Universe Of Man And Space Of Power. Russia As A New «Social State»
Опубликовано на портале: 31-12-2010
The article resumes the presentation of the problem «Universe of Man and Space
of Power», started in the previous issue of journal «Universe of Russia»
(№1, 2005), when we tried to describe the space of activities of different
levels of Russian authority, its genesis and stimulating motives of transformation.
Now we will try to answer the following questions: what does our «social»
state (according to the Constitution of the Russian Federation) promise and really
render to each citizen in every areal of authority, — federal, regional, local?
Why is a «free man in a free country» so socially dependent on the state
and why is this dependence so geographically differentiated?
In seven parts of the article we sequentially consider: (1) meaning and content of
social liabilities of the state, (2) causes of their hypertrophy and model of differentiation
between the levels of authority till 2000, (3) transformation of the order of execution
of social liabilities of the state in 2000—2004, (4) results of execution of
the new social order at the beginning of 2005, (5) budgetary-tax grounds of new social
policy, (6) social aspects of the «economy of doubling», (7) new social
order in Russia as a «social state».
The article begins with the discussion of a number of institutional and spatial aspects
of Russian social policy, systemically connected with the author's idea of «social
liabilities of the state». This is a key notion, which the author put into use
several years ago, and which allows to understand the causes of strong state influence
on individual social life in Russia. Everything, which happens with a man in the
social sphere of Russia is just an execution (or non-execution) of constitutionally
or legislatively fixed number of social guarantees, rights and goods (in natural
and cost form), which the state is obliged to make accessible for its citizens, and
for a certain part of citizens; for a certain number of social goods the preferential
terms are guaranteed, i.e. provision at the expense of public (most often budgetary)
resources or off-budget funds. The number of such liabilities is huge: it is formed
by the federal authority, and no town or village can introduce any object of its
From this point of view social reforms in Russia always consist in the revision of
the composition, order of financing and conditions of execution of social liabilities
of the state on federal, regional and local levels organized by the «center»,
and the social space is actually forming mosaic of the concentration of the mentioned
liabilities on specific territories.
As it is shown in the article the hypertrophy of social liabilities (especially —
benefits) in Russia of the 1990-es is the consequence of two main circumstances.
First of all, former socialist system of distribution of social goods in the conditions
of extremely low incomes of the population could at least somehow compensate the
promises of the state support. Secondly, mass distribution of benefits was an instinctive
political self-defense from the discontent of the population caused by the conducted
reforms. Without these mass benefits the events of 1993 as well as the reelection
of B.N. Eltzin as president of Russia and other political events in the newest history
of Russia could have been placed in a totally different way.
The newest (2001-2005) transformation of social liabilities of the state, in its
turn, was a result of the simultaneous processes of three reformation actions: administrative
reform (change of the structure and authorities of different branches of executive
power), reforms of local government (change of number, borders and administrative
subjects of municipal formations and reforms of the social liabilities themselves
(change of their number, order of execution, financing, form of granting, responsibility
and authorities between the levels of federal, regional and local administration).
The transition to the new social order at the beginning of 2005 divided the social
space of the country both by the attitude of regional authorities towards the federal
reforms and by the real inclusion of the population in the process of «the monetization
of benefits». On the whole, instead of the qualitative renewal of the structure
of social liabilities, the leadership of the country proposed their much bigger financing
with partial substitution of privileged rendering of social benefits by the pecuniary
compensation. The changes in practice of the determination and execution of social
liabilities of the state became a peculiar continuation of the policy «benefits
instead of wages» within the circumstances of the continuing centralization
of the public finances («the center» becomes richer at expense of the regions,
and regions — at the expense of municipalities) and strengthening of «vertical
of authority». The newest tendencies of the change of methodology and instruments
of «budgetary federalism», considered in the article, confirm this conclusion.
The execution of new social policy in small towns and villages becomes the most dependent
from the federal and regional financial support.
The author of the article analyzes the social aspects of «the economy of doubling»
— unique combination of external features of strong power, economic growth
and many reformation activities and heterogeneous economic and social space. Within
the context of the considered problems of the transformation of social liabilities
of the state «the economy of doubling» is shown as the next wave of paternalist
expectations and hopes of «revival» of the old economy, growth of employment
in the former material production etc. In fact, economic growth of the last years
is not connected with the branch restructurization, it may be observed in very few
regions and settlements, it is accompanied by the reduction of needs for surplus
labour force (latent unemployment becomes more open) and provokes the intensification
of territorial differentiation of social and economic space.
The article is concluded by the analysis of Russian specific character of «the
social state», including comparison with «the social states» in Europe
and America. Special attention is focused on the correlation between the social character
of the state and it being rich or poor, politically strong or weak; in this connection
the author gives a sharp critical estimations of the widespread notions about Russian
poverty. As it is shown in the article practically all «social states»
of the world have considerably changed during the last 20 years, and the newest changes
in Russia lie in the mainstream of worldwide tendencies. The author considers the
transition from the former «socialist national state» to contemporary «social
state» as the main problem of the state social policy in Russia. From his point
of view, everything which takes place in Russia in the social sphere today, —
reconsideration of the social liabilities of the state, adoption of Housing, Labour
and Domestic Codes, «monetization of benefits» and all the other social
reforms — mean only one thing — the country is becoming «the social
state» not de jure but de facto.