Vol 24, No 4 (2022): Politics in Russian Regions


Russian Regions in Political Research and Identity Studies: Introducing the Issue

Mchedlova M.M., Sokolov A.V.


The editorial board presents an issue dedicated to the analysis of politics in the regions of Russia. Two interrelated paradigms of the political design of Russia’s regional diversity are to trace - territorial and ethno-national. They have become not only options for state registration of a space diversified by political, economic and ethno-cultural grounds, but also the subject of ideological battles, including assessments and the degree of preference of management strategies and political priorities. In the political and institutional context, the regional dimension of Russia implies an emphasis on the correlation of particular features and universalizing intentions. Such a ratio of the general and the special is included in the subject pool associated with understanding and ensuring the completeness of Russia’s sovereignty.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(4):613-618
pages 613-618 views


The Influence of the Council of Legislators on the Legislative Activity of Regional Parliaments

Pomiguev I.A., Zaripov N.A.


The authors focus on the political implication of the emergence and functioning of the Council of Legislators under the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. Based on several characteristics of the legislative process, such as the speed of adopting bills, the traffic of initiatives and the share of those adopted, as well as the transcripts of the Plenary Sessions of the Council, the authors conduct a comprehensive analysis of the work of this institution, recording and interpreting several changes. Using the theory of Rational Choice Institutionalism (the Veto Player Theory, in particular), the authors show that the platform established in 2012, originally designed for communication between federal and regional parliaments, has over time become a barrier, predetermining the fate of some initiatives. In addition, the institutional environment created by the Council’s actions has changed the very format of regional activity, whereby the original idea of open dialogue has been replaced by expert discussion within the profile commissions, and the outcome of these activities has shifted from legislative initiatives to expert commentaries and recommendations. Another dimension of influence can be traced in the implementation of the bureaucratic logic associated with redirecting and filtering the traffic of regional initiatives through an extra-constitutional structure. Research results allow the authors to take a different view on the legislative activity of the regions at the federal level, as well as draw attention to the political nature of the work of auxiliary institutions and the «rules of the game» they form in the context of the interactions between the Federal Assembly and the regional parliaments.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(4):619-633
pages 619-633 views

The Neighbourhood Effect in Russian Regional Policies: Autocorrelation and Cluster Analysis

Okunev I.Y., Lopatina V.R.


Regional convergence is one of the greatest strategic challenges for the Russian Federation. Socio-economic zoning directly affects the regional policy in Russia, as most administrative and political practices are reproduced within a federal district or an economic region. This study is aimed at identifying steady clusters or, in other words, groups of Russian regions, based on quantitative data on socio-economic development. The study relies on the methods of spatial econometrics. The authors also aim to compare the results of their study to the macro-regions suggested by the Strategy of Regional Development of the Russian Federation and therefore to the current administrative practices. The paper determines 12 clusters continual in space, based on 62 regional development indicators and reflecting the statistical resemblance of the regions within a cluster. The study has not found stable macro-regions of similar values except in Siberia and the Far East. Thus, the authors conclude that addressing the wide range of socio-economic problems based on one standardized grid for dividing the country will likely not lead to success. Therefore, a more asymmetric and multi-level regional policy should be sought. This implies that every ministry responsible for an area of regional development should come up with its own spatial structure of Russia in order to define its targets and the practices required to meet them.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(4):634-650
pages 634-650 views

Construction of the Identity of Russia’s Muslim Regions in the Context of the Emerging All-Russian Identity

Pochta Y.M.


A problem for researchers of modern Russian society is the relationship between the identity of the regions, conditionally called Muslim by the author, with the all-Russian identity. The actualization of the problem of the all-Russian identity in the context of the aggravation of the geopolitical and civilizational conflict between Russia and the collective West leads to the need to analyze the contribution to the reproduction of this identity of various confessions, ethno-national groups, including Muslim regions. Despite a large amount of research, the role of Muslim regions in the formation of a common Russian identity is a highly debatable issue. The purpose of the study is to determine the role of Islam in the formation of regional and all-Russian identity. The study was conducted on the basis of a systematic approach, discourse analysis, narrative approach and social constructivism. As a result of the study, it was revealed that the ruling elites in a number of regions use Islam along with the ethnic factor as a resource legitimizing their power in relations with the federal center and their own population, constructing a regional identity in the context of the socialization and politicization of Islam. The results obtained contribute to the development of ideas about the role of Islam in the formation of an all-Russian identity and to clarify the process of development of federalism in a multinational and multi-confessional Russian society.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(4):651-664
pages 651-664 views

The Spread of the Post-Industrial Islamism in the Russian Federation

Demidenko S.V., Margulis S.B., Fainshmidt R.I.


Radical Islam as a political phenomenon has undergone significant changes during the first decades of the 21st century. This process was accompanied, firstly, by the strengthening unification trends in the ideological field, and secondly, by the development of a specific “Jihadi Cool” subculture that combined the features of the consumer society (modern music, stylish clothes, Islamic merch, youth magazines, etc.) and jihadist agenda. These factors, in combination, form a new version of religious radicalism - post-industrial Islamism, which poses a significant threat to international security. Questions regarding the degree and the nature of post-industrial Islamism in the Russian Federation have not yet been scrutinized in academic literature. The article is the first attempt to understand this problem, which exists in a complex socio-economic and ethno-confessional environment of Russia. The theoretical framework of the study was the works of leading domestic Islamic scholars dealing with the problems of Islamic radicalism. In the indicated paradigm, the authors made an attempt to give their own definition of radical Islam, to identify the characteristic features of the phenomenon, to separate religious extremism from fundamentalism. Work with the empirical base was carried out through the methods of descriptive statistics, as well as the use of qualitative and quantitative content analysis. It was made on the basis of Google Trends data, cross-checked through the Wordstat.yandex system. In conclusion, the team of authors came to conclusions regarding the spread of post-industrial Islamism in Russia. There is an increase in the activity of radicals in the Internet space, their work to expand the base of support for the movement, based on knowledge of the algorithms of social networks. Also, elements of the ‘jihadi cool’ have been identified too. It is important to note that all the trends listed above originated outside the Russian Federation and were borrowed by the radicals. In general, this only confirms the idea of the peripheral nature of Russian Islamic radicalism, which throughout its history has been an alien element on the national ethno-cultural environment.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(4):665-685
pages 665-685 views


Transforming the Interaction Between Authorities and Civil Society in Digital: The Evidence from the Yaroslavl Region

Sokolov A.V., Isaeva E.A.


The development of information and communication technologies contributes to the creation and active use of various digital services and platforms in the public sphere of interaction between government and society. However, the conditions of their interaction in the digital space, especially at the regional level, have not been sufficiently studied and require close attention. In this regard, the article analyzes the processes of digitalization of electoral procedures, institutions of public chambers and public councils, the activities of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and volunteerism as forms of interaction between government and society. Empirical data were collected in a number of studies: analysis of the activities of resource centers for supporting NGOs and civil activists; analysis of the activity of public chambers on the Internet; identification of state regulation of the digitalization process of key forms of public activity; surveys of employees of public authorities of the Yaroslavl region; surveys of managers and employees of non-profit organizations of the Yaroslavl region.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(4):686-710
pages 686-710 views

Managing an “Unfinished Project”: Analyzing the Elites of Perm Krai Through the Lens of Expert Opinion

Kazarinova D.B.


Perm Krai and the socio-political processes taking place in it are in many ways typical of Russia, and therefore of interest to a wide audience of researchers and political analysts. Based on the theoretical constructions of international elites studies and the Perm School of Political Science and elitology, we study the political and business elites of the region, their political behavior, aspects of identity, as well as the most politically sensitive topics in the life of the region. Relying primarily on the literature analysis and subsequent own semi-standardized in-depth interviews (N10) with representatives of regional elites - the following results were obtained. The identity of the elites and everymen in Perm region is somewhat vague, associated with the neutral notion of geographical region of the Kama region. Liberalism in the economic sphere and a relatively stable inter-elite consensus in the political sphere, based on technocracy, are characteristic of the region’s policy for some decades. The region is characterized by a low socio-political dynamics compared to the benchmark regions of the Urals and Siberia, due to lack of regionally oriented elites and businesses and the predominance of various kinds of “Varangians” in the political class. The socio-political and cultural landscape of the region (the Perm Cultural Project) becomes a starting place and a source of supplies for the elites, receiving back very little. Thus, the region remains a promising project that cannot be realized in any way.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(4):711-731
pages 711-731 views

The Russian Identity in Southern Siberian Republics: Transformation Dynamics and Basis Perception According to the Opinion Polls of 2013-2019

Aksiutin Y.M.


The structure of the identity of Russians (including those in Southern Siberia) began to transform after the collapse of the Soviet Union, which resulted in the revival of ethnic identities or the strengthening of different local and territorial ones. The first case was typical for titular Russian ethnic groups, while Russians didn’t have such an evident option. The Russians mostly levelled their identities down and could not find themselves among the vague new Russian identity. The beginning of the 2010s was characterized by not only discussions of the content of Russian identity and the basis for national policy, but also huge generation changes. The purpose of this article is to analyze the dynamics of Russian identity and discover typical features of Russian identity bases among the inhabitants of Khakassia, Tyva and Altai Republics. The analysis is based on opinion polls held in these polyethnocultural regions. As seen from the poll results, about 30 % consider themselves to be inhabitants of Russia. Russian identity is of high priority for people in Khakassia and Altai Republics (it is the first grade in their identities’ structure), while in the Tyva Republic Russian and regional identities are equal. The study discovered that 35-45 % of titular ethnic groups marked Russian citizenship as the basis of their identification: hence, the Russian identity is mostly a mixture of civil and state identities (about one-third of respondents noted “civil identity”). Approximately the same proportion of Russians noted the social and cultural nature of Russian identity.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(4):732-756
pages 732-756 views

‘New’ Russian North: The Historical Province Amidst оf Social and Political Problems

Shabaev Y.P.


This article analyzes the nature of colonization processes in the European north of Russia in different eras. Special consideration is given to the problematic nature of modern demographic and social processes and their ethno-cultural component. Significant attention is paid to the analysis of the nature of the social and cultural development in the European North in previous eras and to the rethinking of existing interpretations of the process of the socialist industrialization in this area. It is demonstrated that from the standpoint of the general sociological approach, this industrialization cannot be viewed as a process of modernization, and therefore it would be more correct to speak of the next stage of colonization, the penal one. In the late Soviet period, a transition to a new model of the regional development took place. However, this new model presupposed neither the civil integration nor the formation of rooted societies. Strong rooted territorial communities with a clearly defined identity have not formed in the northern republics and oblasts. It is shown that there is an urgent need to form a new model for the development of the European north, using both the resource of cultural heritage and modern approaches to the formation of the industrial and social environment. In addition, the need for a large-scale renewal of the regional political elites as well as the very principles of their formation is becoming more and more obvious. The work uses comparative historical and ethnographic methods, the provisions of migration theory, the statistical and sociological methods (mass polls), as well as political and sociological approaches to understanding social conflict. As for the political science approaches, the article is based on the provisions of rational choice theory.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(4):757-778
pages 757-778 views

Protest and Trust in the Volgograd Region: Peculiarities of the Regional System of Political Communication

Pankratov S.A., Makarenko K.M.


The institutionalization of public space in the subjects of the Russian Federation is characterized by the alignment of regional systems of political communication, which have both common basic structural elements and specific parameters determined by several factors and conditions. The article analyzes the emergence and development of the system of political communication between the institutions of regional power (primarily the executive power) and citizens in the Volgograd Region amidst the growing influence of global problems (such as the spread of COVID-19), the conduct of the special military operation in Ukraine, international sanctions against Russia, etc. At the same time, the novelty of the authors’ approach lies not so much in the study of the information and communication openness in the regional politics, but in identifying the nature of civil and political trust between the leading actors of communication in the Volgograd Region. Combining the action and political-communicative approaches allowed the authors to build a methodological strategy for the analysis of institutional and non-institutional actors of regional public policy that have different resources affecting the level and dynamics of mutual trust in the communication process. The paper argues that at present both the political activity, including the protest of the population, and the ability to reproduce sustainable and stable development are largely depending on the level of mutual trust between the regional authorities and the citizens. The authors attempt to identify the dominant factors that determine the vectors of trust and confrontation in the regional system of political communications.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(4):779-794
pages 779-794 views

Factors of Influence of the Regional Political Elite in Modern Russia: Evidences from St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region

Popova O.V.


The relevance of the research project is determined by the dominant role of elite groups in modern Russian politics. The opportunity and ability of the elite to solve topical social issues to a large extent depend on the degree of their influence. The article presents the results of an expert study in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region (late November to early December 2021). Representatives of the regional political elite themselves, as well as “key informants” acted as experts. The technology for collecting expert information included a set of qualitative and quantitative methods (methods of grouping data with an estimate of the average values of the variation series and dispersion measures, as well as multidimensional scaling, factorial and cluster analysis). The evaluation was carried out on 22 parameters. In St. Petersburg, six factors are associated with the strategies used by the authorities to strengthen their influence: the conditions of general and political socialization; dominant communication strategies of politicians based on the type of their leadership; economic resources; informal grounds for political career related to the politicians’ families; cultivation of clientelism, atypical for a metropolis; the regional elite having work experience in other areas, in addition to public administration and public policy. The politicians themselves are mostly attracted to three image types: a) a productive political “heavyweight”, belonging to a clan by birthright or “overgrown” with economic and informal ties, including with “shadow structures”, who has real economic opportunities to influence the situation in the region; b) a “political tribune”, who actively communicates with the population and relies on cultivating a stable positive attitude towards themselves among the inhabitants of the region; c) an “insider”, connected with the region by their destiny and having stable political views. The study showed that in St. Petersburg, public communicative activity online and offline is not a significant condition for strengthening the “political weight” of a politician; belonging to a clan (family, friend group, professional clan) is much more important. Experts deny that accentuated masculine or feminine behaviour patterns of politicians in St. Petersburg are a significant factor in strengthening their influence. In the Leningrad Region, the configuration of the latent factors influencing the significance of politicians is different. The most important factors include the following: the channel and method of politician’s recruitment to power; the activity of personal information policy on the Internet; the presence of social, human and status capital through birth in a certain family or effective interaction with certain influential regional groups; an accentuated demonstration of personal resources; the presence of real leadership qualities; control over economic resources in the region. Five dominant types of politicians were identified in terms of the various qualities exploited by them and demonstrated to the public. The importance of the ability of politicians to large-scale, strategic thinking in solving regional problems and the accentuated gender type of behaviour in public politics was confirmed.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(4):795-826
pages 795-826 views


Higher Education as a Resource for Regional Development: The Case of Krasnodar

Rakachev V.N., Morozova E.V.


One of the main intangible resources, along with regional and local identity, is human capital. Multiplying human capital is one of the main functions of the education system, including higher education. The theoretical framework of the study is defined by the concept of responsible development (I.S. Semenenko), the theories of “triple helix”, “preceding events” (path dependence) of P. David and “track of dependence”. The empirical base is represented by the results of a sociological study, held among students of Krasnodar universities in June 2022. As part of comprehensive analysis, documents of regional authorities and administration, and data from federal and regional statistics were used. The Krasnodar Krai was initially formed and integrated as an agricultural region; thus, the system of higher education focused largely on training specialists for agriculture and related industries. Structural transformations that began in the 1990s changed the region’s vector of development. The rapid progress of the resort and recreational industry, and enterprises of the tertiary sector influenced both intra-regional and inter-regional migration. The universities of the Krasnodar Krai are attractive to educational migrants from other regions of the country - from both the neighbouring Southern Russia regions and the north-eastern regions. At the same time, from the point of view of global competitiveness, the region has systemic problems in the development of human capital, innovation, and space. The authors focus on the educational trajectories of students, the reasons for their choice of Krasnodar as education destination, satisfaction with the quality of educational services, the degree and forms of social activities, as well as further life and professional plans. The authors identified three contradictions in the current state of the region’s higher education system, without the resolution of which it will be impossible to convert human capital into a real factor of regional development. These are the contradictions between the significantly growing population of the region and the reduction in the number of students, between the needs of the labour market of the “knowledge economy” and the structure of specialists’ training, and between the governmental trend for the development of rural areas and the lack of motivation among university graduates to work in rural municipalities. The article formulates several proposals for resolving these contradictions.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(4):827-855
pages 827-855 views

Leaders and Wingmen: Youth Policy in the Views of its Participants - an Evidence from Krasnodar Territory

Samarkina I.V., Miroshnichenko I.V., Maltsev S.S.


The article presents the results of a study of young people’s perceptions of regional youth policy. The authors use the theoretical model of the subjective space of politics to analyze empirical data reflecting the state of the subjective space of sectoral policy - the state youth policy of the Krasnodar Krai. The main motives of youth activity in regional youth policy are determined based on the data from a mass survey of young people, focus group interviews and a series of expert sessions with representatives of authorities and other entities implementing state youth policy. The article reveals the constructive and negative potential of young people’s social activity, as well as identifies the main social profiles of young people and describes their content parameters. The authors conclude that young people are involved in interactions with the authorities to solve their own problems or the problems of other people. They show that social projects, territorial development projects, the activities of political parties and local self-government have the biggest potential for involving young people in social activity. They also note the existing potential of young people’s participation in protests. The authors describe the profiles of young people according to two parameters: according to the severity of social orientation young people are divided into consumers (orientation towards themselves, solving their own problems) and transformers (orientation towards solving other people’s problems); and according to the degree of leadership positions and social activity they are characterized as leaders and followers.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(4):856-882
pages 856-882 views

The Perception of Regional History and of the Great Patriotic War by the Youth of the Kaliningrad Region in the Context of the Attitude to the Figure of Joseph Stalin

Krishtal M.I.


The article is devoted to the study of the historical memory of young people in the Kaliningrad Region. According to the hypothesis of the study, the specificity of its content depends on the respondents’ attitude to Stalin, around whose personality there are manipulations aimed at reducing the role of the Red Army in Second World War. The main method of the study was formalized interviews with young people aged 18-35 (n = 1108). Focus group interviews acted as an auxiliary scientific method that allowed for the interpretation of statistically processed empirical data. The results of the study revealed differences in emotional attitudes toward the end of the Great Patriotic War. The young people who have a negative attitude towards Stalin more often focus on the tragic events of the war, perceiving the 9th May as a day of mourning for the fallen and as a day of remembrance of what the people experienced during the war. Victory in the Great Patriotic War is in the eyes of the majority of young people in the region the main event in Russian history. However, young people who have a negative attitude towards Stalin are much less likely to assess the victory in the same way. This peculiarity is conditioned by family memory - as a rule, Stalin’s opponents more often keep in their memory tragic events in the lives of their relatives during the war. Differences were also found among young people in the Kaliningrad Region with respect to regional history. On the whole, respondents indicated that they were most interested in the Prussian and German periods of history. However, pro-Stalinist young people are also highly interested in the Soviet period. In addition, neutral and pro-Stalinist youths have an overwhelmingly positive attitude toward the renaming of Königsberg into Kaliningrad, while among Stalin’s opponents there is a high proportion of supporters of retaining the historical name (Königsberg).

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(4):883-903
pages 883-903 views

Escape from Politics: Is There a Future for Youth Political Protests in Siberia and the Far East?

Kazantsev D.A.


In the last few years, great attention has been paid to the protest potential of students, especially in the context of the mass protests of 2021-2022, which happened at both federal and regional levels. An important scientific issue, which is of practical importance for public authorities and politicians, is determining the motivations and actualization of the student protest movements, as the most organized segment of the youth environment. Based on the results of 14 focus groups held in 8 border regions of Siberia and the Far East (including the Altai Krai, the Zabaykalsky Krai, the Primorsky Krai and the Khabarovsk Krai, the Omsk Oblast, as well as Tyva, Buryatia and Altai Republics) as well as the analysis of the social media and blogosphere of the mentioned regions, the author suggests that the students experience fears, weariness, and disappointment. However, the factors actualizing the protest moods are highly limited. Actual precedents and threats of criminal prosecution that have been applied to the political activists by the government since 2019, as well as the pressure from the authorities and the socialization agents, lead to the demoralization of the youth and their refusal to participate not only in protests but also in pro-government events.

RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(4):904-917
pages 904-917 views


To Discover the Future: About the Book by Alexander Yanov (2020), “Where Is Russia’s Place in History? The Riddle of Donald Treadgold”. Moscow: New Chronograph, 336 p.

Bubnova N.I.



RUDN Journal of Political Science. 2022;24(4):918-923
pages 918-923 views

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