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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Addressing the works of V.V. Petukhov, dedicated to the study of public opinion dynamics, including on issues of political self-determination, the author examines the impact of changes in the socio-economic and political situation on the preferences of Russians. In current sociological data, the author finds confirmation of the ideas of V.V. Petukhov about consistent attempts at ideological self-determination of Russians, despite the constant impact on society of crisis events of various origins, social turbulence and limited opportunities for political representation.
Although the request of Russian society in the 1990s for democratic reforms was replaced in the 2000s by skepticism about the applicability of Western models of development, key democratic principles remained socially significant: the lifting of the ban on public criticism of senior officials, the expansion of publicity and freedom of speech, the elimination of censorship, the democratisation of elections, etc. The focus of many Russians on private problems by the time of election campaigns in 2019-2021 was replaced by a growing interest in political participation and ideological self-determination, and in 2021 about a third of citizens could clearly define their own ideological and political views.
If the limited possibilities of party-political representation in the 2000–2010s stimulated public demand for ideological self-determination, then the categories of identity circulating in the official discourse gave many people a reason to think about their meanings, and even change their own ideas. This happened with the category “Russian”, the content of which has become clearer over the past few years, and the subtle components of identity have lost popularity. The idea that Russians are all those who honestly work for the benefit of Russia has ceased to be popular. The proportion of those who agree with the most popular logic of interpreting Russian identity, that suggests that a Russian is one who grew up and was brought up in the traditions of Russian culture, has slightly decreased, while the popularity of defining Russian identity through the native Russian language, Russian origin and self-determination after 2014 increased. It is possible that the search for meaningful attributes of Russian identity, coinciding in the view of many with Russian civil identity, along with support for the ideas of national diversity, is an attempt by Russian society to “assemble” a new social consensus and search for the foundations of a new national mythology.
youth, activism, identity, social solidarity, national mythology