Spring 2017

From Boom to Bust: Hardship, Mobilization & Russia’s Social Contract

Author
Samuel A. Greene
Abstract
How and why loyal Russian citizens – who make up more than 80 percent of the adult population – come to find themselves on the barricades is something of a puzzle. Rather, the ability of the Russian system to maintain political stability in the face of prolonged economic hardships depends on Russia’s “social contract”: a peculiarly disengaged relationship between Russian citizens and their state. Though Russian citizens clearly understand the failings of the political system and leadership, their inactivity and antipathy toward the country’s ruling elite reflect decades of institutional dysfunction. Samuel A. Greene suggests that this could lead to an increase of grassroots protest movements, but questions whether reactive civic mobilization can lead to a proactive process of bottom-up agenda setting.
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