Basic Human Values of Russians: Both Different from and Similar to Other Europeans

36 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2013

See all articles by Vladimir Magun

Vladimir Magun

National Research University Higher School of Economics; Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) - The Institute of Sociology

Maksim Rudnev

National Research University Higher School of Economics; Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) - The Institute of Sociology

Date Written: August 28, 2013

Abstract

The basic values of the Russian population and the population of 31 European countries were compared with data obtained by the Schwartz Questionnaire, embedded into the fourth round of the European Social Survey. Conclusions about similarities and differences of basic human values between Russia and other European countries confirm the thesis that Russia is a country which shares a general logic of cultural and social development with the rest of the world and which has a lot in common with countries of a similar economic level and recent political history. In most value comparisons, Russia appeared to be closer to Post-Communist and Mediterranean countries than to Western European or Nordic countries.

The fact that Russians are less committed than most Europeans to the values of caring, tolerance, equality, and ecology, and, conversely, more committed than most Europeans to the competitive “zero-sum” values of personal success, wealth, and power, confirms the validity of current moral criticisms of mass values and morals in Russia. The other disturbing fact is the relatively low commitment of Russians to the values of Openness to Change and, conversely, a strong focus on Conservation. So basic values of Russians create a cultural barrier to the development of an innovation-based economy and to the societal development as a whole.

Thanks to a shift from country-level analysis to individual- and group-level analysis, we challenge the notion of the “average Russian” and demonstrate that the Russian value majority consists of two subtypes. Russia also has a sizable value minority and its members share values non-typical for most Russians. Two value minorities, which embrace 19% of the Russian population, are more committed to values of Openness and Self-Transcendence than the rest of the Russian population. These value groups are typical for European countries with more prosperous and happy populations and we can hypothesize that in Russia they are also resource groups for the country’s advancement.

Keywords: basic values, European Social Survey, cross-country comparisons, within-country heterogeneity, culture barrier

JEL Classification: Z10

Suggested Citation

Magun, Vladimir and Rudnev, Maksim, Basic Human Values of Russians: Both Different from and Similar to Other Europeans (August 28, 2013). Higher School of Economics Research Paper No. WP BRP 23/SOC/2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2317178 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2317178

Vladimir Magun (Contact Author)

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) - The Institute of Sociology

Moscow
Russia

Maksim Rudnev

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) - The Institute of Sociology

Moscow
Russia

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