Russia's human rights record, especially violations of the right to life, liberty and freedom of expression, has been the subject of much international concern. Social, or welfare, rights, on the other hand, including the right to housing, health and access to social security, have received much less attention. This book explores the changing position in Russia towards such social rights. It explores how social rights are defined in Russia and why they are contested, and discusses how increasing liberalisation and privatisation have radically changed the very extensive former communist welfare system. It considers recent initiatives by both Putin and Medvedev to re-emphasise the role of the state in providing social services, and shows how activism to secure social benefits, especially at the local level, is relatively strong. The book concludes by assessing how social rights and welfare are likely to develop in Russia in a world increasingly concerned with austerity and the transformation of citizens into 'market citizens', where attitudes towards social rights remain less than favourable.