Social Care in Russia

Our Rusuk Blog writer Sergey

Russia, since I think 1917 and even more since the 1960s, was a social state. First, it was a part of the Communist ideology and a paternalist sctate. Second, even before the Communists took power, there had always been a ruling hand, and the people obeyed the state in various formats and shapes. 

The sobering time of the 1990s when the state simply refused to carry out many of its previous responsibilities, was a wake-up call for people. Some of them succeeded, and even more failed, at least, at the moment. That was the price of making the economy more efficient and getting rid of the total food and goods deficit that was a part of the Soviet lifestyle. 

The first years of Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin were, basically, Boris Yeltsin’s third term if we talk about the economy. However, in the mid-2000s he started to turn the state back into something that looked more and more familiar, a quasi-Soviet system. Less business, more state regulation, and more people dependent on the state. Thus, more people voted for the state, i.e., for Putin. This was his recipe to keep holding in power for as long as he could. Eventually, when this part of the social contract was due and people asked for more, he sold ‘greatness’ and, finally, war. Just to keep him in power; he didn’t choose pluralism and political freedoms because it would have taken him out of power. Here we get to a different story though. 

Historically, people in Russia get used to the state’s leading role, with social care being a part of it. However, we have to draw a line between Moscow and the rest of Russia. People say that Moscow is another country, and this is true. From my personal experience, I know that Moscow’s welfare system is very advanced compared to other regions of the country. Moscow’s economy is a bit Western-type: it is effective and it spreads out wealth to those who can’t afford it. It is related to healthcare issues, various types of social payouts, etc. 

The rest of Russia is not so privileged in terms of social care. I admit I am happy to live in Moscow enjoying its various social care benefits. Probably, this system is not as developed as the Western model, still, it resembles it. But people from the ‘other’ Russia are in worse shape. This is one of the reasons why mobilization was pretty successful: young people and their families all over Russia just don’t see other options to earn. Did you sign a contract to fight in Ukraine? You get around $3,000 every month. You are a KIA? Fine, then your family gets around 5,000,000 roubles. This is, roughly, $ 70,000. A nice boost to the family budget, plus, your fallen husband is a hero, and your status in society is rising. This is how social care now works in Russia. At least, when it comes to the war in Ukraine. 

Overall, Russia is an historically paternalist state; this is a heritage any after-Putin government will have to deal with. 

Social care in my country

Roger Bara

Adult social care in the U.K., unlike general health care, is not free at the point of use. Support from the state is reserved for those with both the highest level of need, and the lowest means. This means that most people have to fund their care needs themselves.

The state of social care at this time has been described by those involved as: “never been so bad”. 500,000 folk are at present waiting for basic assistance.

Over 400,000 of us rely on care homes with more than 800,000 receiving care at home. But care services are struggling with, would you believe, 160,000 staff vacancies, rising demand and already tight funding for social care that is being squeezed by soaring food and energy inflation.

I’ve read reports that a third of care providers are unable to recruit staff which has negatively affected their service and many have stopped admitting new residents as a result. Last month the Care Quality Commission warned of a “tsunami of unmet care” and said England’s health and social care system was “gridlocked”. 

Ambulance in UK

These problems in social care manifests itself by hospitals around the country being unable to free up beds, drastically slowing down the delivery of elective care. It also adds to the endless pressure on ambulances, with many having to wait hours when delivering patients, only to find that there are no available places for them. These delays mean that going to the next emergency call are severely compromised. 

Care workers earn an average £9.50 an hour. Half of health and social care workers say the government’s approach to pay makes them more likely to quit in the next one to three years.

It all sucks. So here is a scenario for you all to consider.

In the country where I currently reside, which is not the U.K., a friend of mine has suddenly, without warning, become exceedingly sick, and is currently in I.C.U. Sadly, his lovely wife has severe dementia, and cannot cope on her own in any way. All treatment has to be paid for, and this lovely man has no family whatsoever to support him. Or his good lady. What a terrible predicament. Care facilities are rare here and often inadequate.

But, would they be better off in his original home of the U.K. at this time? Yes, the treatment would be free, but would they actually be in a better place? Would he even have got to hospital in time?

What a sad state of affairs to be even asking this question.

Stop whining and go die

Photograph of Dean Lewis

When I was a child, we were told that if you work hard, you’ll get ahead. That was true then but is no longer possible. Upward mobility in the US today is statistically much closer to a third-world country. The birth lottery largely determines your life’s path. 

I bring this up because this directly impacts the amount and quality of social care available to you in the United States. There are separate healthcare, judicial, educational, and other systems for the rich. Now, to be clear, there are not separate waiting rooms at the doctor’s office: no sign says Rich People’s Waiting Room. But that doesn’t change the quality of the social safety net.


Now there are some in the US Congress who want to do away with Social Security altogether. I’m not sure how they plan to kill it exactly; everybody pays into the program their entire lives so it’s not really rich Congressmen’s money to do with as they please. Never mind, they will get their hands on it somehow (psss… the secret word is privatize).

The rich stand around wondering why thousands stormed the US Capitol and why they are so pissed off. Life is good, what the hell’s your problem? Fox News defends and shields the rich for the most part. The MEGAs often buy the lies, assured by the six-figure host at Fox & Friends that their money will soon trickle down. Meanwhile, what little social care is left is actively attacked by those who control the Government: rich people.

Even a cursory chat about social care in the US must centre on how much money you have. Can you afford a live-in nurse? Too bad… now stop whining and go die. Yes, it really is that bad.