chapter  7
11 Pages

Why No Social Democracy in Russia?

ByBertram Silverman, Murray Yanowitch

Russia has become a more open society with more limited state control over its citizens. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the transformation of Russian society are part of a devolutionary rather than a revolutionary process. This distinction provides a better way of understanding the continuities as well as the changes in Russia's particular road to capitalism, and helps explain why social democracy has had little opportunity to take root in Russia. The devolutionary process is vividly described by Russians as resembling "a sudden shotgun blast that causes all the crows to fly up out of the tree, hover for a time to look around, and then quietly resettle, though sometimes on different branches." In Russia, the state has been unable and unwilling to reduce social distress and inequality in the distribution of income and wealth. The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia, the successor of the former communist-led confederation, is the largest worker organization.