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Actors of Russian modernization as perceived by population and in reality

Research Article

Natalia E. Tikhonova, Doctor of Sociology, Professor, main researcher, ,
Actors of Russian modernization as perceived by population and in reality.
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2011. Vol. 2. No. 2. P. 120-140

This Article is downloaded: 675 times
Topic: Topic of the Issue: The human capital of the Russian modernization

For citation:
Tikhonova N. E. Actors of Russian modernization as perceived by population and in reality. Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2011. Vol. 2. No. 2. P. 120-140


The article describes social groups with the greatest modernization potential, and also analyzes the key features of these groups. The contradictory role of the middle class, which is the only social group capable to play the role of the modernization key actor in the future, is shown. However, at the present time, because of its structural heterogeneity, the middle class is not at all ready to act as an independent force. The article also reflected the problem of the population’s vision of groups whose interests objectively come into conflict with the task of modernizing Russian society. The indisputable leaders of modernization in the eyes of the population are the workers and peasants, followed by the intelligentsia, youth, entrepreneurs and the middle class. The undisputed brake on the development of Russia in the eyes of its citizens are government officials who, in the conditions of the state’s leading role in the modernization processes assigned to them by the Russians, should act as the main actors of the latter. To better understand the modernization potential of the Russian society from the viewpoint of the possible modernization actors contained in it, the author has produced the “Atlas of social sympathies and antipathies” and the mental map of the world, which shows the place of the bearers of different types of worldview from among Russians in relation to the population of a number of countries, that shows the vector of development of processes of socio-cultural modernization in Russia. When compiling the Atlas, the peculiarities of the meanings behind certain norms and values were taken into account. Portraits of seven worldview clusters have been composed: Russian postmodernists, Russian modernists, successive traditionalists, traditionalists- ethacrats, disillusioned traditionalists, non-modernists, and protomodernists. However, the representatives of these groups, including those who are capable of being actors of modernization, are “scattered” around society as a whole. To the greatest extent they are represented, however, in the emerging middle class. This revealed the Russian specificity of the value of Russian modernists, respectively, as well as development of an alternative modern and an alternative model of “Modern Man”, which cannot be regarded simply as transitional. Therefore, without a significant improvement in the situation and the rapprochement of the modernist project with the basic norms and values of the Russians, it is impossible to count on the long-term support of this project, even from modern-oriented groups of the population.


modernization, values, cultural dynamics, mentality, Geert Hofstede’s techniques



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