Post-Soviet Russia between Federalism and Unitarism: Normative Models and Realities of Transforming Society
Erokhina Elena
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2019-11.3.1-194-210
Annotation:

The article deals with the problem of correlation between the theory and practice of Russian federalism. The author shows the relationship between sovereignization and the formation of a new Russian statehood at the beginning of the 1990s. The author also highlights the cyclicality of fluctuations from decentralization to over-centralization in relations between the center and the region. Federalism is seen as an institution, as a normative model, and as a practice. The paper draws particular attention to the historical context of the formation of the Russian statehood: “the parade of sovereignties”, the collapse of the USSR, the adoption of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the Federative Treaty on the authority demarcation with the Republic of Tatarstan. The author suggests that the inertia of decentralization after the collapse of the USSR not overcome by the Russian Federation in the 1990s prompted the federal center to borrow elements of unitarism. In the 2000s negotiability inability of elites in all authority levels was forcibly compensating by construction of “power vertical”. However, already by the mid-2000s the management centralization turns into a self-sufficient trend. The comprehension of the phenomenon of Russian federalism, the compliances of institutional practices with constitutional principles, the search for its optimal model and other issues served as a starting point for an interdisciplinary discussion. To date, several directions have been formed, each of which has its own argumentation in the dispute between supporters and opponents of federalism, who believe, that the unitary model of Russia's structure to be more optimal. It has been suggested that the negative experience of decentralization of the 1990s is associated in academic and everyday discourse with federalization. Such a setup prevents the objective understanding of this phenomenon as a factor that has played a positive role in the formation of the new post-Soviet statehood of Russia. The thesis is substantiated by the fact that with the entry of the Crimea into Russia, the federalist discourse acquired a new breath. To prove this argument, the author refers to cases illustrating the desire of individual subjects to use the institutions of federalism to build parity relations with the center to solve issues that are under the joint jurisdiction of Moscow and the regions. The author comes to the conclusion about maturing of prerequisites for a new cycle in the development of federal relations. The lack of budgetary funds, which the majority of subjects is experiencing now, makes them exercise their authorities, pushes regions to the need to expand the scope of their rights. The strategies of interaction between the federal center and the subjects of the Russian Federation are proposed to be described in the metaphors of bargaining and partnership.

Karaites of Crimea. Travel notes on Self-identity
Plyusnin Juri
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2019-11.2.1-209-232
Annotation:

The problem of self-identification of small ethnic groups are becoming more threatening because of the importance of globalization processes. All small ethnic groups are now subject of the ethnic identity assimilation destructive processes. Karaites occupy an important place in this, because their language and religion disputes about the origin of the people many years. This uncertainty of self-identification was the cause of our field research. There are some results of the preliminary analysis. I have carried out a case study of ethnic self-identification of the Crimean Karaites. 15 expert interviews with the Karaites in Feodosia, Simferopol, Evpatoria, and 48 focused interviews with residents of 12 cities and rural areas were conducted. Information from experts and ordinary residents of Crimea proves the ambiguity and uncertainty of a significant identity of the Karaites, as well as poor awareness of non-Karaites inhabitants about Karaites neighbors. Experts which claim about their Karaite origin, deny kinship with the Jews. They see themselves as ethnic Turks on the basis of language, which none of the respondent does not own the required extent. They believe Karaism independent religion. Experts who speak Hebrew and Karaite, in contrast to other, recognize such links. We note the significant socio-political diversification and atomization formal public activity the Karaites throughout in the Crimea. Karaites public NGO-organizations compete for budget funds and for the expected state support. Their social activity is not include the Karaites countryside in any way. Our survey of residents in the streets showed that many of them are not aware of the Karaites as a people, or have no idea of them all. Only those who is a neighbor, or a kinship with Karaites know about them. Crimean Karaites have by now almost completely assimilated ethnos. although many Karaites are still an ethnically pure. The socio-political, cultural and religious activities of active representatives Karaites people are not conducive to any ethnic consolidation, preservation, and revival of a small ethnos.

“It wasn’t like That”: Discussions about Terror in the Socialist Revolutionary Party during the Civil War
Morozov Konstantin
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2019-11.1.2-327-355
Annotation:

This article, written to a large extent on archival material (mainly from the Central Office of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation), is devoted to the topic of discussions about terror and the attitude of the Socialist Revolutionary Party to it during the Civil War. The studies conducted in the previous year allow us to draw a conclusion that the assassination attempt on Vladimir Volodarsky on June 20, 1918 and on Lenin on January 1 and August 30, 1918 cannot be considered out of the context of the Socialist Revolutionary Party attitude to terror (though they were not the acts of the Socialist Revolutionary Party). If we consider the emergence of terrorist sentiments in the SR and the SR terror itself after October 1917, without violating the principle of historicism, it becomes obvious that these sentiments were a response to the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks in October 1917 and the dispersal of the legitimately elected All-Russian Constituent Assembly, accompanied by the shooting of peaceful demonstrations in its defense in Petrograd and Moscow. At the same time, a considerable part of the Socialist Revolutionaries, including leaders, was plunged into a great deal of confusion by the impossibility to use weapons (including terror acts) against the socialists, and also in a situation when the Bolsheviks enjoyed the support of a part of the capital city proletariat (and not only in the capital city).

Problems of Preservation of the National Self-Consciousness of the Russian People
Chernoskutov Viktor,  Romannikov Oleg
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2019-11.1.2-356-365
Annotation:

The problems of preserving Russian national identity at the present stage are considered in the article. The authors analyze the sources, the main stages and ways of forming the self-consciousness of the Russian people. They note that its formation is inextricably linked with the process of the formation of the Russian national culture and national self-consciousness. The views about the features of the Russian character, the peculiarities of the Russian soul, embodying the spiritual essence of the people of Russian thinkers such as F.M. Dostoevsky, V.S. Solovyov, N.A. Berdyaev etc. are investigated in a socio-philosophical context. The article emphasizes that with the collapse of the USSR, a one-time surrender of the positions of a great country took place: there appeared an ideological vacuum, there was no consolidating idea or ideals. The authors show the differences in the principles of the existence of Russian and Western civilizations, the current increasing pressure on the Russian state and citizens literally in all spheres of life, the authors note as well that the economic and information wars against our country threaten the unity of Russia as a multi-national state. Russophobia and the socio-economic anomie of Russian society are considered among them. The authors come to the conclusion that in order to develop the self-consciousness of the Russian people, it is necessary to preserve Russian culture and the Russian language, strengthen inter-ethnic ties, educate young people on the examples of the historical past, folk traditions and customs, enhance the role of the Russian Orthodox Church as the traditional moral authority of society.

Who Are the “Evreytsy” (Jews), or Experience of Cultural Synthesis in the Amur Region
Blyakher L.E.
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2018-4.1-172-190
Annotation:

The article is devoted to the analysis of cultural synthesis, which emerged in the Jewish Autonomous Region. Cultures-participants in this synthesis are the cultures of the Amur peasantry and Jewish settlers of 1920s - 1930s. The first community was formed in the last decades of the XIX century in the conditions of mass migration of the peasantry to the Amur lands. Huge benefits, relative weakness of power on the eastern outskirts of the Russian Empire led to the formation of a unique community based on the principles of self-organization, distancing itself from any authority. But that community was destroyed during the Sovietization and suppression of anti-Bolshevik uprisings. As a result of the repressions and flight of peasants to China, the region turned out to be uninhabited, and the “relic” of the community participated in the synthesis, reproducing the most archaic and sustainable social and economic practices (setting for autarky, mutual support, egalitarianism, network principles of social interaction, hunting, fishing and gathering in terms of self-sufficiency). The resettlement of Jews from the former “Pale of Settlement” for Soviet power had a completely utilitarian meaning: the reduction of overpopulation in the western regions, the settlement of the “empty” Far East. There was an additional reason for the resettlement of “working Jews” – it was necessary to detach a former resident of the “Pale of Settlement” from the community based on religion. As a result, the project of creating a new Jewish culture was implemented – “national in form and socialist in content”. At the same time, the internal ties and economic practices of the new settlers were formed under the strongest influence of the local peasantry. As a result there appeared such a structure where the Jewish component was responsible for communication with the outside world, and the peasant one was responsible for the economy of the region and communication inside the community.

Jewish Communities and “the Jewish Factor” in the Jewish Autonomous Region of Russia
Chernov M.I.
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2018-4.1-160-171
Annotation:

The article covers the current situation in the Jewish community of the Jewish Autonomous Region (JAR) and the significant place of the “Jewish factor” in the social structure of the region. The Jewish factor is not always confined to ethnicity. Surveillance and in-depth interview were the main research methods used by the author. The study is conducted due to a grant from the “Khamovniki” Foundation for Social Research. Despite a small number of Jews living in the region (according to the data of the All-Russian population census and the estimated data of Jewish communities themselves), the “Jewish factor” is significant in the regional life. Jews and the “Jewish factor” are present in all areas of the autonomous region. They are an important part of the administrative, cultural, and business elite of the JAR. Thus, it is Jews and Jewry that are a kind of band which binds together the fragmented territory of the JAR. A unique new ethno-cultural community with its own special features and self-identification is being formed on a Jewish basis. Non-Jews by birth often perceive Jewish culture, the history of specific features of the JAR as part of their own identity. Within this new community, there exists and develops a traditional Jewish communal infrastructure with a synagogue, a kosher public catering, education, etc. The presence of a small, but actively functioning Jewish Orthodox community contributes to the preservation of the Jewish core and Jewish character of the JAR, as well as the consolidation of broader social groups (including government officials), Jews and non-Jews around the Jewish historical and cultural heritage of the region. Jews and the Jewish factor in the JAR are the connecting link for the heterogeneous economic-geographical and ethno-social structure of the region. The functioning of the Jewish communities of the JAR contributes to the formation of a “multinational Jewish people” in the JAR (according to the concept of Simon Kordonsky). The development of Jewish communities and the consolidation around them ensure strengthening of the ethno-social potential of the Jewish Autonomous Region.

Territory of Social Wellbeing. Interaction of Ethno-Social Groups in the Jewish Autonomous Region
Plyusnin Juri
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2018-4.1-136-159
Annotation:

The paper considers peculiarities of settlement of the present Jewish Autonomous Region by different ethno-social groups. The author discusses the conditions and factors determining intergroup relations. The article defines and describes the types of conflicts (contradictions) among different ethno-social groups that determined the role and importance of these groups in the region. The author outlines six successive stages of the territory settlement by different groups over the last 200 years. It is highlighted that large groups of settlers and the periods of their settlement did not overlap in time. These are the groups of the Cossacks and the Old Believers, the Transsib builders and workers involved in the industrial development of the region, the Jews and the Tajiks, the representatives of the Caucasian peoples. All groups differed according to the following important characteristics: the origin and previous ethnic history, cultural stereotypes and economic practices of households, they also had confessional differences. Finally, the groups had different population and demographic characteristics. Basic relations were established between those ethno-social groups which were specializing in different economic spheres and developing different resources: commerce, entrepreneurial activities, handicrafts (Tajiks, Armenians, Chechens, Dagestani, Azerbaijani, and also Old Believers), budget and administrative resources (Jews, Russians and Armenians). All the above mentioned factors contributed much to the special character of relations among ethno-social groups in the region. The relations can be characterized as contrasting and conflicting. They determine a unique socio-demographic status of the region and allow to assess the ethno-social potential of the territory. Diversity and contrast provide the overall high social potential of local society, where the Jewish ethnos stands out against the background of all the others. The modern territory of the region is divided into several “zones of influence” of different ethno-social groups. It resembles “a patchwork”. The region, as an administrative entity, is divided into three parts, loosely linked. The northeastern part, the Middle Amur lowland, has been inhabited by Russians and Jews, and now Tajiks are pouring into the region. The northwest of the region, the mountain-taiga territory of the Small Hingan, is controlled mainly by Russian representatives of the period of Soviet development and a small Russian Old Believer community. The south of the region, the territory adjacent to the Amur, forms a “zone of influence of the frontiers”: these are the descendants of the first-settlers – the Cossacks and the current military men. The Azerbaijani and the Chinese also have great influence here. Territorial “patchwork” creates several “spheres of influence” for different ethno-social groups. They are supposed to have a competition for the administrative resource among the groups controlling these parts of the territory. The Jewish group holds the key positions here, the representatives of which for various reasons occupy a central place in the current system of economic relations and political-administrative relations. There is a discrepancy between the real situation and the external ideas about the region, its political, social and demographic status and ethnic potential. According to the estimates and official statistics on the number of Jewish population in the region, the influence of the Jewish ethnic factor turned out to be significantly larger than it appears from the outside. The influence of the Chinese factor, on the contrary, turned out to be significantly less important not only in the socio-political sphere but also in the economy. The factor of interethnic relations turned out to be very significant and has an undoubtedly positive significance. The factor of confessional differences between the key ethno-social groups ─ several Russian groups, Jews, Tajiks and Chinese ─ is equally positive.

Ethno-Social Potential of the Territory: a Special Case of the Jewish Autonomous Region
Molyarenko O.A.,  Plyusnin Juri,  Chernov M.I.,  Kordonsky S.G.
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2018-4.1-105-135
Annotation:

The paper estimates the modern ethno-social potential of the administrative territory - the Jewish Autonomous Region, highlighting the importance and system-forming role of the Jews. The first introductory article of the cycle presents the author's concept of the ethno-social potential of the territory. Ethno-social potential is an integral part of social and, more broadly, human potential. The concept is defined by the authors as the possibility and ability of representatives of various ethnic groups to use ethnically specific cultural and historical traditions and economic practices as resources for achieving the goals of social development of both individual ethnic groups and the entire local society. The authors describe the methodology of phenomenological social research. The main qualitative methods are immediate observation and interview. The results are based on the empirical materials of field research. The article outlines the historical and socio-political prerequisites of the formation and current state of the ethno-social composition of the Jewish region. The main reasons for the uniqueness of the region are, firstly, in several successive stages of the settlement of the empty areas of the Amur lowland by ethnically diverse populations. Secondly, the unique state status of the Jewish people in this territory does matter. The Jewish national district has been the first nationwide state formation of Jews for two millennia that defines a special nature of the interstate relations between Russia and Israel. The settlement of the territory continues in the post-Soviet period. This is also a unique experience for modern Russia. The constitutional status of the region is being discussed. Autonomous administrative territory is represented by the only subject of the Russian Federation. This provides a unique position of the region in the administrative-territorial system of the Russian Federation. The consequence of this is the impossibility of changing this status of the Jewish Autonomous Region without changing the Russian Constitution. The first co-author of the article (S.G. Kordonsky) proposed the original concept of “multinational Jewish people”, the methodological foundation of which is his “fan matrices theory”.

Problems of the Formation of Civil Culture in Kyrgyzstan
Bektanova A.K.
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2018-3.2-198-220
Annotation:

The problem of the formation of civil society is relevant in the post-Soviet space for nearly thirty years. Formation and foundation of a civil society is a fairly long-term historical process, conditioned by certain economic, political, legal and sociocultural factors. Emphasizing that the formation of the economic and political and legal foundation of a civil society is of paramount importance, the author believes that the creation of socio-cultural conditions and the prerequisites of civil society is not less important, and represents a process that is considerably complex and time-consuming. One of the most important socio-cultural components of a civil society is civil culture, which is a subsystem of a complex integrated system of culture. The author notes that the basic elements of civil culture are legal, political and ecological culture. Using the data from sociological research, the author studies the state of civil culture in Kyrgyzstan and comes to the conclusion about the low level of general and civic culture of individuals and society as a whole, the lack of self-reliance and independence of civil institutions, the lack of mutual consent and trust in society. This hinders the process of the formation of civil society. In this regard, the need to use the historical experience of the political, legal and ecological culture of the traditional Kyrgyz society, which relied primarily on morality and integrity, is actualized. The author notes that the peculiarities of the existence of nomads living in extremely difficult natural conditions contain a considerable potential and resources for effective regulation and coordination of collective interconnections in society and in nature, which seems to be quite important for the formation of civil society. At the same time, it is noted that there is a need for a dialectical approach to the problem of the formation of a civic culture that involves the denial of negative manifestations of the past culture while preserving everything positive and conducive to the progressive development of the society.

Determinants of the reproduction of ethnic diversity: market, state, informal institutions
Erokhina Elena
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2018-3.2-185-197
Annotation:

The article is dedicated to the role of institutional determinants in the reproduction of ethnic diversity. Ethnic diversity is considered in two aspects: as a result of personal identification (nominative aspect) and as a supra-individual phenomenon (normative aspect). The aggregate of ideas about "what means to be someone" and "who is called to be someone" by nationality (ethnicity) is the basis for the reproduction of ethnicity as a set of rules that includes membership rules and borders management mechanisms. However, the ethnicity itself is inscribed into broader social context from which these rules and mechanisms have been growing. Objectified structures which together constitute a social order are the institutional determinants of ethnicity. As such ones, the article stands out the State, the market, and some informal structures: family, kinship, and community. The author notes the distinction between the economic-cultural types and economic structures of different peoples as the basis of ethnic inequality. The article highlights the role of the State in strengthening or mitigation of status inequality of ethnic groups and reveals the significance of informal institutions in the reproduction of ethnic diversity. Informal institutions can relieve the tension caused by social barriers, can guard the society from rifts, and can prevent excessive polarization of its various segments. Another aspect of informal institutions is their ability to create new barriers and constraints. The author concludes that an activity of formal institutions creates prerequisites for ethnic stratification, while informal institutions represent self-organization. Ethnicity exists in both fields: in the field of managed modernization and in the field of spontaneous self-organization. At the intersection of formal and informal modes of social institutions work, special conditions for ethnicity reproduction are formed. The author provides examples of how the status of separate classes of Russian Empire patrials determined the specificity of ethnicity reproduction in the Russian Empire. On the examples of individual cases, the paper considers the specific occurrences of reproduction of ethnic diversity at the intersection of activities of informal structures, the state, and the market in the conditions of modern Russia.