We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE
OR

Protest and the Politics of Blame

The Russian Response to Unpaid Wages

Debra Javeline

Publication Year: 2003

The wage arrears crisis has been one of the biggest problems facing contemporary Russia. At its peak, it has involved some $10 billion worth of unpaid wages and has affected approximately 70 percent of the workforce. Yet public protest in the country has been rather limited. The relative passivity of most Russians in the face of such desperate circumstances is a puzzle for students of both collective action and Russian politics. In Protest and the Politics of Blame, Debra Javeline shows that to understand the Russian public's reaction to wage delays, one must examine the ease or difficulty of attributing blame for the crisis. Previous studies have tried to explain the Russian response to economic hardship by focusing on the economic, organizational, psychological, cultural, and other obstacles that prevent Russians from acting collectively. Challenging the conventional wisdom by testing these alternative explanations with data from an original nationwide survey, Javeline finds that many of the alternative explanations come up short. Instead, she focuses on the need to specify blame among the dizzying number of culprits and potential problem solvers in the crisis, including Russia's central authorities, local authorities, and enterprise managers. Javeline shows that understanding causal relationships drives human behavior and that specificity in blame attribution for a problem influences whether people address that problem through protest. Debra Javeline is Assistant Professor of Political Science, Rice University.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF (25.5 KB)
pp. vii-viii

List of Figures

pdf iconDownload PDF (24.8 KB)
pp. ix-x

List of Tables

pdf iconDownload PDF (24.1 KB)
pp. xi-

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF (30.1 KB)
pp. xiii-xv

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...

read more

Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF (73.7 KB)
pp. 1-11

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...

read more

Chapter 1. Why Blame Attribution Matters for Protest

pdf iconDownload PDF (166.7 KB)
pp. 13-51

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...

read more

Chapter 2. Wage Arrears in Russia: A Difficult Issue

pdf iconDownload PDF (178.2 KB)
pp. 53-95

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...

read more

Chapter 3. Whom Russians Blame for Wage Arrears

pdf iconDownload PDF (150.1 KB)
pp. 97-128

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...

read more

Chapter 4. The Politics of Blame

pdf iconDownload PDF (158.8 KB)
pp. 129-159

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...

read more

Chapter 5. Alternative Explanations for the Russian Response to Wage Arrears

pdf iconDownload PDF (238.0 KB)
pp. 161-222

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...

read more

Chapter 6. Implications

pdf iconDownload PDF (90.6 KB)
pp. 223-242

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

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.6 KB)
pp. 243-245

Appendix B. Survey Questions

pdf iconDownload PDF (70.5 KB)
pp. 247-265

References

pdf iconDownload PDF (83.5 KB)
pp. 267-283

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF (35.9 KB)
pp. 285-291


E-ISBN-13: 9780472024773
E-ISBN-10: 0472024779
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472113064
Print-ISBN-10: 0472113062

Page Count: 312
Illustrations: 35 drawings, 27 tables
Publication Year: 2003

Series Title: Interests, Identities, and Institutions

Recommend

UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Social psychology -- Russia (Federation).
  • Social surveys -- Russia (Federation).
  • Wages -- Russia (Federation).
  • Blame -- Political aspects -- Russia (Federation).
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access