ISSN 2219-5467 THE MONITORING OF PUBLIC OPINION: economic&social changes

No5-6 (September-December) 2003;

Issued 6 times a year. 11th year of publication


To the Reader
Analysis and Interpretation

Vladimir V. Petukhov “Social and Political Activity of the Russians: Major Trends”
Iosif Ye. Diskin “Modernization of Russian Society and Social Capital”
Alexander L. Arefyev, Natalia M. Berdyklycheva “Street Children in Post-Soviet Russia”
Leonid P. Verevkin “Obstacles to the Small Business Development: Opinion of the Businessmen”
Andrei Yu. Ashkerov, Marina G. Pugacheva “Russian Managers and Globalization”

Books to Be Published

D. Held, A. MacGrew, L. Goldblatt, J. Perraton “Global Transformations: Politics, Economics and Culture” (Stanford, California, 1999; Russian translation – M., “Praksis”, 2004)


Valery Fedorov, Director General of VCIOM, speaks in his introductory article about the new challenging task of changing the concept of the “Monitoring” journal by expanding the range of authors and topics. This will enable it to become a leading Russian academic journal in sociological sphere, on pages of which young and prominent sociologists from ex-Soviet Union and foreign schools of science will be able to exchange views on various matters and to share the results of their research.

Vladimir Petukhov in his article “Social and Political Activity of the Russians: Major Trends” bases his article on the results of sociological polls conducted by VCIOM and the Institute for Complex Social Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2003. He analyzes the attitude of the Russians towards key rights and freedoms declared in the Constitution and the level of participation of citizens in political activities. He also assesses the use of various means of public influence on the authorities and the mechanisms employed to defend the interests. “Do the results of the polls allow us to speak about realistic prospects for the establishment of the civil society in Russia?” he asks.

Iosif Diskin in “Modernization of Russian Society and Social Capital” reviews the link between socioeconomic development of the country and the existing institutional deficit. In this connection, the author studies the problem of interaction between formal and informal institutional norms in the context of institutional changes. He indicates that the key problem of modernization is the provision of cultural authorization for the nominal institutional norms to be incorporated. The article presents various strategies to that end. As a theoretical mechanism for the integration of socio-cultural factors in economic analysis, the author suggests the theory of social capital. The major ways for increasing the national social capital are the overcoming of the double standards in socioeconomic life, the use of various ethical norms in the immediate environment and in impersonal institutional environment.

Alexander Arefyev and Natalia Berdyklycheva argue in “Street Children in Post-Soviet Russia” that “the lack of true statistics on street children in Russia (their number, age, sex, national and regional structure, duration of begging, etc.) does not enable the researchers to make a representative model of the sample and extrapolate the conclusions on street children en gros. Therefore, we had to limit the research tasks for the study conducted in February-March 2003 by the Center for Sociological Studies of the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation (headed by F. Sherega) with the participation of the authors. We studied only the characteristics measured within the interviews and applicable to demonstrate steady trends, as well as to make evident the reasons for the existence of such phenomenon, as street children. These are the migration trends, the duration of homelessness of teenagers and kids, the motivation for becoming street children, the relationship within the groups and mechanisms of integration into groups, health conditions and way of life, forms of deviation, illiteracy level, family structure, expectations of the grownups, values and plans for the future.”

Leonid Verevkin in his commentary “Obstacles to the Small Business Development: Opinion of the Businessmen” states, “To assess the prospects for the development of small business in Russia, the Center for Social Forecasts held the all-Russia study in February-March 2003 in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Northern, Central, Central Chernozemny, Volgo-Vyatsky, North Caucasus, Urals, Western Siberian and Eastern Siberian territorial economic districts. The polls covered 1,200 experts – heads of small businesses of 14 sectors (industry and commerce). The selection of leaders was based on quota sample and statistics on the number of small enterprises in Russia (according to profiles of their activities).”

Andrei Ashkerov and Marina Pugacheva in “Russian Managers and Globalization” argue that “The purpose of the article, whose authors analyze the results of the study “Social Profile of the Russian Manager” conducted by a Center of Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (“SocioExpress”) in 2003, is to find out what a new generation of Russian managers think about globalization. Quite often managers are labeled by experts as “agents of globalization”. So two major questions were selected and they relate to the major characteristics of globalization – world market and world society. The first question deals with Russia’s intentions to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), while the second covers the substance of the changes caused by globalization.”

In the “Books to Be Published” section, we publish excerpts of D. Held, A. MacGrew, L. Goldblatt, J. Perraton “Global Transformations: Politics, Economics and Culture” (Stanford, California, 1999). Its Russian translation should be ready and come out in “Praksis” publishing house in 2004. The book studies the most typical arguments set forth by proponents of three key schools – hyper-globalists, skeptics, and transformists. Each school tries to understand and explain the globalization and assess this social phenomenon.

The “Information” section contains some results of the public opinion poll held on November 15-16, 2003. This monthly all-Russia poll involved 1,600 respondents in 100 points in 39 regions of the country. Interviews were held house-by-house with the deviation not exceeding 3.4%.

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