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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Following the results of a sociological study conducted in 2018 by means of questionnaire method with a probability quota sample (N=420), this article analyzes the various interpretations of patriotism according to public opinion in the city of Saratov. It has been established that, according to its inhabitants, the word “Homeland” most often implies Russia, “small homeland” – one’s own city or family (less often one’s home neighborhood). The meaningful interpretation of this term is associated with socially significant activity, activism, and social responsibility. Basic displays of patriotism, according to respondents, are considered to be army service, patriotic upbringing of one’s children, abidance to the law and diligent work for society’s benefit. Most of Saratov’s inhabitants consider themselves to be patriots to one degree or another. However, what’s concerning is the fact that one out of every three city residents – especially among youths – denies such values. Youth patriotism is more oriented towards love for Russia. The elder generation builds its patriotic sentiments around love for their families, close ones, their home town and the USSR. Meanwhile most citizens (albeit to various degrees) draw a distinction between the terms “patriotism” and “nationalism”. The latter bears more of a negative connotation. Generally citizens (especially among the elder generation) believe that, after the USSR’s downfall, the teaching of patriotic values has “degenerated”, despite the government and the president taking certain steps towards increasing the level of patriotism within society. It is during such periods of change, like we are witnessing today, when the values of preceding generations start to contradict reality, and when the younger generation assumes the role of bearer of new knowledge and aspirations, due to possessing a more acute sense of society’s major issues and the will to openly speak out. Thereby not only the elder generation, but also the younger generation plays an equal role as a subject of developing society’s patriotic values. However, the profound differences between generations are proportional to the dynamics and scale of change within society, and the degree of mutual influence between generations acts as one of the major factors for stabilizing society, which includes establishing patriotic values. Increasing the efficiency of practices in this area, together with more extensive coverage of such practices in mass media and the internet, would aid in the development of historical and socio-cultural memory.
patriotism, homeland, motherland, generation.
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