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ДРУЗЬЯ САЙТА


                       Understanding the Improving Crisis Prevention
                       and Response Policies:
Dynamics of Institutional Exclusion and 
                       Conflict Escalation in Russia and Ukraine


Prof. Anton Oleinik, Memorial University, Canada


This project will explore how institutional exclusion of disadvantaged and socially vulnerable groups leads to radicalization of violence and social conflict and investigate what role institutions can play in the prevention of radicalization and violent escalation of conflict.

This project will explore how institutional exclusion of disadvantaged and socially vulnerable groups leads to radicalization of violence and social conflict and investigate what role institutions can play in the prevention of radicalization and violent escalation of conflict.

Institutional exclusion is important dimension of social exclusion. It refers to the limited access of people to the political and legal system and other state institutions and/or their unwillingness to rely on them when solving everyday problems. As a result, public and private spheres become increasingly disconnected.

Institutional exclusion may be observed in many societies. Well-acclaimed writings and policy initiatives by Hernando de Soto (1989, 2001) and his fellows from the Institute for Liberty and Democracy (Peru, Lima) can be interpreted as focused on various forms of the institutional exclusion. However,

(i)                solutions they offer refer only to comparative costs legal and extra-legal activities (the ‘costs of the law’ and the ‘costs of the informality’) and omit some important aspects of the problem, namely the incentive structure of public servants that may prevent from lowering the costs of the law;

(ii)              they study mainly the experience of the developing countries in Latin America, whereas the post-Soviet countries have their own particularities in this regard. For instance, ordinary people in these countries consciously minimize their contacts with the state and its representatives (de Soto assumes that people are always interested in getting their activities legalized and regularized), which lead Richard Rose and his fellows, e.g. Anton Oleinik (1997, 2010) to compare the institutional structure in these countries with a ‘hour-glass’ composed of two spheres – on the one hand, the state and its activities and, on the other hand, the everyday life of ordinary people – connected by a very narrow mid-point.

In Ukraine institutional exclusion brings to formation of ‘hour-glass society’, characterized with sharp division of all spheres of social, economic and political life on formal and informal ones, thus making the life of ordinary citizens unofficial and disconnected with the formal rules and functioning of state organizations.

The so-called "Orange revolution” can be interpreted as an attempt to change the then existing state of affairs: diverse social groups that normally have conflicting interests – students, pensioners, business people – all participated in mass protests. However, seven years on, little has changed in this regards, and institutional exclusion is continuously reproduced in Ukraine. This calls for an in-depth analysis of the problem.