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Generational Differences in Russian Attitudes towards Democracy and the Economy

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The purpose of this article is to explore whether there is evidence of generational differences in Russian attitudes towards democracy. Are the attitudes, values and beliefs of those who came of age politically after the fall of the Soviet Union significantly different from those who did so in the Soviet period? The main finding is that the post-Soviet generation of Russians is generally more supportive of democratic values and institutions and a free market economy than the generations which came of age politically during the Soviet years. Such a result is not surprising. However, while support was found to be the case generally, the differences appear much more strongly for economic reforms than for political ones. In trying to explain why this should be, the authors argue that instrumentalist rather than culturalist considerations are paramount. Put another way, the current generation appears to be less interested in politics than in getting ahead in the world. If these differences are generational and not simply a function of aging, in the future this generation may be less interested in the public good than in their own.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Villanova University, PA 2: Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Publication date: 2008-10-01

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