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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
This article builds upon nationwide studies and analyzes Russians’ demand for a specific type of social and economic development, as well as their expectations from the government’s social and economic policy. Public policy does, without a doubt, influence the direction and nature of transformation processes in the country, but the general populace is no less important as a social actor. The consistency (or lack thereof) between the policy and the people’s expectations determines both the level of social stability and the efficiency of the government’s efforts. Therefore, it is important to study what the people demand from the nation’s development overall and social policy in particular, because implementing efficient social policy measures is only possible when such demands are seen and understood. The article presents the results of analyzing the data collected during the nationwide representative surveys that were carried out by the RAS Institute of Sociology in 2005, 2006, and 2010. These surveys reveal that Russians tend to expect the government to make a more or less active contribution to all aspects of community life, as reflected in their concepts of an ideal society and the corresponding government functions. The population is showing a sustainable interest in a government that is more involved in the economy, although the popularity of such a model has shrunk somewhat over the past 10 years. Respondents also believe that the government’s role in the social sphere should also be evident and decisive. That said, most Russians suggest that the government provide everyone with an equal bare minimum, while in order to achieve something more than that minimum, everyone must fend for themselves. This concept is quite prevalent and has consistently been most typical of the Russian mindset over the latter years. At the same time, the demands for social and economic development paths are very diverse, and Russia is home to coexisting population groups with dramatically different expectations. These expectations concern the role of the government in the economic and social spheres as well as the country’s future development model.
social policy, economic policy, socio-economic development.