In the 1990s, independent scholarship in Russian social sciences received significant support from the West, but since 2000 has faced increasing difficulties. In her presentation, the speaker will briefly describe the development of the non-profit sector and its relationship with academia from the founding of the Soviet state until today, paying particular attention to social sciences and social policy analysis. She then focuses on the new “Foreign Agents” law, which meanwhile has affected numerous Russian NGOs. The survival of important independent research facilities established over the last decades is threatened by the government’s deep suspicion of Western influence. This restricts the possibilities to include Russia in comparative research and impedes cooperation between Russian and international social scientists.
Elena Iarskaya-Smirnova is Professor of Sociology at the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow. Currently she is a guest at the IWM.