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Why do people want changes? V.V. Petukhov's study of the reasons for the actualisation of the public demand for changes

Research Article

Roman V. Petukhov Candidate of Law
Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS, Moscow, Russia
ORCID ID=0000-0003-0940-9315
Why do people want changes? V.V. Petukhov's study of the reasons for the actualisation of the public demand for changes.
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2022. Vol. 13. No. 2. P. 60-72

The article was prepared with the support of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project No. 19-011-00277 “Social Transformation of Russian Society: Actors of the Request for Change”.

Topic: Sociology of change

For citation:
Petukhov R. V. Why do people want changes? V.V. Petukhov's study of the reasons for the actualisation of the public demand for changes. Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2022. Vol. 13. No. 2. P. 60-72
DOI: https://doi.org/10.19181/vis.2022.13.2S.816. EDN: EACUCM


The article presents the results of a three-year research project initiated and led by V.V. Petukhov. The project was his last independent study. Despite a serious illness, he continued to think about it until the last weeks of his life. The project is based on the desire to understand and explain the reasons for the actualisation of the public demand for change, that quickly became an alternative to the orientation towards stability that enjoyed the mass support of Russians in the late 2000s and early 2010s. The study showed that the main social prerequisite for the formation of a public demand for change was the growth in the number of "self-sufficient" Russians seeking to do without the help of the state in solving their problems. Its immediate causes are, firstly, the gradual destruction of the “paternalistic consensus”, secondly, the growth of social tension caused by the intrusion of public policy into the private lives of people, and, thirdly, the deterioration of the socio-economic situation of many Russians.

Content-wise, the demand for change is oriented towards preserving the attractor of development formed in the early 2000s, that implies an evolutionary, rather than a revolutionary change in society. It focuses on such basic ideas as minimising various social inequalities, ensuring social justice, democracy and the greatness of the state. It is dominated by a socio-economic rather than a political "agenda". The key actors in the demand for change are young Russians and representatives of the urban middle class, who demonstrate dissatisfaction with those aspects of their lives that determine their future, and who do not yet have the institutional capacity in Russia to change them.


demand for change, stability, social changes, democracy, civic participation, political and social activism, self-sufficiency

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