The COVID-19 pandemic exposed significant inequities around the world; from disparities of access to healthcare and vaccines, to border policies and other domestic regulations. It also exposed just how much the modern world is enmeshed in and entrapped by the digital world – not only in Russia. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that Russians share pandemic-related concerns with people around the world: they too seek to cope by buying their go-to “panic” foods, they too have their COVID memes and even surprisingly similar conspiracy theories. Everyday foreign policy during these times of the pandemic reflects similar tendencies around the world and shows how even minute consumption decisions shape who we are in times of crisis. The chapter also reflects on the history of healthcare in the Soviet Union and its continuing influence on health-related decisions in post-Soviet Russia.
Fancy a Putin-themed T-shirt or pair of knickers? This chapter is devoted to the phenomenon of Putin branding that has emerged both off- and online. President Putin’s likeness has become a veritable brand that serves to project alignment with the Kremlin’s foreign policy. The domestic market has embraced this campaign: stores featuring “patriotic collections” selling T-shirts with Putin became ubiquitous. The visage of President Putin has become a symbol of the rebirth of the great power identity. Virility, hyper-masculinity, and emasculation of others are among several aspects consistent with a patriarchal and sexualized perspective on international politics. Putin branding has, however, dangerous consequences given that disagreement with state policy is interpreted as a sign of disloyalty to the man who came to embody the nation.
This chapter moves from the general attempts to fill the missing middle in English politics to the particular historical antecedents to city-region devolution in Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region. Through the concept of path dependency, the chapter explores the historical roots of devolution through City Deals, the devolution deals and the first 2017 metro-mayoral elections to illustrate how the office of metro-mayor became defined.
Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region were among the first to develop the practice of English urban devolution. They were in the forefront of attempts to ‘level up’ the northern region and to address the problem of regional inequalities. The analysis studies how the metro-mayors evolved the office by examining the policy fields of economic development, transport, skills, health, housing and spatial reform and the environment. In the case of Greater Manchester, it also explores health and the reform of public services. The study then examines the crucial issues of power, resources, partnerships, central–local relations and local democracy, concluding with an assessment of the future prospects for a deeper and more fundamental change in the character of the English state.
Both metro-mayors declared an aim of ‘doing politics differently’ in sharp contrast to the Westminster politics they were disillusioned with. This chapter explores their attempts to do politics differently by looking at different dimensions of democracy. This includes looking at the opportunities and constraints the metro-mayors faced in providing accountability, representing the diversity of their populations and their attempts at doing policy with people rather than doing policy to their citizens. The chapter concludes by examining four case studies of participation beyond representation.
After demonstrating that economic development was the central purpose behind the establishment of Mayoral Combined Authorities the chapter examines the development of polices to promote economic growth at the sub-regional levels of Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region. As national and local government leaders concurred that the resolution of the problem of regional economic imbalances was necessary, at the level of the metro-mayors there is a serious concern to rectify the absence of inclusivity in leaving the issue to the free market.
The environment has grown in salience during the first terms of both metro-mayors. This is in response to external pressures including the 2021 COP26 conference. Environmental policy is one where, buttressed by strong advocacy coalitions and enthusiastic citizens, the inputs explained by the issue-attention cycle are often countered by countervailing resistance. This comes from motorists, potential charge-payers for the creation of clean air zones, companies such as Peel Holdings or housing developers seeking profits and even individual councils seeking to pursue their own development plans. The metro-mayors have reiterated their commitment to green polices and have symbolically brought forward the target dates of the national government to produce net-zero city regions.
Do you drink an americano or a rossiyano? Do you eat French fries or freedom fries? Our everyday choices are always political and ever more international. This book offers a way to theorize and expose how everyday foreign policy works at the grassroots level, using empirical material from Russia, sometimes literally from the kitchen table. The book argues that everyday foreign policy should be theorized as an assemblage of micro-practices and discourses across both physical and digital spaces, inside and outside the body. In this way, everyday foreign policy can be seen as a decentralized phenomenon, where biological and cultural elements are intertwined through physical and digital spaces, often expressed through consumerist and carnal practices. This book studies post-Crimea grassroots foreign policy and exposes motivations and coping mechanisms behind foreign policy practice on the individual level. The fundamental question this book seeks to address is: how do international relations, and specifically foreign policy, translate to the grassroots level? The book provides an overview of the most significant everyday foreign policy practices from the popular Russian perspective, ranging from sanctions to vaccinations.
This chapter explores the housing needs in GM and LCR and the attempts of the MCAs and metro-mayors to address these needs through spatial planning. It examines initiatives that were emulated across the two city-regions, such as Town Centre Challenge which sought to ensure that a focus on the core cities was balanced by a focus on towns. It also examines the focus of both metro-mayors, but particularly Burnham, on rough sleeping. This was an area where the metro-mayors had no formal powers but where they used their generative powers to good effect.