Ideology and philosophy of the successful regional development in contemporary Russia: The Belgorod case

Nikulin A.M., Trotsuk I.V., Wegren S. Ideology and philosophy of the successful regional development in contemporary Russia: The Belgorod case // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2018. V.3. №1. P. 99-116.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2018-3-1-99-116

Annotation

The article considers economic successes of the Belgorod region as significantly determined by the governor Yevgeny Savchenko’ agrarian policies, which compensate for the region’s small size and modest human capital. In 2017, the authors published an article describing economic policies and social programs of regional authorities; now the authors focus on the leadership by Yevgeny Savchenko, and his rather paradoxical personal and management views. First, according to Max Weber’s typology of authority, Savchenko is a charismatic leader with strong personality traits and careful political behavior, who benefits from the traditional Slavophile populism and institutional design of the gubernatorial powers that has allowed governors to become more powerful compared to other regional actors during 2002–2012. Second, the Belgorod governor’s project has quite traditional Russian roots in the spirit of A.V. Chayanov’s novel “My brother Alexey’s journey to the land of peasant utopia”, which allowed the Belgorod modernization project to successfully cope with unpredictable challenges from the Russian oligarchy and global economy, and to use competitive standards of consumer society as the grounds for conservative modernization and solidary society development. The Belgorod governor implements his own model of new economy consisting of the extensive development of solidarity and cooperation; ideals of healthy lifestyle; and freedom in choosing ways to work and to rest (regional authorities support corporate, family and individual strategies of life). Third, Savchenko has publicly articulated his personal political-economic theory reflecting a conglomerate of conservative, socialist and populist ideas, and combining anti-liberalism and statist philosophy as the basis for the revival of the Russian state, which the governor sees as an engine of social progress.

Keywords

Belgorod region, governor, leadership, regional authorities, regional development, ideological roots, philosophical foundations.

About the authors

Nikulin Alexander M., PhD (Economics), Head of the Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. Prosp. Vernadskogo, 82, Moscow, Russian Federation, 119571.
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Trotsuk Irina V., DSc (Sociology), Senior Researcher, Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Associate Professor, Sociology Chair, RUDN University. Prosp. Vernadskogo, 82, Moscow, Russian Federation, 119571.
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Wegren Stephen, Professor of Political Science, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, USA.
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