Woman, Man, Family in Russia: the Last Third of the 20th Century. Project «Taganrog»

On March 1, 2002 a new book «Woman, Man, Family in Russia: the Last Third of the 20th Century. Project «Taganrog> was presented to the public at the Institute for Socio-Economic Studies of Population, RAS. This monograph provides the outcomes of a long-term research project «Taganrog». Over the period of 33 years a group of researchers conducted a quasi-longitudinal survey of the conditions, standards, modes and quality of life of the Russian people in a big industrial centre Taganrog located on the Azov coast. The project was launched in the 60s and finished in 2000. It covered the times of the post-Khrushchev «thaw», Brezhnev «stagnation», Gorbachev «perestroyka» and Yeltsin destruction. The project is unique both in the national and world social science by the historic retrospective, by the depth and comprehensiveness of the study of social developments and their impact on people’s life. Professor Natalia Rimashevskaya, Head of the project and Editor of the presented monograph, addressed the audience with the following words:

Dear friends and colleagues!

Our long-lasting research in Taganrog has come to a completion. It lasted neither more nor less than 33 years. Now it is time to sum it up. And there is a good reason for it — a book providing the results of our research has just come out of press, marking both the completion of our work and the close of the century and the millennium.

The project history was rather dramatic, and the study was accomplished only owing to the selfless work of our researchers. Regrettably, some of them have already passed away — Levon Onikov, Leonid Gordon, Marina Mozhina, Lyudmila Levkova, Alexander Levin. May they rest in peace. The project team was rather large. The number of active participants over the period of work amounted to 50. We are grateful to Andrey Zdravomyslov and Boris Grushin, who contributed to the discussion of the research programmes and instruments, and to all those who rendered assistance in our work, particularly those in Taganrog.

Beginning of our study dates back to the mid-60s. At the same time were launched two other sociological surveys devoted to the analysis of the social structure (headed by L. Gordon and E. Klopov) and examination of public opinion (headed by B. Grushin). Our project was carried out in 5 stages: we conducted comprehensive surveys of population well-being in the late 60s, in the late 70s, in the late 80s, in the mid- and late 90s.

The research was conducted in the real time regime. And it was difficult to plan the future stages. Actually, every subsequent survey emerged partly spontaneous. But it is highly important, that we managed to apply the same methodology and even tried to improve it in the course of research.

The research was conducted in the real time regime. And it was difficult to plan the future stages. Actually, every subsequent survey emerged partly spontaneous. But it is highly important, that we managed to apply the same methodology and even tried to improve it in the course of research.

What was the object of research? It can be defined as the living conditions and vital activities of population assessed at the micro-level, at the level of family. Hence, the title of the book: «Woman, Man, Family».

Unfortunately, it is not common practice in the humanities to discuss priorities. However, I would like to note three most important results of the Taganrog studies:

— we made a system complex description of the population vital activities, covering all their spheres (from employment to informatisation) and filling up all niches;

— we succeeded in co-ordinating the evaluation of the living standards at the macro- and micro-levels, that allowed us to reveal and estimate shadow incomes in the early 70s. By the way, they accounted for 10% of wage fund at that time. Nowadays this methodology is used for estimating the number of the rich and very rich groups of population;

— the main result is obtained in the field of dynamic comparisons — we compared the present times and the past. The first two stages of the study were conducted in the Soviet times, the third one — during the «perstroika», and the two last — in our times of market transformations.

There were many radical changes in the society, but the main changes concerned the ideology and practice of the social policy.

In that bygone times people lived under a very rigid system, still it provided more or less satisfactory living conditions for almost all population. The authorities closed and classified the information, issuing it for office use only, but they had a strict control over the social polarisation. Now the national wealth has been grabbed by a small group of population, and most of the people have to struggle for survival as they can.

* * *

Particularly important are the methodological results of the study, relating to collection of the budget statistics. Owing to the Taganrog studies, our official statistical observations came over to territorial principle of data selection. Now it remains to replace the current budget observations by rotation ones.

It should be noted, that the famous RLMS also takes root in the Taganrog studies. Regretfully, our history is often regarded from a nihilistic point of view.

Social sciences are usually said to be unclaimed. I do not quite agree with it.

When glancing over the panorama of the Taganrog studies against the background of the actual social processes, you get a positive response to the question about the implications of our research. It is just a matter of time. Usually, the ideas proposed by researchers are not accepted immediately, but after the expiration of some time «practical workers» discover them for themselves. It is a pity, that implementation is lagging behind, but it is rather difficult to change the situation. Our authorities are very slow in making use of the ideas produced by scholars. Not all the Taganrog findings were accepted right away, some of them were admitted several years later, and some others are still waiting for their time to come.

Thus, the idea of gender stereotypes in the society was formulated at the very beginning of the study, then it was almost forgotten, and in the late 80s is rose like a Phoenix from its ashes. And now the Ministry of Labour is working in this field.

Another idea — measuring individual health potential and factors determining it also proved to be very productive. It is now used as the basis for assessment of the Russian population quality.

So, our work was called for in the past, is being called for now and will be called for in the future, but not straight away.

One more example concerns the pension reform. We made our first proposals for the pension reform on the basis of the Taganrog findings in the mid-70s. But these ideas were taken into consideration only 10 years later (in the mid-80s).

A number of models constructed on the basis of the Taganrog studies are waiting for implementation. Among them are: models for distribution of incomes and wages; models for consumer behaviour typology; models for family development cycles under the conditions of transition economy.

This list could be enlarged. But it seems more useful to sum up the obtained results and stress that over the long period we studied so wide and deep layers of social life and their interdependence, that now we can easily monitor their changes and assess the development of social processes.

It is difficult to find a segment of social life that was not touched upon in the Taganrog studies.

A large scientific school of researchers in the field of population studies has emerged from the Taganrog project. These researchers are working across the world: in the USA, Canada, France, Sweden, in all former Soviet republics. Not to mention Moscow.

Tens of candidates and doctors of sciences defended their dissertations on the project results.

* * *

Tens of candidates and doctors of sciences defended their dissertations on the project results.

The third stage was conducted with financial support of the U. S. Bureau of the Census, and we express our gratitude to Barbara Torrey.

The fourth and fifth stages were financed by the TACIS programme and by our Swedish colleagues. We are very grateful to them.

Special thanks to the Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation) that gave us a possibility to publish this book.

The results of the first stage were not published.

The findings of the second one were presented in two books.

The outcomes of the third and fourth stages were published in the largest number of copies.

And at last the new results have come out of press.

We would like to thank once again all our sponsors.


Of course, the potential of our long-lasting work has not been completely realized, and the Taganrog materials are permanently giving rise to new ideas.

I address the young: make good use of the Taganrog experience in your studies, examine the information and methods. It is a fount of knowledge.

It may be expedient to introduce special courses of lectures on the methodology, organization, instruments and the outcomes of the Taganrog survey. It may be useful to hold a conference on the Taganrog project and compare its results with the results of other surveys and studies.

* * *

But it is time to finish my speech. Today is our big day, and we are glad to greet all those who have come to share our joy.

-------------GENDER RESEARCH

Families rearing children with disabilities: their socio-economic position

Raising children with disabilities is one of the acute problems in our society. During the reformation, the state policies concerning the position of disabled people have given priority to their social rehabilitation comprising a system of measures aimed at their social integration and participation in community life. The article considers the inter-relation between the social and economic position of families with disabled children and the possibilities for their rehabilitation. The outcomes of a case study conducted by the author show that most of these families are in a disastrous economic position, since they have to spend considerable sums of money on medical services to their disabled children. At the same time, poverty is restricting the possibility to provide their children with a proper treatment and ensure a successful rehabilitation.


Problems of sterility and birth rate

The article deals with the problems of population reproduction and growth in Russia. Russian demographic development (dynamics of population growth and depopulation) has been influenced by a number of factors, including reproductive patterns and traditions of family planning. Last years were marked by negative demographic trends. State policies aimed at improvement of the situation in this sphere have produced no results. Still there are some examples of effective measures giving hope for positive changes in the future.


Alexander N. Averin
Russia in the international migration

The author analyses the international migration (including that resulting from the disintegration the USSR), its main causes, flows, types and scale. He gives a special consideration to the qualitative characteristics of the emigration and immigration processes in Europe and Russia, problems of migrants' job placement, probability of migration’s negative consequences and social tension in some regions, particularly in regions bordering upon Kazakhstan and China. He also examines the measures for national and international regulation of migration flows.

------------- RUSSIAN REGIONS

Reproductive labour in gender economics: a regional aspect

The article deals with reproductive labour connected with caring for the present and future labour force and human race on the whole. Reproductive labour comprises all works concerning attendance, pre-school education, teaching and early socialization of children. Involvement of reproductive labour into economics through balancing gender relations is an effective means for overcoming negative tendencies in economics. The article proposes methods for balancing gender relations, mechanism for including reproduction into economics and considers its regional aspects.


Vyacheslav G. Smol’kov
Ways for settling labour conflicts

The article deals with historic and current preconditions for emergence of social partnership in the Russian Federation and European countries. It describes such partnership as both struggle and co-operation at the same time, as one of the manifestations of a pluralistic democracy. The author defines the subjects of social partnership, shows the contradictory character of their relations, the mechanism of attaining consensus between them, that is necessary for a state stability.

Conflict: its social dimension

The author considers the changes in the relations between various social groups forming the basis of society. She analyses the differences and contradictions between these groups, giving rise to social conflicts. She gives classification of social conflicts, considers the possibilities for their neutralization and management, for prevention of their most destructive after-effects. Management of social conflicts can be based on a contemporary approach to the role of entrepreneur (capitalist) and employed worker in the process of production, their significance both for production and social development, on the rising role of intellectual work and managerial technologies.