Resolving Problems Among Neighbors in Post-Soviet Russia: Uncovering the Law of the Pod"ezd
University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School; University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Political Science
September 28, 2009
University of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1097
The article explores how Russians react when flooded by their neighbors. Details of 57 incidents that are drawn from focus group discussions and interviews suggest that neighbors are guided by an informal norm in favor of working together to resolve these problems. When culpable neighbors refuse to engage with victims, the result is to "lump" the problem or to turn to third-parties for assistance. Such outcomes are more likely when the culpable neighbors are newcomers to the pod"ezd (entryway to the apartment building). The research shows that those with preexisting relationships were less likely to turn to third-parties, thereby confirming the findings of the classic studies of disputing among neighbors, albeit in a remarkably different institutional and cultural setting. Other factors, such as age, location, and seriousness of the damage, are less significant. The research provides a window into the commitment to fundamental fairness that underlies Russians' legal consciousness.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 34
Keywords: Russia, Informal Norms, Dispute Resolution, Relationships, Neighbors
JEL Classification: K41,O17, P25, P37
Date posted: September 28, 2009
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