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Sociology. Political Science. International Relations
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Article


Year
2017
Issue
3
Pages
362-373
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Section СОЦИОЛОГИЯ. ПОЛИТОЛОГИЯ. МЕЖДУНАРОДНЫЕ ОТНОШЕНИЯ
Title AN UNEASY FATE OF CHILDREN’S RIGHTS WITHIN RUSSIAN CIVIL SOCIETY: BETWEEN ENCOURAGING A CHANGE AND SERVING AS A "SCAPEGOAT"
Author(-s) Gataulina Evgeniya Kamilevna
Abstract This article addresses the role of international children’s rights norms within the civil society in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It distinguishes different perception of children’s rights during a phase of hybrid institutionalization (1991-1999) and an authoritarian consolidation (2000-2017). The findings are based on empirical research of NGO-community in the field of child and family protection that took place in spring-summer 2014 in Moscow and Izhevsk and focused on advocacy-NGOs dealing with the problem of (“social”) orphanhood. In the Yeltsin’s period, the Russian state clearly admitted to its international obligations to protect children’ rights and brought about or at least tolerated numerous initiatives aiming at the elimination of “social orphanhood”. Russian NGOs and activists - often inspired by international actors - fulfilled the role of agents of children’s rights change in this process. Whereas the state welcomed child rights-based approaches to solving the orphans’ problem at the discursive level , it failed to implement effective reforms to de-institutionalize the existing system of boarding schools and to protect families in crisis situations ( operational level ). After 2000 the situation has changed in several ways. Transnationalization processes that began in the 1990er have been gradually shrinking as a consequence of a conservative turn and a changing self-perception and self-manifestation of Russia. In this regard, the year of 2012 has been a watershed due to the adoption of the law about “foreign agents” and the cutting down of UNICEF’s activities in Russia. In this period, the attitude to children’s rights within civil society took modified forms. Nowadays there is a clear dividing line between the child-centred, reform-oriented NGO-community and the so called anti-juvenile movement supporting „traditional family values“. However, even within a reform-oriented NGO-community the perception of child rights norms is ambiguous. The question is whether “local pro-change groups [are] able to leverage international support in such a way as to eventually triumph over their domestic opponents” [60. P. 7].
Keywords children’s rights, Russian NGOs, anti-juvenile movement, social orphans, norm transfer, social patronat
UDC 67.400.7
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