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The Construction Of ‘poverty’ In Post‐Soviet Russia

J. Round, E. Kosterina
Published 2005 · Economics, Sociology

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Abstract The Russian government aims to halve poverty in Russia within the next ten years. The role of this paper is to explore why this very ambitious target is not just concerned with macro‐economic growth. It argues that the way the state conceptualises, and quantifies, poverty will provide significant barriers to its objectives. To explore this, drawing on qualitative research conducted in three Russian cities, the paper explores how the state defines poverty before critically examining how political ‘elites’ view ‘the poor’. It is argues that without a radical rethinking of these discourses significant poverty reduction will prove very difficult to achieve. This enables discussions on how marginalized individuals mediate these discourses and how they impact on their interactions with the state. The final sections of the paper explore these issues through the lens of the current welfare reforms that the federal government planned to introduce in January 2005. It is argued that rather than reducing poverty these reforms will instead increase everyday uncertainty among the marginalized and will impact negatively on their existing coping strategies.
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