News from Project B06

Covid-19 cases in Central Asia (Source: Zentralasien-Analysen Nr. 140)
Covid-19 cases in Central Asia (Source: Zentralasien-Analysen Nr. 140)
The CRC project provides regularly updated information on the situation in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

The team around project director Heiko Pleines is compiling and processing extensive data on the development of the Covid-19 pandemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In addition, the dossier provides chronicles at country level on the respective social policy responses to the development of the pandemic. This information is regularly updated and supplemented with analyses by country experts.

The dossier on the Covid-19 pandemic can be found on the pages of the Research Centre for East European Studies at the University of Bremen. English texts will follow soon.

The analyses of the situation in Russian can also be found on the website of the Federal Agency for Civic Education (in German only).


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Heiko Pleines
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Research Centre for East European Studies
Klagenfurter Straße 8
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-69602
E-Mail: pleines@uni-bremen.de

Covid-19 cases in Ukraine, by region (source: Ukraine-Analysen Nr. 232)
Covid-19 cases in Ukraine, by region (source: Ukraine-Analysen Nr. 232)
In the "Ukraine-Analysen", experts examine how the Ukrainian government is reacting to the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Pavlo Illiashenko and Olena Levenets from the Technical University of Tallinn analyse in their article in issue 232 of "Ukraine-Analysen" how the novel corona virus spread in Ukraine and how the government reacted to it. They take into account data up to 18 March 2020.

The authors conclude that the Ukrainian government and the authorities were relatively passive until March 11: Mainly measures were announced, but only partially implemented, which aimed to prevent the entry of the virus from abroad (especially travel warnings, temperature measurements of people entering from Italy). Tests for Covid-19 infections were almost never carried out (only 43 tests until 11 March).

From 11 March onwards, government measures were significantly tightened. Schools and borders were closed, assembly bans were imposed, shops had to close, local states of emergency were declared. Ukraine only continues to lag behind in tests for infections, which have been carried out many times more frequently in neighbouring countries.

The authors conclude that the government of Ukraine was unprepared, at least in the initial phase of the crisis. This is also due to the fact that the government's ability to act was limited by the dismissal of ministers by the president at the beginning of March. After 11 March, however, there was a strict change of course, according to which the government acted much more proactively than its neighbouring states.

A detailed analysis of the Ukrainian response to the Covid-19 pandemic can be found in the current issue 232 of Ukraine Analyses (in German only).


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Heiko Pleines
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Research Centre for East European Studies
Klagenfurter Straße 8
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-69602
E-Mail: pleines@uni-bremen.de

Workshop with international experts.
Workshop with international experts.
B06 members and other international experts discussed the transfer of social policy concepts from the OECD sphere to the post-Soviet region. The results of the workshop are to be published in "Global Social Policy".

The CRC research project B06 on "External reform models and internal debates on the new conceptualisation of social policy in the post-Soviet region" has organised an international workshop on "International knowledge transfer in social policy: The case of the post-Soviet region" on November 9, 2019.

With participants from the post-Soviet region as well as from Europe and North America, the workshop brought together experts from political science, economics, sociology and other relevant academic disciplines. It aimed to draw a more comprehensive picture of the influence of social policy concepts originating in the OECD world on reform processes in the post-Soviet region. The intensive discussions focused especially on the role that international actors play in this knowledge transfer and on the domestic evaluation of these social policy concepts. For this workshop, knowledge transfer has been understood as an open and multi-directional process with a strong discursive dimension.

The result of the workshop will be submitted to Global Social Policy for a special issue asking how the underlying social policy concepts are perceived and evaluated and in particular which role domestic political decision-makers and the public ascribe to Western reform models. At the same time, the special issue wants to look at a broad range of actors (not only at international governmental organizations, but also at relevant non-governmental organizations and international experts). Consequently, the focus of the analysis lies on the main actors during the (still ongoing) redesign of the post-Soviet welfare systems. The contributions for the proposed special issue come from different disciplinary traditions, but they converge in their basic focus on the international knowledge transfer and on the domestic evaluation of the related social policy concepts.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Heiko Pleines
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Research Centre for East European Studies
Klagenfurter Straße 8
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-69602
E-Mail: pleines@uni-bremen.de

The Russian government has recently decided to raise the retirement age and VAT. CRC member Martin Brand analyses whether these decisions were necessary and what social disruptive force they could unfold.

Value-added tax in Russia is to rise from 18 to 20 percent. But it is above all the pension reform that moves people in Russia, writes Brand: The regular retirement age is to rise from 55 to 63 for women and from 60 to 65 for men. If you look at life expectancy, especially of Russian men (67.5 years), it is obvious that this reform is extremely unpopular: according to a survey, 92 percent of the population are against it. Protests are already taking place on online platforms and in the streets.

On the other hand, the reform seems inevitable: the pension fund is chronically in deficit, in 2018 the equivalent of 17.7 billion euros will be missing, 40 percent of revenues will come from the state budget. "This tension between economic and social factors," writes Brand, "builds the background of the debate about Russia's pension system reform - at the latest after the World Cup". 

Further information:
The detailed article for the Federal Agency for Civic Education


Contact:
Martin Brand
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Research Centre for East European Studies
Klagenfurter Straße 8
28359 Bremen
E-Mail: martin.brand@uni-bremen.de

Caucasus Analytical Digest No. 103
Caucasus Analytical Digest No. 103
Gulnaz Isabekova published her account of Armenia’s, Azerbaijan’s and Georgia’s healthcare systems in Caucasus Analytical Digest: Healthcare professionals move from rural to urban areas, limiting the rural population’s access to health care services.

Rural areas in the Southern Caucasus region suffer from a growing shortage of healthcare professionals, Gulnaz Isabekova of CRC 1342 describes in an article recently published in Caucasus Analytical Digest #103. Doctors, mid-level professionals and midwifes move to urban areas or migrate to Post-Soviet countries where they seek and find higher salaries, better working conditions and professional development opportunities. The uneven distribution of healthcare workers jeopardizes the rural healthcare systems and the quality of the services.

Isabekova describes a mismatch between the large number of medical school graduates and the number of vacant positions in rural areas. The governments of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia should create stronger incentives for healthcare professionals to work in rural areas. According to Isabekova potential incentives include faster promotion tracks, extra training, fellowships, grants and bonuses to salaries. Also the number of mid-level professionals needs to be increased and their training should be strengthened. This may ensure at least access to basic services.


Further information:

Gulnaz Isabekova (ed.) (2018): Access to Healthcare, Caucasus Analytical Digest No. 103

Gulnaz Isabekova (2018): Healthcare Workers in the Southern Caucasus: Availability, Migration and Patients’ Access to Healthcare, in: Caucasus Analytical Digest No. 103, pp. 6-17, DOI: 10.3929/ethz-b-000269801

The publication is available online.


Contact:
Gulnaz Isabekova
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Research Centre for East European Studies
Klagenfurter Straße 8
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-57073
E-Mail: gulnaz@uni-bremen.de

Oleksandra Betliy, external country expert of the SFB 1342, has published her analysis of the Ukrainian pension reform in Ukraine-Analysen. Betliy concludes that further reforms of the judicial and financial systems are necessary.

The average pension in Ukraine is one of the lowest in Europe, while state pension obligations are very high in relation to GDP. In the past 15 years there have been several reforms of the deficient Ukrainian pension system, the most recent in October 2017.

Oleksandra Betliy works as an external country expert for the CRC "Global Dynamics of Social Policy" and has analysed the pension reforms in Ukraine. She has published her results in the current issue of Ukraine-Analysen. She concludes that the reform approaches are promising, but that long-term success will depend on economic growth and reforms of the judicial and financial market systems.

Oleksandra Betliy has been a Leading Research Fellow at the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting in Kiev since 2002. Her research interests include fiscal policy and tax forecasts as well as social issues, including health and labour market policy. As a country expert at the CRC 1342, she cooperates primarily with project B06 "External reform models and internal debates on the new conceptualisation of social policy in the post-Soviet region".

The Ukraine-Analysen are published jointly by the Research Centre for East European Studies at the University of Bremen, the Centre for East European and International Studies, the German Association for East European Studies, the German Poland Institute, the Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies and the Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Heiko Pleines
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Research Centre for East European Studies
Klagenfurter Straße 8
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-69602
E-Mail: pleines@uni-bremen.de