Social Inequalities in Modern Russia: Problems and Perspectives
Director Institute of Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences Moscow, Russia
Problems of social inequalities are very important to present-day Russia. Results of sociological survey conducted by the Institute of Sociology (Russian Academy of Sciences) let us to conclude that Russians are discontent not so much with some casual social inequalities, but with a new system of socio-economical relations (including distribution of property and incomes), inconsistency between peoples? social and professional statuses and level of their social expectations. It looks like that part of poor Russians will rather increase than decrease in the nearest future, because they will exhaust their resources and social nets of support and will not be able to overcome crisis. At the same time social inequalities manifest themselves in different quality of some separate life aspects, Russians? socio-psychological state and state of health, available opportunities and adaptation strategies. Different types of residence, age discrimination, educational differences turned out to be the most important inequality factors. It?s an obvious tendency toward further increase in inequality, since quality of life improves mostly for those already well-off. There are objective reasons of above inequalities as well as of impossibility to improve state of unfortunate strata, such as low level of education, lack of skills, necessary for advantageous employment at labor market. Therefore, state social policy, focused on tempering inequalities, should be pointed to developing opportunities in the sphere of human capital building-up. Social inequalities have an effect on traditional practices of mutual support which are an important additional survival resource. Thus, in respect of the poorest strata it?s possible to speak about social exclusion: their representatives either lack for social capital, or it is manifestly insufficient. Despite the fact that informal social networks are very important from the standpoint of survival, approximately 20 percent of Russian population are fully deprived of any social capital. Another very dangerous tendency is that of step-by-step exclusion of needy (and especially poor) people from the most significant types of multifunctional interchanges of social capital as well as functioning of social networks for the sake of the most unsophisticated types of support in case the matter concerns the most underprovided people.