Social policy is a vital dimension of well-being in the harsh conditions of the Russian Far North. This article examines how longstanding welfare provision in the region has been restructured within the context of nationwide social reforms under Vladimir Putin. It starts with an analysis of Soviet-era policies for northern inhabitants and their evolution during the socio-economic crisis of the 1990s. I then look at how recent changes to budgetary and federal relations in the country have affected the delivery of social assistance in the North. Ultimately, the neoliberal undertones exhibited in federal social policy may be inappropriate in the region, where markets and individuals cannot be expected to sustain well-being
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