Protest and the Politics of Blame
The Russian Response to Unpaid Wages
Publication Year: 2003
Published by: University of Michigan Press
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List of Figures
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List of Tables
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Four institutions were indispensable in bringing this book to fruition. First, I thank the Office of Research at the U.S. State Department (formerly the U.S. Information Agency). I collected the data during my time as a social science research analyst with the office, and I benefited tremendously from the supportive and energetic leadership of Steven Grant, Ann...
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It is December 1998, and Vadim and Natasha Stanev have not received a full salary on a regular basis since 1992. Both are employed—they work at the Kosfo shoe factory in Kostroma in Russia’s Volga region—but they are often not paid. Like other workers at the factory, they are owed several months of back wages. The Stanevs’ expenses include food, clothing, a seventy ruble (four...
Chapter 1. Why Blame Attribution Matters for Protest
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Why do some individuals and groups address their grievances through collective action, while others endure their situation passively? One explanation rests on the complexity of the grievance. If a grievance is complicated, having numerous causes and numerous potential problem solvers, it is difficult to single out any one cause or remedy and to channel demands...
Chapter 2. Wage Arrears in Russia: A Difficult Issue
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What happened to the missing fifty-five trillion rubles in wage arrears? Why have Russian workers not been getting paid regularly? These are huge and difficult questions that have puzzled even economists specializing in Russian affairs. Since the 1990s, Desai and Idson have tackled the problem with numerous working papers and a book, Work without...
Chapter 3. Whom Russians Blame for Wage Arrears
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Given the complexities of the wage arrears crisis and the numerous parties who have allegedly contributed to it, how have Russians sorted through all this information and figured out whom or what to blame? Can Russians sort through all this information and figure out whom or what to blame? We may infer from the literatures on social psychology and economic voting...
Chapter 4. The Politics of Blame
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Ordinary Russians have varied not only in their opinions about the cause of wage, pension, and stipend delays but also in whether they have identified a cause at all. Some have attributed blame for the arrears crisis with great precision and conviction, and some have not. These differences have played an important role politically. Those Russians who have most...
Chapter 5. Alternative Explanations for the Russian Response to Wage Arrears
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An explanation about the difficulty of blame attribution is not the one most commonly offered to explain Russian responses to the wage arrears crisis. Most explanations instead focus on the economic, psychological, cultural, and organizational obstacles that have prevented Russian workers from acting collectively. Such explanations therefore address only half...
Chapter 6. Implications
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The Russian public has considered the wage arrears crisis one of the biggest problems—if not the single biggest problem—facing the country, yet only a minority of those experiencing arrears have mobilized to protest the situation. Instead, most Russians have endured the situation without taking any political action. Their reaction confounds the expectations of...
Appendix A. How the Survey Was Conducted
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Appendix B. Survey Questions
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Page Count: 312
Illustrations: 35 drawings, 27 tables
Publication Year: 2003
Series Title: Interests, Identities, and Institutions