member states after the late 2008. From this event, one should keep in mind the negative aspects of the excess-dependence on foreign capital in the CEE economies. The communist welfare system consisted of full employment, universal social insurance, a firm-based system of service, fringe benefits and subsidized prices for basic necessities such as food and housing. The “transition recession” in the beginning of the 1990s led to massive unemployment and the end of full employment in the CEE. By introducing unemployment benefits and social assistance system in order to cope with the increase of the poor and unemployed in the beginning of the 1990s, the welfare system of the CEE moved closer to those of Continental European type. From the mid-1990s, the social policies of many CEE countries shifted to what the World Bank had recommended. For example, many countries in the CEE implemented pension reform, including partial privatization, although Slovenia and the Czech Republic did not. The fact that poverty rate in Slovenia and the Czech Republic is much lower than those in Poland and Baltic states reflects different social policy stances. It also reveals historical path-dependency since Slovenia and the Czech Republic created the most developed capitalism in the CEE as measured by per capita GDP on the basis of historical legacy. Before the breakdown of communism, both Slovenia and the Czech Republic belonged to the advanced region in the Eastern Europe.
This paper examines how Russia has addressed a series of migration issues since the collapse of the Soviet Union. To follow the history of Russia’s migration issues, we examine legislative and institutional changes, and the academic trends of Chinese migration issues in Russia, and analyze the labor market structure where Central Asian migrant workers are embedded. Finally we examine how to define the problems faced by foreign workers in the labor market in a migration study of Russia. The problems faced by the former Soviet countries after the collapse of the Soviet Union included how each country would manage the newly established borders and how they would control the human and commodity flows through them. In the early 1990s, Russia originally had to tackle how to receive ethnic Russians living in the former Soviet Union, how to resettle them, and how to control their increased flow. The revised law on forced migration in 1995 decreased the number of forced migrants from the former Soviet Union to Russia, and in turn a massive flow of Chinese migrants to Russia, especially to the Russian Far East, became the center of public attention. The Russian public and government considered the increasing numbers of Chinese migrant workers a threat to Russia and often dubbed such immigration the “yellow peril.” However, recent academic research on Chinese migration studies in Russia tends to draw a clear line against such alarmist discourse and to explore the realistic features of Chinese migrants living and working in Russia. Such research showed that most Chinese migrant workers are traders and businessmen temporarily staying in Russia and are actively exploring business opportunities and creating employment. Chinese migrant workers are indispensable for the Russian Far East where the labor shortage is critical. But in general, Chinese migrant workers find jobs, not due to the traditional demand of Russia’s labor market, but due to the demand created by Chinese businesses. The recent majority of foreign workers are from Central Asia. They are allowed to cross Russia’s border without visas and to look for jobs without visas or work permits. Central Asian workers living in Russia are embedded in the Russian labor market and occupy unqualified and low-paid jobs at the bottom of the market, filling jobs Russians do not want. Central Asian workers are employed with the traditional demand that Russia’s society always requires. Russia cannot maintain her economy and daily life without Central Asian workers. The Russian government, however, still fails to establish good governance to allow them to work legally, doesn’t protect their human and labor rights, and doesn’t ease the vulnerability they face as foreign workers. Migrant workers face much trouble in their daily lives and bureaucratic barriers to obtain legal status to stay and work in Russia. Without protecting their human and labor rights, the establishment of a common labor market in Eurasia, which is often mentioned in Russia, remains far from realization. Therefore we must scrutinize the real features of foreign workers in Russia’s labor market and tackle the problems faced by foreign workers in Russia.
In the Soviet Union during its last several years Soviet ethics underwent radical changes in its category as far as it lost the traditional Marxist-Leninist values. The roots of this “conceptual revolution” in ethics must be in the 1950s–1960s. According to Russian ethicians’ periodisations of the history of Russian/Soviet ethics, Soviet ethics accomplished dramatic development once the time turns the 1960s. After the October Revolution in 1917 Lenin noticed the importance of morality. Anatolii Lunacharskii gave advice to readers to get hint on establishment of moral system from Kant. Considering “Lunacharskii renaissance” after Stalin’s death this remark must be important for the history of Soviet ethics. The famous and influential Soviet pedagogist Anton Makarenko pointed out the necessity of systematic study of Communist ethics instead of old-fashioned ethics based on religion. The idea, which gave significant impact on Makarenko, was Maxim Gorky’s philosophy expressed in his play “The Lower Depth” “maxim respect to Man”. This idea was emphasised in Soviet ethicians Alexandr Shishkin’s text books on Communist morality published in 1955, as a combination with Immanuel Kant’s maxim “never treat the person merely as means but always at the same time as an end”. The 1950s started with Stalin’s article on linguistics in which he announced new these on basis and superstructure which included morality. First academic work on Marxist ethics and duty was published an year after Stalin’s death. In 1955 the first text-book on Communist moral was published by the pedagogist, A. Shishkin, who had studied Kant’s and Rousseau’s pedagogic works. In this text he introduced Russian revolutionary democrat Chernyshevsky’s ideal image of personality in his novel “What Is To Be Done”. In the same year another Soviet ethician, Vasilii Sokolov, introduced Spinoza’s ethical theory. Sokolov supported Spinoza’s metaphysical idea of “Human Nature” and let it relate to freedom and democracy. In 1957 Viktor Klochkov in his article on similarities and differences between ethics view of Feuerbach and Chernyshevsky, appealed that guarantee of freedom is essential for personality’s development. He gave the latter high marks for having proposed a person who can defend self human dignity. Both of freedom of human personality and defence of human dignity would become an important factors in the mental current in the 1960s. In 1958–59 Soviet education system underwent full reforms faced to the general atmosphere to avoid engaging in manual labour. And in the 21st Party Congress Party Guideline to strengthen the connection between school and daily lives was presented. Following the Khrushchev’s report, in Leningrad the congress on the ethical problems was held to make decisions of drafts lectures in Universities. In response to the results of this conference, it was decided to open courses of ethics in Moscow and Leningrad Universities. Concurrently, in this year in the journal “Problems of Philosophy” ethics and atheism got an independent section from historical materialism. Thus, in the end of the 1950s Soviet ethicians and the Party leadership started to engage in the spade-work of Soviet ethics together.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union new enthusiasm for Japan, often dubbed “New Japonism,” emerged in Russia. Along with Murakami Haruki, manga and anime, etc., geisha, one of the main representations of Japan abroad since the end of the 19th century, evoked a fresh interest. The new edition of the Russian translation of Loti’s Madame Chrysanthème, the translation of Nakamura Kiharu’s biographical work, the popularity of Arthur Golden’s novel as well as the success of the movie, Sayuri, based on the novel, are just few examples of this revived interest in geisha. Moreover, some contemporary Russian writers themselves created works, incorporating Japanese themes in their works, including the representation of geisha. Olga Lazoreva’s trilogy, Russian Geisha, is a story about a Russian girl who undertakes the training as a geisha after her lover dies in connection with the Aum Shinrikyo sect and the Tokyo sarin subway incident. It also is a work, created under New Japonism in Russia and, as reflected in the title, represents geisha in her own way. Lazoreva was invited to write a novel about geisha by a publishing house in the light of popularity of Golden’s novel, The Memoirs of Geisha, and its film version in Russia. Thus at the first glance it would seem that Lazoreva merely reproduced the theme of geisha, found in other works. Besides, even though Lazoreva in her work constantly stresses the fact that geisha is not a prostitute, the explicit descriptions of sexuality in the work, would create a contrary impression that this trilogy is just another representation of exotic Japanese sexuality as exotic one. The fact that geisha, represented in Lazoreva’s work, is of mixed origins plays an important role. By creating an untypical geisha character, closely connected to Russia, Lazoreva’s work not merely represents the exotic Other, but, through the protagonist-geisha, being both Japanese and Russian, also discloses a concealed self-representation of the Russians. This paper is thus an attempt to explore the representation of geisha, its peculiarities and significance in contemporary Russian literature by focusing on the trilogy Russian Geisha, which would shed a new light on the construction of the modern Russian subjectivity itself. The work will analyze the representation of geisha focusing on the following three points: firstly, the analysis of the way Lazoreva operates with the stereotype of geisha, often perceived as a prostitute; secondly, the comparison of the representation of geisha in Lazoreva’s work to the representation of Russian women in general in the context of some other contemporary Russian literary works, such as Chapaev and Void by Viktor Pelevin and The Intergirl by Vladimir Kunin, the works that describe Russian women in their peculiar ways. Lastly, on the basis of these analyses, this paper will try to clarify the relevance of Russian Geisha to the socio-economic situation of the post-Perestroika and post-Soviet Russia and to its gender politics.
This paper traces the changing course of the patriotic policies of Putin’s government, and shows that the ‘color revolutions’ in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyz had a great impact on the Russian political process. Post-communist Russia has suffered from serious political and economic disturbances, comparable with smuta in tsarist Russia. In the first period of the New Russia, while Yeltsin’s government adopted a series of western-oriented policies, the opposition put forward an alternative line based on Russian nationalism. As Russian citizens displayed anti-western sentiments, however, president Yeltsin also changed course and modified policies to take national feelings into consideration. As a result, almost all political forces in Russia became proponents of Russian patriotism. Therefore, we need to examine the real contents of the patriotism held by political forces, particularly in each administration. President Putin, who followed president Yeltsin in 2000, stressed the importance of patriotism in his policies. Valerie Sperling, who analyzed patriotic policies in post-Soviet Russia, argues that Putin practiced various policies based on ‘militarized patriotism’ toward Russian youth, because his government needed to foster their loyalty to the state and their interest in joining the Russian army. Although I agree with her claim that Putin pursued patriotic policies, Sperling appears not to have grasped a turning point in policy transformation under Putin, in particular the real meaning of the ‘color revolutions’ that took place in the former Soviet Republics in 2003–2005. This paper analyzes the two programs for promoting patriotism among Russians, each of which was adopted under Putin’s government in 2001 and 2005. The difference between both programs is that the first was directed at all social and age groups, while the second mainly targeted the younger generation. Why did the latter program focus on youths? This paper examines the political impact on Putin’s administration of the ‘color revolutions’ in the CIS countries in which the younger generation played a significant role, and clarifies Putin’s efforts to prevent these revolutions from spilling over into Russia, through organizing a new youth organization named ‘Nashi,’ publishing a new edition of the guidebook for teaching Russian history, and other efforts.