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Crisis Poses New Challenges for Researchers

Crisis Poses New Challenges for Researchers

The XVI April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development starts on April 7. Below HSE Academic Supervisor Evgeny Yasin describes what interesting things await this year's participants.

— The 2015 April Conference will certainly be an interesting one, though the reason for this is perhaps not the best – crisis. This year we are seeing the emergence of the very problems we were unable to resolve in previous years, as GDP is declining. I am not sure that this will continue, but the fact still remains. We are now faced with a qualitatively new economic situation, and we expect to hear serious discussions on the most relevant problems at this year’s round tables, sections, and plenary sessions. 

The XVI April Conference will hold sessions on practically on economic fields studied at HSE, including economics, macroeconomics, microeconomics, industrial markets, and others. The conference will also have sessions devoted to philosophical, sociological, and political issues.

Plenary Sessions

At the morning plenary session on April 7, experts from Russia and around the world will discuss possible scenarios for the future of the Russian and global economy. Among the meeting’s participants we hope to see Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov; the head of the Accounts Chamber, Tatyana Golikova; Sberbank Chairman German Gref; the first deputy governor of the Central Bank, Ksenia Yudaeva; the governor of Voronezh region, Alexei Gordeyev; and the Senior Director of the Poverty Global Practice at the World Bank Group, Ana Revenga.

The reasons behind the successes and failures of Russia’s reforms will be discussed with the former Finance Minister, Alexei Kudrin; the academic Viktor Polterovich; the chairman of the bank VTB24, Mikhail Zadornov, the economist Mikhail Dmitriyev; and our Polish colleague Marek Dabrowski, who always has unique and interesting ideas. In addition, because of Dabrowski’s experience as the deputy of Leszek Balcerowicz, a major player in Poland’s economic reforms, his views might offer us some guidance. On the one hand, we have come a long way over the last 20 years, as the standard of living is better now than during the transformative crisis of the 1990s; but on the other hand, a new crisis has darkened our doorstep. In this situation, it is critical to try to evaluate the outcomes of the institutional changes, which differ by one important characteristic – they are starting earlier and ending later than we can currently observe. Many participants of this plenary session have their own original viewpoint on the processes currently underway in Russia.

The April conference has long been one of the main events of the economic and social sciences in Russia. It is where a dialogue can take place at the university between theorists and practitioners; representatives of government, business, and science; and Russian and foreign experts.

The keynote speaker of the plenary session on ‘Social Policy Priorities’ is Lilia Ovcharova, HSE's Social Research Director. We also expect to see Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets; the Deputy Mayor of Moscow, Leonid Pechatnikov; and renowned expert on regional socioeconomic development, Natalia Zubarevich.

At another plenary session called ‘Demand for Law: Factors and Dynamics,’ there will be a discussion on what I believe to be a fundamental part of the kinds of qualitative changes needed if we are to ensure that there is rule of law over the control of administrative officials. Rule by the sovereign is an engrained tradition in Russia, be it a czar, president or general secretary. But a market economy only works effectively when law is supreme. Moreover, economic science shows that so long as this key contradiction exists, we are bound to face problems.

This session will be headed by Anton Ivanov, who was previously the Chairman of Russia's Supreme Court of Arbitration and is now the Academic Supervisor of HSE's Faculty of Law. The session's speakers include the Vice Rector of the European University in St. Petersburg and the Head of the Research Institute for the Rule of Law, Vadim Volkov; the Director of HSE’s Institute for Industrial and Market Studies, Andrei Yakovlev; the President of Russia’s Federal Bar, Yury Pilipenko; Bulgarian Scholar Ivan Krastev; and HSE Professor Sergei Pashin. We are also hoping to hear from American Professor of law and political science, Catherine Hangly; the Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Civil, Criminal, Arbitration and Procedural Law, Pavel Krasheninnikov; and the Head of a task force to create an international financial centre, Alexander Voloshin.

There will also be a separate plenary session on April 7 to discuss issues of educational development. Participants will include Russian Presidential Aide Andrei Fursenko and Russia’s Minister of Education and Science, Dmitry Livanov. In addition, representatives from government and business will discuss the growth opportunities that exist during the crisis at a special plenary discussion on April 8.

Honorary Lectures and Presentations

This year we have also planned a series of honorary lectures and presentations to be given by prominent scholars from Russia and around the world. I hope I will be able to make it to the lecture by the Dean of Moscow State University’s Faculty of Economics, Alexander Auzan, who is going to talk about cultural capital as a tool for constructing Russia’s new economic strategy. I also look forward to a presentation from Hungarian professor Bálint Magyar on post-communist Hungary, as I think it will be interesting to hear about Hungary’s experience in living through post-communist transformations, especially since they started there earlier than they did in Russia.

The main programme for this year’s conference will also offer four special PhD seminars in finance, management, economics, sociology, and philosophy for doctoral and post-graduate students.

The April conference has long been one of the main events of the economic and social sciences in Russia. It is where a dialogue can take place at the university between theorists and practitioners; representatives of government, business, and science; and Russian and foreign experts. The Conference has always been an excellent platform for open and informative discussions, and participants can establish connections at the April Conference that might ultimately grow into research projects. I am certain that such an atmosphere will continue on into this year’s conference as well.

See also:

Russia’s Middle Class: Who Are Its Members and How Do They Spend Their Money?

The HSE Centre for Studies of Income and Living Standards studied the dynamics of the middle class and its behaviour with regard to paid services. The study was based on data drawn from the HSE Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS-HSE) for the years 2000 to 2017, and the results were presented at the 20th April International Academic Conference hosted by HSE.

Reproductive Evolution: How Birth Rates Are Changing in Post-Soviet Countries

Reproductive behavior is modernizing at different rates in post-Soviet countries. Things are changing faster in Russia, Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine, where, over the last fifteen years, the average maternity age has increased and the contribution of women in their thirties to their countries’ birthrates has grown. Meanwhile, old reproductive patterns persist in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, where firstborns are usually born to parents under 30, demographers Vladimir Kozlov and Konstantin Kazenin note in a paper delivered at HSE’s XX April International Academic Conference.

Live Long There and Prosper: How Internal Migration from Small Towns Works

More than half of school graduates in medium-sized Russian cities will change their place of residence either forever or at least for a long time. According a report on internal migration presented by HSE demographers at the XX April International Academic Conference, these people are lost to their cities.

What Drives Innovation in Russian Companies

As part of the Management session of the XX April International Conference, Carl F. Fey from Aalto University School of Business, Finland, presented his paper on Facilitating Innovation in Companies in Russia: The Role of Organizational Culture. In his talk, Professor Fey spoke about the results of three studies he has been conducting with his team.

‘In a Digital Environment, the Role of Human Teachers Only Becomes More Important’

How does digital technology affect the behavior and health of schoolchildren? What opportunities does it proved teachers and school administrators? These and other issues were discussed by participants in the plenary session ‘Children’s Wellbeing in the Digital Age’ at the XX April International Scientific Conference of HSE.

‘Statistics Should Be Available and Comprehensible to Everyone’

Implementing a digital analytical platform, opportunities for Big Data, and other prospects for the development of Russian statistics were discussed by participants at a plenary session of the XX April International Academic Conference.

Can Youth Bullying Ever Be Eradicated?

Dr. Dorothy Espelage (University of Florida) presented a comprehensive account of her research into youth bullying spanning more than two decades in an invited paper ‘Prevention & Intervention of Youth Bullying and other Forms of Youth Aggression: Research Informed Strategies’ at the XX April International Academic Conference.

‘To Achieve Our Goals, We Need to Involve a Wide Range of Universities in National Projects’

The role of regional and industrial institutions of higher education in achieving national development goals must increase, and leading universities will help them. This was the conclusion reached by participants of the plenary session on Russian higher education that took place as part of the XX April International Academic Conference.

How to Boost Russian Food Exports

The plenary session ‘Strategy of Russian Presence at Global Food Markets’ took place as part of HSE University’s XX April International Academic Conference, where participants discussed the prospects for Russian agricultural exports to Asia, as well as the use of nonconventional investment models, such as Islamic financial tools.

‘The President is Focused on Increasing the Birth Rate and Reducing Poverty by Half’

National objectives for social development, as well as existing risks and opportunities in implementing these objectives were discussed by participants of HSE International April Conference.