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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
This article contains an analysis of the Russian population’s perception of modern Russian society’s social structure, together with those inequities which characterize the former, using as a basis materials from an all-Russian representative sociological study conducted by the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Sociology in 2018. It is revealed that the population is very sensitive to the problem of inequality: during recent years of crisis the problem has not only failed to fade into obscurity – the population has even become more sensitive to the issue. Revealed is a slow decrease in the potential for using inequality as motivation to boost productivity, since during the last five years there has been a reduction in Russian people’s tolerance both towards the basis for inequality, which many were previously more inclined to consider legitimate, and towards various displays of non-monetary inequities which are based on unequal income. Given the current institutional conditions, the existing inequities are generally considered by the population to be unjust. An apparent gap between “ideal” and “actual” models of modern Russian society’s social structure, as assessed by the Russian people, is indicative of an imbalance between the population’s reality and expectations. All of this leads to an increasing demand for “equalizing” and revising the social structure model. On the other hand, despite an apparent negative dynamic in recent years, most Russians are still willing to tolerate legitimate (in their understanding) inequities, based on differences in qualification, effort and result, and this could be a key to inequalities bearing a productive and stimulating role after all. The population tends to direct its demand for decreasing inequality towards the government, which likens Russia to other European countries. However, given how people assess the effectiveness of how the government tends to this issue, Russia’s population exhibits mostly negative evaluations. This means that social inequities currently pose a serious challenge for the government, since the outlined goals of “breakthrough” development for the country cannot be achieved without this problem being resolved.
social inequality, social structure, perception of inequality, social justice, public demand for reducing inequality, role of state.
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