Youth Migration, Stratification and State Policy in Post-Soviet Russia

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Abstract

In principle, the fall of the Soviet Union brought democratic capitalism to the Russian people. In practice, during the post-Soviet era power elites influence state policies governing social processes like migration to protect their power from democracy and shield their economic status from free market competition. Manipulating policy stalls social mobility and reinforces stratification as many Russian migrants, most of whom are young and poor, cannot assimilate into cities like Moscow in order to take advantage of the economic and educational opportunities exclusively available there and nowhere else in the country. While Russia is unique in being a newly established democracy with a free market, similar processes also create and reproduce inequalities in the west. Thus, sociologists should explore how denying access to space and the unprecedented opportunity some places offer migrants limits social mobility thereby maintaining the social stratification hierarchy.

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