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North Castle Books

Russian Civil Society: A Critical Assessment
Edited by: Alfred B. Evans, Jr.; Laura A. Henry; Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom

Choice Outstanding Academic Title

Cloth ISBN: 978-0-7656-1521-3 Paper ISBN: 978-0-7656-1522-0
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USD: $98.95 USD: $34.95
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Available to all countries
Information: 352pp. Tables, figures, appendix, index
Publication Date: October 2005.  


Description: A vibrant civil society--characterized by the independently organized activity of people as citizens, undirected by state authority--is an essential support for the development of freedom, democracy, and prosperity. Thus it has been one important indicator of the success of post-communist transitions.

This volume undertakes a systematic analysis of the development of civil society in post-Soviet Russia. An introduction and two historical chapters provide background, followed by chapters that analyze the Russian context and consider the roles of the media, business, organized crime, the church, the village, and the Putin administration in shaping the terrain of public life. Eight case studies then illustrate the range and depth of actual citizen organizations in various national and local community settings, and a concluding chapter weighs the findings and distills comparisons and conclusions.

Selected Contents:

List of Tables and Figure
1. Introduction, Laura A. Henry and Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom
PartI. The History of Civil Society in Russia
2. Civil Society in Late Imperial Russia, Mary Schaeffer Conroy
3. Civil Society in the Soviet Union? Alfred B. Evans, Jr.
Part II. The Context of Civil Society Development
4. Media, Civil Society, and the Failure of the Fourth Estate in Russia, Sarah Oates
5. Business and Civil Society in Russia, Peter Rutland
6. Organized Crime Groups: "Uncivil Society", Louise Shelley
7. The Church and Civil Society in Russia, Edwin Bacon
8. Civil Society in Rural Russia, Stephen K. Wegren
9. Vladimir Putin's Design for Civil Society, Alfred B. Evans, Jr.
Part III. Civil Society in Contemporary Russia: Case Studies
10. Women's Organizations: Institutionalized Interest Groups or Vulnerable Dissidents?, Valerie Sperling
11. Soldiers' Rights Groups in Russia: Civil Society Through Russian and Western Eyes, Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom
12. Russian Trade Unions: Where Are They in the Former Workers' State? Sue Davis
13. Russian Environmentalists and Civil Society, Laura A. Henry
14. Disability Organizations in the Regions, Kate Thomson
15. Formal and Informal Strategies of Migrant Populations: Migrant Activity in Post-Soviet Russia, Moya Flynn
16. Public-Private Permutations: Domestic Violence Crisis Centers in Barnaul, Janet Elise Johnson
17. Is Civil Society Stronger in Small Towns? Anne White
Part IV. Concluding Thoughts
18. Russian Civil Society: Tensions and Trajectories, Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom and Laura A. Henry
Appendix: Defining Civil Society, Laura A. Henry and Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom
About the Editors and Contributors

Comment(s): "This excellent volume provides a balanced, nuanced, and comprehensive perspective on civil society in Russia. The chapters cover a broad array of civil society organizations, and they combine informative historical context with insightful contemporary analysis. This book should be required reading for anybody interested in the obstacles and challenges facing Russian civil society." -- Marc MorjT Howard, Georgetown University

"Evans, Henry, and Sundstrom have assembled an excellent group of scholars to trace the emergence of civil society in post-Soviet Russia. This collection of essays is long-overdue: the individual chapters draw from a large variety of previously understudied movements in differing eras and geographical locations to convey a complex understanding of the intricacies of past and current trends in citizen mobilization. Russian Civil Society breaks new ground by avoiding simplistic conclusions about the status of Russian civil society, and providing the reader with a rich tapestry of citizen activism. Unprecedented." -- Sarah Henderson, Oregon State University

Review(s): "Few books have covered the subject in as encompassing and expansive a way. ... This work is well written. ...Highly recommended. General readers, lower-division undergraduates and above." -- Choice

"...an important contribution to our understanding of this subject. ...a thoughtful, balanced, in-depth examination of the nature and extent of civil society development since the collapse of the Soviet regime. ...The authors have produced an insightful and extremly useful study of a complex and evolving subject. It will be of interest not only to specialists in such fields as democracy building and foreign assistance, but also to all who seek a fuller understanding of Russian society today." -- Perspectives on Political Science

"The book presents a comprehensive study of the history and context of the development of civil society in Russia, with a deep attention to the cultural factors which shape the Russian public sphere." -- The Russian Review, Vol.65, No.4

"...an important contribution to the study of contemporary Russian politics and society. ...the volume is to be commended. All of the contributing chapters are of a very high quality and discuss a wide range of issues connected with the study of Russian civil society and present numerous case studies to illustrate their arguments. This book dealing with, perhaps, one of the most important issues in post-Soviet democratisation will be impossible to ignore in future research on Russian civil society." -- Europe-Asia Studies, Vol.58, No.6

"This is a welcome addition to the growing literature on the nongovernmental, voluntary sector in Russia today." -- Slavic Review, Vol.65, No.4

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