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The Russian welfare state: moving towards neofamilialism?


Teplova, Tatyana (2006). The Russian welfare state: moving towards neofamilialism?. Master's thesis / Doctoral dissertation.


This thesis explores major changes in child care/family policies in the transformation period in Russia. With this purpose, it analyzes policymaking in the area of child care in both Soviet and post-Soviet regimes. The cases studied included child care services, maternity/parental leave provisions, as well as in-home caregiving and other family type allowances. The thesis shows that since the 1990s, Russia has undergone significant structural reforms of its social, political and economic systems, including child care. Such reforms were not limited to changes in the welfare state, but also included deep ideological changes. These changes involved a paradigm shift in the Russian welfare regime---not to neo-liberalism but rather toward a neofamilialist model of care. The thesis illustrates that the neofamilialist model was seen to fit well with new needs for a "flexible" work force, while also achieving demographic and political goals. The move towards neofamilialism reflects a set of various policy choices and the balance of power within the Russian state system, as well as the power resources of external-to-state actors. At the same time, while this shift has resulted in the greater familialisation of care, it has not, however, facilitated the "choice" to stay at home with young children, at least for most women. The very tensions within the state that favoured the adoption of a neo-familial paradigm have also limited its ability to implement it effectively. As a result, many women have to try to combine work and family life, albeit under more difficult circumstances than before. In general, this thesis aims to develop a nuanced account of social change in the region by taking into account the socialist institutional legacies and analyzing policy development at both national and local levels. A unifying theme of this thesis highlights the importance of institutions, ideas, historical legacies and interests. Although the Russian case is unique, it helps us to increase our understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by other countries in transition.

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Teplova, Tatyana