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Human rights, labour conditions and living standards in transition in Russia

русская версия

Опубликовано на портале: 31-12-2010
Мир России. 1996.  Т. 5. № 4. С. 127-184. 
The article consists of two inter-connected parts. It begins with a characteristic of the nature of human social and economic rights in transitional Russia and their importance. These rights are less universal and can be described as being diffused, lacking in "strictness" as compared with the general civil and political human rights. Nevertheless human social and economic rights are acquiring a special importance in present-day conditions in Russia. They strike a chord in Russian-Soviet mentality and for this reason may well become the most effective avenue for the development of mass legal consciousness.
Besides the fusion of social and legal principles makes it easier to elaborate the idea of a social state, differing both from the communist idea of total suppression of freedom and from the liberal-capitalist idea of vulgar egoism and negation of solidarity.
Subsequent sections are devoted to a study of the implementation of socio-economic rights in contemporary Russia. It is stressed that this process (and the inter-connected process of change in living conditions) cannot be described as being simply and clearly a negative one. On the contrary it is of a complex and contradictory nature. The situation is worsening as regards some aspects of the population's life and the exercise of some socio-economic rights, while in other areas there are improvements. The latter include greater freedom in the country, the right to form independent trade unions and to hold strikes. Ranking among the former are the declining real incomes, the worsening diet of the population, the dropping standards of social services and the growth of differentiation in terms of income (true, at the same time ownership of cars and summer housing in the countryside has become commonplace).
The contradictory nature of the changes in Russia creates a unique socioeconomic and socio-legal situation. It is more unusual and in a sense more complex than simple stagnation or even an overall drop in living standards.
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