Against the Grain

When Soviet Welfare Ended

Welfare supports were a fundamental feature of the Soviet Union. But then the USSR collapsed, leaving millions of Russians without either good-paying jobs or state assistance. Marianna Pavlovskaya reveals how Russian families resorted to household and other informal economic practices to cope, adapt, and survive in an era of relentless privatization and neoliberalization.

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  • Robert Mandel

    today’s program on the former Soviet Union was very useful and informative. However, I think it both more productive and accurate not to refer to the social benefits which were the right of every Soviet citizen as “welfare” but exactly as “constitutional rights”. C.S. and his guest made that point a couple of times but still in general used the phrase “welfare”. In capitalist society, and particularly the U.S., “welfare” has the connotation of a handout, of something given to you, of charity rather than as something which is a fundamental right. We want to make it clear that our values, what his guest referred to as ethical morals, specifically are that every human being has the right to a job at a living wage, a free education from k thru college, free and comprehensive health care, free and comprehensive child care, an extensive and free public transportation system as well as a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
    Bob Mandel

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