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The influence of citizens on the decision-making process (on the example of the problem of homeless animals)

Research Article

Natalya V. Levchenko, Candidate of Sociology researcher, ,
mailto: natalya_levchenk@mail.ru
The influence of citizens on the decision-making process (on the example of the problem of homeless animals).
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2011. Vol. 2. No. 2. P. 254-267

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For citation:
Levchenko N. V. The influence of citizens on the decision-making process (on the example of the problem of homeless animals). Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2011. Vol. 2. No. 2. P. 254-267


The article, based on expert interviews, studies to what extent citizens can influence the management system of, first of all, local level. The problem is explored by the example of how Obninsk authorities react to the presence of stray animals in the city and communicate with members of the public. The choice of Obninsk is justified by the fact that it is one of the science cities of Russia, which allows one to study how the problem of stray animals affects the relations of the inhabitants of the city with a high percentage of educated people. As a theoretical basis of the research, the actionist approach and, above all, the theoretical concepts of the French sociologist A. Touraine were used. The global experience of solving the problem of homeless animals is examined in order to understand whether animal advocates can cope with it independently or if local authorities’ intervention is needed, and a short historical review of this experience is presented. Currently in European countries and the United States, the uncontrolled breeding of animals, which are often end up in the streets, and raising of the pet keeping culture, are done via introduction of reduced taxes from the owners of sterilized animals, mass informational campaigns of animal advocates. The situation in the Russian regions has been analyzed; it is shown that downsizing stray animals is possible only with the participation of the authorities. In Moscow, for example, dog catching with subsequent destruction was stopped after repeated appeals of animal advocates to the authorities in 1999. In Obninsk, the authorities implement only the external signs of democracy, trying not to interfere as much as possible. In local media one is improbable to find any materials on behalf of representatives of the administration, up to the moment of publication of official documents. At the same time, real attempts at democratization have been revealed: in part, the authorities still allow public participation in decision-making, and their activities become more intense only when the demands of various strata of the population are broadcast by non-governmental organizations, for as long as one year and more.


executive system, animalists, non-governmental organizations, the administration of the city, impact of citizens on decision making process


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