This chapter focuses on the case of Belarus, but reaches beyond the limits of contemporary welfare regime thinking. It points at some shortcomings in the general achievements of conventional comparative welfare state research (CWSR) by returning to a typology briefly outlined in Harold Wilensky’s classical work The Welfare State and Equality, in particular his emphasis on the existence of an authoritarian-populist welfare model. In light of more recent general developments in the post-Soviet world, the seldom-exposed case of the welfare state in the new, post-Soviet nation-state of Belarus is scrutinized. Compared to, for instance, war-torn Ukraine, only gradually has Belarus left behind the Soviet legacies. Historically the transformation of the Soviet welfare model and the emergence of a different route to ‘post-socialism’ is the object of the analysis of the institutions of education, health, housing and welfare (including old-age pensions) in this borderland between Europe and Russia. In focus are incremental change and the slow development of privatized welfare. The significance of this analysis definitely extends beyond the borders of this particular region at a time when the authoritarian-populist tide is on the rise, from France and the Netherlands to Hungary and Poland, restoring a theme of considerable interest in other neighbouring countries of Belarus such as Latvia and Lithuania.
Sven E. O. Hort and Nikolay Zakharov
Stein Kuhnle, Per Selle and Sven E. O. Hort
The introductory chapter briefly sketches the expansion of welfare state research in the world, discusses the relevance of developing an Asian-European dialogue on social and welfare policies, outlines the aims of the book, and presents the structure of the book which is divided into three thematic parts with 18 chapters following the introductory chapter. The three parts cover: (1) ‘Developing East Asian Welfare States: Internal Forces and Outside Influences’; (2) ‘Developed North European Welfare States: State and Society in a Globalizing World’; and (3) ‘Global Issues and Perspectives’. The chapter ends with a section on ‘Looking ahead: the uneven coming of the welfare state in the twenty-first century’.