chapter  3
34 Pages

YOUTH TRANSITIONS IN THE POST-SOVIET CONTEXT

During the Soviet period, all aspects of youth transitions to adulthood were to a

greater or lesser extent structured by some form of state intervention or provi-

sion. Young people progressed through an education system which was closely

integrated with the economy, after which they were expected to pursue careers

within the professions in which they were qualified, and in the jobs to which

they were sent. Housing and accommodation were similarly allocated by state

agencies, both as a form of social provision and as a means of controlling young

people‟s movements. As will be seen, the reality of state-managed youth transitions was far from being „total‟, as young people and their families were often able to find ways around the impositions of the planning system, or forced to

compensate for its deficiencies. However, the extent to which individuals must

manage their own pathways has ostensibly been transformed in the post-Soviet period, as the old structures governing youth transitions have largely been swept

away; young people now make transitions through emerging markets of labour,

education and housing. This chapter draws upon a range of sociological, histori-

cal, economic and policy literatures in order to map the emerging structural and

cultural contexts through which youth transitions are taking place in Russia, and

to examine the ways in which young people have been seen to negotiate them.1

The chapter addresses transitions in work, education, housing and family, and