ISSN online: 2221-1616

Bulletin of the Institute of Sociology (Vestnik instituta sotziologii)

Research Article

Andrey L. Andreev Doctor of Philosophy, Professor,
Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS, Moscow, Russia; National Research University ”Moscow Power Engineering Institute“, Moscow, Russia
ORCID ID=0000-0003-1692-573X
"The Andropov problem": to a sociological characterisation of the Soviet society.
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2023. Vol. 14. No. 1. P. 29-44

Дата поступления статьи: 22.10.2022
Topic: Transformation of Russian society in sociological retrospective

For citation:
Andreev A. L. "The Andropov problem": to a sociological characterisation of the Soviet society. Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2023. Vol. 14. No. 1. P. 29-44


The topic of the article is the problem of “understanding” the Soviet society, interpreted, however, not in line with the so-called “understanding sociology”, but from the point of view of a “portrait” approach to describing particular societies, that allows to identify their characterological features and specifics. On the basis of the complementarity principle formulated by N. Bohr, methodological issues of implementing such an approach are considered, mainly in terms of integrating discourses and languages for describing social reality. As a starting point of the characterological model of a particular society, the article proposes to take its dominant motivations and the sociocultural environment that supports them. For this purpose the concept of a motivating environment of society is introduced. The social nature of the Soviet society is being characterised on the basis of a comparison of sociological research materials, statistical data, assessments of prominent Soviet figures and judgments of "ordinary Soviet people", as well as the author´s own observations. Based on the analysis of these materials, the author proves that the system-forming motivations of the Soviet everyday life are in fact bourgeois in nature. At the same time, against the general background of bourgeois modernity, the Soviet society stood out for its special characterological features, successively associated with the sociocultural trends of the last decades of the existence of the Russian Empire and the peculiarities of the Russian model of educational modernisation. First of all, it is the attitude to education and erudition, that we perceived not as instrumental, but as terminal values. Tracing the dynamics of the intellectual and spiritual needs of the Russian society over long historical intervals, the author considers the formation of such an attitude towards education as a cultural revolution. At the same time, the article substantiates a fundamentally new interpretation of the cultural revolution, that supports the idea that the beginning of the cultural revolution preceded the political revolutions of 1905 and 1917. The attitude to education as a terminal value largely determined the logic of the internal evolution of the Soviet society, during which specific forms of sociality developed in the USSR, that authors propose to define as the society of education.


Soviet society, mentality, values, cultural revolution, education, erudition, society of education

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