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Social Welfare or Moral Warfare?

Popular Resistance against Children’s Rights and Juvenile Justice in Contemporary Russia

In: The International Journal of Children's Rights
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Since the mid-2000s, Russia has increased its efforts to strengthen the legal rights of children and to improve the systems of social assistance to vulnerable families in line with the un Convention of the Rights of the Child. The reform drive has met fierce resistance by a grassroots mobilization in defence of ‘traditional Russian family values’. Child rights are conceived of as weapons in a Western moral war against Russia, but simultaneously, the popular appeal of the campaign stems from a profound distrust in Russian state administrators, who purportedly use the crc for personal gain. This paper suggests that this disbelief makes the protesters locate notions of citizenship primarily to the intimate social sphere, prioritizing ‘parental rights’ rather than ‘civil rights’ defined by the state-citizen relationship. It is also suggested that the confidence of citizens in their own state administration must be considered if the Convention is to be successfully implemented.

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