Social Challenges of the Digital Economy: Russia in a Global Context

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-9-14-24
E. Sadovaya (, 
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation

Received 05.04.2021.

Acknowledgements. The article was prepared within the project “Post-crisis world order: challenges and technologies, competition and cooperation” supported by the grant from Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation program for research projects in priority areas of scientific and technological development (Agreement № 075-15-2020-783).


The subject of the research is the challenges of the digital economy for the employment sector in Russia. The need to reduce costs in the face of a deteriorating situation in the global economy is a factor in accelerating the digital transformation of employment in the country. The transformation is carried out through the automation of the main business processes, as well as through the development of platform employment formats. Specific features of the process of digital transformation of employment form the shape of the development of the Russian labor market in the post- Soviet period. Its main factor was the country’s entry into the global system of division of labor, which led to the formation of the modern structure of employment. The economy of Russia, recognized as raw material, turned out to be “commercial” in terms of employment, since it was this industry that created the bulk of jobs during that period. The commerce sector, which had high growth potential in the early 1990s in Russia, provided jobs for all those labor resources that were released from the industry. However, at the moment this source has been exhausted. Digitalization threatens the most labor-intensive sectors of the Russian economy. Commerce turns out to be the first industry to undergo automation and digitalization of jobs. At the same time, the most massive professions (accountants, bank employees, HR specialists, salesmen, cashiers, couriers, security guards, secretaries, packers, call center workers, drivers) are under the threat of “disappearance”, while new ones in demand by the market are more likely “unique” and they are mostly associated with robotization, digitalization and biotechnology. The unmet demand for these professions is a reflection of the complexities of training highly qualified interdisciplinary specialists and not a physical shortage of labor resources, and this is a serious challenge for the vocational education system. The study aims to gain a deeper understanding of the processes taking place in the social and labor sphere in Russia, to create a conceptual basis for the development of a socio-economic policy of the state that adequately responds to the challenges of the digitalization of the economy. 


digital economy, employment, platform employment, the Russian labor market, labor relations, structural transformations of the labor market


  1. Sadovaya E. The digital economy and the new labor market paradigm. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2018, vol. 62, no. 12, pp. 35-45. (In Russ.) Available at: 2227-2018-62-12-35-45  
  2. Bukht R., Khiks R. Definition, Concept and Measurement of the Digital Economy. Bulletin of international organizations, 2018, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 148-151. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.17323/1996-7845-2018-02-07
  3. Castells M. The Information Age. Economy, Society, and Culture. Vol. I: The Rise of the Network Society. Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. 625 р. Available at: (accessed 04.12.2019).
  4. Dahlman C., Mealy S., Wermelinger M. Harnessing the digital economy for developing countries. OECD Development Centre. Working Paper no. 334, 2016. 80 p. Available at: (accessed 04.12.2019).
  5. Kelly K. Inevitable. 12 technology trends that are shaping our future. Moscow, Mann, Ivanov and Ferber, 2017. 352 p. (In Russ.)
  6. New Technological Revolution: Challenges and Opportunities for Russia. Expert and analytical report of the CSR. Moscow, 2017. 12 p. (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 04.12.2019).
  7. Parker G.G., Choudary S.P., Alstyne M.W. van. Platform Revolution. How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy and How to Make Them Work for You. New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 2017. 352 p.
  8. Digital labour platforms and the future of work: Towards decent work in the online world. Geneva, International Labour Office (ILO), 2018. 160 p. Available at: (accessed 04.12.2019).
  9. Kupriyanovskii V.P., Sokolov I.A., Talashkin G.N., Dunaev O.N., Zazhigalkin AV., Raspopov V.V., Namiot D.E., Pokusaev O.N. Digital Collaborative Economy: Technologies, Platforms and Libraries in Industry, Construction, Transport and Logistics. International Journal of Open Information Technologies, 2017, vol. 5, no. 6, pp. 56-75. (In Russ.)
  10. Mass uniqueness: a global challenge for talent. BCG, 2019. 60 p. (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 04.12.2019).
  11. ILO Monitor: COVID19 and the world of work. Updated estimates and analysis. April 29, 2020. 23 p. Available at:  (accessed 04.12.2019).
  12. TECHNOLOGY AT WORK v2.0. The Future Is Not What It Used to be. Citi GPS: Global Perspectives & Solutions. January 2016. 156 p. Available at: (accessed 04.12.2019).
  13. OECD Employment Outlook 2019. “The Future of Work”. Available at:;jsessionid=JDha7IQzF3BKQLboQ8ElZ3Np.ip-10-240-5-17  (accessed 16.05.2021).
  14. Golodets O. 38 million employable Russians are busy with something incomprehensible. Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 03.04.2013. (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 16.05.2021).
  15. Sadovaya E., Khokhlova M. Employment policy and adaptation potential of the labor market in Russia. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2009, no. 10, pp. 81-93. (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 04.12.2019).
  16. Review and assessment of the development prospects of the global and Russian IT markets. Habr, 13.02.2015. (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 16.05.2021).
  17. Zemtsov S. Potential robotization and “the economy of ignorance” in the regions of Russia. XIX April Conference (NRU HSE), 10.04.2018. (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 04.12.2019).
  18. Sadovaya E.S. Professional education in the post-industrial economy. International trade and trade policy, 2019, no. 3, pp. 27-33. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.21686/2410-7395-2019-3-19-33
  19. A labor market that works: Connecting talent with opportunity in the digital age. McKinsey Global Institute, June 2015. 100 p. Available at: (accessed 04.12.2019).
  20. Kumpel’ A. “Avito Jobs”: “We create something that will allow people to find work as quickly as possible”. BFM.RU, March 9, 2021. (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 04.12.2019).
  21. Bobkov V.N. Precarious employment in the Russian Federation: state and directions of decline. Population, 2019, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 91-104. (In Russ.) Available at: DOI: 10.24411/1561-7785-2019-00018 (accessed 08.10.2019).
  22. Volovatov V., Grigor’eva I. Shadow vector: the volume of gray wages in Russia exceeded 13 trillion. Izvestiya, 07.08.2019. (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 08.10.2019).
  23. Kashepov A.V. The structure of employment in the economy by type of activity and major professional groups. Social and labor research, 2020, no. 1, pp. 19-30. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.34022/2658-3712-2020-38-1-19-30

Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Sadovaya E. Social Challenges of the Digital Economy: Russia in a Global Context . Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2021, vol. 65, No 9, pp. 14-24.

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment

Current Issue
2022, vol. 66, No. 1

Topical Themes of the Issue:

  • The Chinese Phenomenon of Economic Growth 
  • The Sino-US Conflict in the Light of History of International Relations 
  • The Post-Trump US Policy in Mena Region and the Interests of the Russian Federation
  • Phenomenon of Direct Investments that are not Associated with “Classic” TNCs
View This Issue (2022, vol. 66, No. 1)
Submit an Article
Dear Authors!

Please note that in order to ensure stability of work of the editorial office and the possibility of planning the filling of the actual headings of the journal, articles and other materials received by the editorial office after July 1 will most likely be published next year. If you plan to publish your article in the current year the material should be submitted to the editorial office no later than July 1 of the current year.

Dear Authors!

In order to avoid the multiplicity of copyright profiles and to unambiguously identify your works in the international and domestic databases of scientific citation while submitting manuscripts to our journal please specify your ORCID.

Dear Readers!  
Please note that the full-text versions of each issue of the journal are opened on our website after 6 months from the date of publication. Work on deepening the open full-text archive is in progress. As of the end of 2021, all articles and materials published in the journal since January 2008 are freely available.

Dear colleagues, authors and readers!
We kindly request you to turn to editor-in-chief and executive secretary directly concerning reviewing scientific publications in our journal. Only editor-in-chief takes decision on order and publication the reviews!

Dear Readers!
This is to inform the researchers of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations that electronic versions of the IV issue of 2020 and I issue of 2021 of French magazine Politique étrangère are now available. Those who are interested, please personally address to the editorial staff of MEMO Journal (room 18-17) with an electronic media.

In response to the challenges of our time the Editorial board continues to open new thematic rubrics:

“World Energy Sector after Pandemic”. We plan to publish articles presenting in-depth analysis of influence of Pandemic on the global energy sector and forecasts of further developments in its various branches.

“Civilization processes of modern development” is a new rubric opened by MEMO Journal in 2020. It will be devoted to the analysis of the influence of civilizational factors and inter-civilizational interactions on the political and socio-economic development of the world at whole, regions and countries.

“Africa today and tomorrow”The rubric devoted to contemporary issues of Africa which is attracting growing interest of the world's leading actors. We plan to publish the articles analyzing the status of statehood, socio-economic and political development of the countries of Black continent, as well as the integration processes between them.


"World Eсonomy and International Relations" announces a contest for the best joint academic publications of domestic and foreign researchers and experts in topical issues of the world economy and international relations. The winners will be selected according to the results of peer reviewing and discussion at the Editorial Board. The articles will be published in priority order.


The print version of “World Economy and International Relations” journal is distributed by advance subscription only, and is not offered for retail sale. To subscribe please address to any post office in Russia by referring to the Federal Postal Service Union Catalogue, section “ARSMI”, the journal index is 70542. The subscription may be made for the whole subscription period or starting from any nearest available month for desired number of issues.

To purchase the full-text electronic version of the journal’s issue/article please address to the WEB portal of Scientific electronic library or URL:

In journal
2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 |

The author’s opinions may not coincide with the position of editorial