Institute of Sociology
of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

POLIS (Political Studies)

2015, No 05

Topic: Sociology of Politics in Russia




Presenting this Issue (p. 6-7)

Chugrov S.V.

The Fourth “Berdyaev Readings” Forum. ISEPR. Vladivostok (p. 7-8)



Drobizheva L.M.,

Civic and Ethnic Identity and Perception of the Preferable State in Russia (p. 9-24)

Abstract. The article analyzes problems connected with the idea of civil identity in official discourse, among the scientific elite and in mass consciousness. Attention is focused on the dynamics of multiple identity, congruence and balance of civil and ethnic identity of Russians and other Russian nationalities. The analysis is based on representative all-Russian research, research in a number of republics conducted by the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2013‑2015 as well as discourse analysis of doctrinal and scientific materials. The topics: what do people understand of the term civic identity, and the place of the state in individual identity; how adequately the use of the concept of state-civil identity reflects the conception of Russians at the present stage; the balance of state-civil and ethnic identities among Russian and titular nationalities of the republics; evidence of the compatibility of these identities when they are positive; the importance and relevance of ethnic identity among Russians, which is no less than that for titular nationalities of the Russian republics, and civil identity for them is connected with ethnic identity more strongly than for people of other nationalities. The idea of a common state is the basic connecting segment between civil and ethnic identity, among Russians, and among other nationalities. But the idea of the preferred state differs in different social and ethnic environments and this requires the attention of society and the government to maintain loyalty to the state as a “common home of many peoples”. In order to strengthen civil identity it is important to develop a sense of responsibility for affairs in the country, which is currently shared by 30‑50% of citizens in different regions of the country.

Keywords. civil and state-civil identity; ethnic identity; identity of the Russian and titular nationalities of the republics; preferable state; status of ethnic Russians; equality of the people

Petukhov V.V.,

Participatory Democracy: Institutional Crisis and New Prospects (p. 25-48)

Abstract. The article is devoted to the study of problem of the evolution as of the democratic values in the structure of the mass consciousness of Russian citizens as of different forms of political and nonpolitical participation. The authors stress that contemporary Russia faces the deep institutional crisis that, from one side, leads to establishment of the government ownership of many structures of the civil societies’ structures, and from the other side that stimulates emergence and development of the varied self-organization practices of the civil initiatives and horizontal communication connections. From this point of view, the availability of formal democratic institutions, that are often imitational or “frozen”, is better than their total absence, because one can find here the ability to return rapidly to the early democratic practices and to transform into the new actual initiatives.

It is also noted in the article that the decrease of the interest of Russian citizens to the “great politics”, that is fixing by mass polls especially among youngsters, is accompanied by latent polarization of the vast segments of various subcultures and non-formal organizations. At the same time, one can also find the opposite tendency – of “socialization” of political movements. For this reason the authors conclude that the recession of the protest activity is not the same as the recession of the political and social activity in the state. Rather one can talk about the redistribution of the flows of activity that can be fixed as in the forms as in the objects of its realization.

The authors also analyze the attitude of the Russian citizens to the different forms and practices of the “social and state partnership”. As the authors note, Russian citizens almost totally perceive as the “social and state partnership” the initiatives in the social sphere (health care, education, active aging, adaptation of the socially vulnerable groups) and such spheres of co-participation as the environment protection activity, civil rights and philanthropy initiatives. The option “dialog between generations” has here the unexpectedly high rating (30%). This could probably be caused by the belief that traditional institutes of retranslation of the generations’ experience (school, family, media) couldn’t solve this problem and should be amplified with civil institutes, public opinion leaders, new forms of communication etc. At the same time, constructive interaction between state bodies and social institutes is possible just if being based, firstly, on the partition of the influence spheres, that is convenient for both sides, and, secondly, when applying more actively than today to the institutions that functionally focus on such interaction (these are mainly local self-government bodies and various local communities). But as the authors note, that could be done not when their activity would be radically rebuild (one could remember lots of such rebuilding’ attempts), but due to the overcoming of duality of the local self-government bodies, that leads to the situation of the “self-management without self-organization”. The authors argue the need for establishment of the local authority bodies with the clearly defined powers and at the same time with the various canals, technologies and forms of socially independent action, that closely interact as with it as with each others. Special attention in the article is paid to the analyses of possible mechanisms of reaching of this goal, firstly, by the creation of the conditions of the real inclusion of persons into the process of the municipal management.

Keywords. democracy; political institutions; civil society; participation; political activity; social activity; public-private partnership; self-government, local communities

Nikovskaya L.I., Yakimets V.N.

Formation and Advocacy of the Public Interests in Russia: from “Administrative” to Partner Model (p. 49-63)

Abstract. The paper discusses the formation and advocacy of public interests. It is shown that under conditions of increasing complexity and multidimensionality of the transforming Russian socium, as well as emerging pluralism of socio-political interests, the request of civil society for consistency of the institute of advocacy and promotion of public interests in the public sphere is growing. Modality of this request is increased by the crisis of social development. With the dominance of administrative-bureaucratic approaches to building public policy a falsification of feedbacks is occurred along with dysfunction of the public sphere in the direction of strengthening the influence of corporate and bureaucratic interests against the public interests. That inevitably leads to increased social tensions and protests as well to a loss of confidence in state activities and decline of legitimacy of political power. The development of institutions of public participation, mechanisms of intersectoral social partnerships contribute to improvement of interaction between government and society, as well as to effectiveness of social representation of public interests in the conditions of incompleteness of the processes of socio-political transformation; it also stimulates the public administration reform in the direction of greater openness and publicity. That allows to more adequately take into account the increasing pluralism and mobility of social groups and their socio-cultural preferences. Improvement in the functioning of the institute of formation and advocacy of public interests raises importance of the category of citizenship, which is considered to be an important resource and the basis of raising the quality and democratic character of modern public administration. The article also summarizes the findings of case studies dealing with identification and advocacy of public interests in three Russian regions (Kostroma, Tatarstan Republic and Yaroslavl).

Keywords. public policy; consistency of institutions; public interests; government; civil society; public participation



Kravchenko S.A.,

Risks of Energy Security: the Need for Humanistic Geopolitics (p. 64-74)

Abstract. The article analyzes the risks of energy security in the context of functioning of a modern main oil pipeline being a complex type of network transport the intensive development of which was claimed by the realities of globalization and the increasingly complex social and cultural dynamics. It is proved that the neo-liberal geopolitics because of its basic principles – freedom of enterprise, formal rationalism, pragmatism and mercantilism – not only failed to solve the problems of the declared equal access for residents of Europe and the world to energy resources, but also gave birth to man-made risks of local conflicts around the construction and functioning of pipelines with their trend to become globalized. According to the authors, the management of the arising risks and minimization of their negative consequences lies in the ways of the humanistic script of the development of the partnership among countries and peoples and the harmonization of relations of socium with nature. The concrete specific driver of this process would be to move from the neo-liberal geopolitics to the humanist geopolitics the consolidated the goals of which are the search and establishment of new forms of humanism concerning human existential needs including the achievement of the indivisible energy security.

Keywords. risks; energy security; mainline of oil transportation; neoliberal geopolitics; humanistic geopolitics

Pantin V.I., Lapkin V.V.

Ethnopolitical and Ethnosocial Processes in Post-Soviet Countries (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine Cases) (p. 75-93)

Abstract. Analyzed in the article are the key trends of ethnopolitical and ethnosocial development in the largest post-Soviet states – Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. The criteria and foundations of such comparative analysis are formulated and the main problems of nation building in post-Soviet states are shown. Special attention is paid to the relationship between ethnic and civic components of identity, as well as to the identity policy in every state in question. It is mentioned that the formation of civic identity and civil society in post-Soviet countries is a very difficult process. To a large extent these difficulties are caused by the unfinished processes of nation-building and by the ineffective political and economic institutions. It is demonstrated that situation in the field of interethnic relations and in the sphere of national identity is quite different in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. The consolidation of polyethnic nation and the formation of civic identity in Russian Federation is a rather slow process; however, the country possesses important long-term traditions of identity policy and interethnic conflicts regulation. In Belarus, the Soviet identity dominated in the 1990’s and the 2000’s, while nowadays the new generation wishes to form its own national identity. President Nazarbayev in Kazakhstan tries to shape a complex identity in order to stabilize the social and political situation. This complex identity includes ethnic, national and supranational (so-called Eurasian) components. It is concluded that the experience of formation of such complex identity is useful for Russia and other post-Soviet states. Just the opposite, the social and cultural situation in Ukraine is very difficult: the country undergoes a serious social and ethnic polarization, which invokes political confrontation. These processes result in the crisis of Ukrainian statehood and in different social, political and interethnic conflicts.

Keywords. ethnopolitical processes; interethnic relations; comparative analysis; identity; post-Soviet states; Russia; Belarus; Kazakhstan; Ukraine

Lyublinsky V.V.

The Political Dimension of Social Inequality and Poverty (Comparative Experience) (p. 94-106)

Abstract. The article is devoted to the analysis of trends and political aspects of social inequality. The author argues that the issues of inequality move to the center of sociopolitical relations. The future of modern civilization largely depends on the transition to positive patterns of inequality and social justice that promotes formation of growth potential and social cohesion. But the process is highly controversial: the type of inequality based on material wealth is still a dominant feature. Since the end of the 20th century social policy in Western countries has undergone inadequate changes. The growing impact of global competition enhances the growth of poverty and social inequality which is associated with significant increase in unemployment, disproportionate trends in income growth of social and professional groups, and cuts in social programs. There are signs of restructuring of inequality patterns. Despite some improvements, social inequality and poverty are significant and remain a serious problem throughout the world, including developed countries. This leads to the rise of the proportion of citizens who experience a direct decline in living standard. The threat is that high levels of inequality define considerable distinctions in social opportunities that create a permanent and deep conflict of social interests which can be transferred to the political level. As a result, the European social model which has contributed to significant poverty reduction, promoted social growth and social cohesion is under increasing pressure. As for Russia, it needs a strategic consolidation with high degree of social cohesion on major issues, especially of internal development. The perspective depends on the amplification of factors of cohesion, and therefore, measures designed to tackle extreme inequality and narrow the space of social injustice. This involves transformation of sociopolitical strategy aimed at the alignment of social opportunities, the growth of progressive taxation of super-high revenues, capital and wealth. Russia needs a socially balanced political strategy with the emphasis on the adequate contribution to the process of modernization from social groups which control the most part of national wealth. Achieving social and political consensus in Russia on these issues is essential and can open the door to stable and long-term social cohesion, effectively address the strategic issues of sustainable development and growth of social welfare.

Keywords. inequality; poverty; social policy; social justice; social cohesion; social balance

Concept of Tolerance in the Ideological Confrontation of European Think Tanks (p. 107-118)

Abstract. Nowadays tolerance has become one of the basic elements of European integration process and is often represented by politicians as a form of liberal ideology, which is based on the principles of citizens equality and opponent respect. At the same time common understanding of the tolerance in political science has not yet settled, and many attempts to legally formalize the principles of tolerant behavior, making them mandatory, constantly cause many protests. The main conflict on this issue formed in the political expertise sphere and is represented by the set of analytical centers with liberal and conservative orientation. Most of liberal think tanks take a proactive stance, trying to regularize the sphere of EU citizens tolerant interaction through the adoption of new laws prohibiting all forms of possible discrimination. Conservative think tanks, on the contrary, appeal to the classic social values, including family, religion, language, culture. Identification of the “right” approach to the tolerance interpretation became the priority for the development of the whole European integration policy, but at the same time, the constant appeal to society’s values leads to the devaluation of these values and the loss of European society compromise culture. In recent years the opposition of conservative and liberal approaches led to the crisis of the European tolerance concept which under the influence of several private positions lost its original content given by UNESCO Tolerance Declaration. Under the influence of real policy, today even more often instead of social cohesion, tolerance begins to symbolize the utopia of the harmonious existence and the illusory nature of the human rights and freedoms categories.

Keywords. tolerance; think tanks; discrimination; horizontal control; European Union; The Equal Treatment Directive; European framework national statute for the promotion of tolerance

Influence of Cultural Context on Formation of Science Policy (French Experience) (p. 119-129)

Abstract. The article examines the science policy as an element of national public policy. The author gives the definition of the term “science policy” and analyzes all the stages of formation of science policy in France. Based on the concept of the Neal, Smith and McCormick, based on the fact that the development of science policy is related to the beginning of the space era and the launch of the first satellite by USSR, the author analyzes in detail the formation of science policy in France after WW II. A special role in this formation played the activity of Pierre Mendès-France, and Charles de Gaulle in the 1950s. The author also investigates the background of the French science policy and begins with the analysis of the establishment in the 16th century of the Collège de France. The author attempts to identify the national specifics of research activities in France and its impact on the actual science policy. The existence of axiological pluralism in science suggests that scientific communities in different countries are influenced by their national cultures, which consist of different sets of values. To make a structure of the model for research culture in France, the author uses the description model of national cultures composed by D. Oyzerman for describing culture as a set of three interrelated sets of factors. The first group includes religious and philosophical beliefs, historical context and linguistic tradition. The second involves social institutions associated with the legal and economic systems of society, as well as education and upbringing. The third one is internalized by the individual part of the culture, which includes cultural norms and values. Guided by the proposed model, the author examines the scientific culture in France in terms of three dimensions: linguo-cultural, institutional, and axiological. This approach allows to cover fully all the most important factors affecting the national peculiarities of French research school, and demonstrate inconsistency of the positivist interpretation of scientific knowledge as based on universality and supra-national nature.

Keywords. France; scientific community; science policy; sociology of science; scientific culture; research culture; characteristic of French science



Musikhin G.I.

Conceptualization of Political Symbolization (p. 130-144)

Abstract. The article introduces new perspective on political symbolization as a state of political reality. Availability of symbolic influence in political context implies common knowledge; nevertheless, it does not reflect predetermined reaction to following information. Therefore, we have to discern between semantics (meaning of the language) and sense of the conversations (meaning of the speech itself). The article draws substance of political symbolization from the theory of the symbol, introduced by German romantics, who highly valued symbols as a matter of human aesthetics. Author exposes the contradiction between the use of the symbol’s “privileged status” in the dimension of aesthetics and neglect of its very essence within social sciences. Political symbolization is conceptualized in terms of multiplicity of unstated meanings in communication within political context. These findings of the article have the significant implication: political symbolization is a rare and unpredictable phenomenon; it becomes “visible” as if it has been happening in the reality, but still in collective perception due to dispositions of interpreters political symbolization is presented more essential than the viscera of life.

Keywords. political symbol; German romanticism; symbol; sign; co-relation between symbol and sign; non-conventionalism of symbolization; interpretation of symbols

Yanitsky O.N.

Critical State of an Environment: the Methodology and Theoretical Issues (p. 145-159)

Abstract. The author substantiates the necessity of development of the ‘science of the critical states’ of a society and its cities as an integrated branch of interdisciplinary knowledge and know-how. Recently, the situation of a critical, that is, urgent state has become a normal modus vivendi of various communities and societies across the world. The economic and/or political crises come up and down but the critical areas are still mushroomed elsewhere. The theoretical and methodological basement of this new branch of science is the concept of ‘society of all-embracing risk’ proposed and developed by the author in 1980‑90s. The subject matter of the proposed complex discipline is the forces which generate the critical situations; their disposition, resources and strength; their values, strategies, tactics and action repertoire; an environmental dimension of the emergence and evolution of such situations; a changing quality of social capital of affected people, local and abroad; and characteristics of post-critical states and politics of their rehabilitation. The indispensable prerequisites for the establishing of such discipline are as follows: full-time integration of various natural, technical and social professionals and politicians; a capability of such interdisciplinary teams to play a double-role of insider and outsider in relation to a critical situation; and a long-term and permanent monitoring of its evolution.

Keywords. science of critical states of communities and societies; ‘society of all-embracing risk; environment; media; trans-disciplinary analysis; full-time integrators; bottom-up approach; Russia



Galkin A.A., Krasin Yu.A.

Perestroika – Glance from the 30-Year Distance (p. 160-174)

Abstract. A “round table” devoted to the 30th anniversary of perestroika (1985‑1991) was held in the Department of analysis of socio-political processes of the Institute of Sociology, RAS in May 2015. The researchers of the Department (Yu. Krasin, A. Galkin, A. Veber, F. Kuriukin, L. Nikovskaya, V. Pantin, I. Yazhborovskaya and others) took part in the discussion. This article tries to comprehend the approaches revealed by the exchange of opinions. Glance at the perestroika from the present convinces that despite sharp criticism, it stays in the memory of millions as one of the few landmarks considered to be “a moment of truth” in Russian history. A remote time distance gives us possibility to perceive the meaning of perestroika more clearly, to identify its place in the chain of historical events of our epoch. Perestroika was a purposeful movement; its goals were humanistic and were met by means of their achievement. The logistic conception worked out on this basis, in spite of its problems and omissions, outlined the contours of transition to a contemporary democratic society. This feature positively distinguishes perestroika from the next stages of the Russian reformation. When enumerating holes and mistakes of perestroika, one should remember that it was interrupted on its liftoff; its purpose was never fully achieved. The future destiny of the Russian reformation depends on whether this process would be directed in the channel of evolutionary democratization of state and society. The main nexuses and factors of the democratization, as one can see them today, are: breakthrough to the innovative type of development, demanding the rise of role and prestige of science; “cultivation” and professionalization of the state; broadening of functions of the civil society, involving it into the space of power relations. Hope and chance for successful completion of the democratic reformation of society, which was initiated 30 years ago by the perestroika, are closely connected with uncoupling of these nexuses.

Keywords. perestroika; democracy; authoritarianism; reformation of the Russian society; logistics of perestroika; new political thinking



Shaping the Elections Mechanism. How It Was in Moscow (p. 175-181)

Abstract. In his exclusive interview to the ‘Polis’ journal, one of the most informed representative of the Moscow political and intellectual elite, deputy of the Moscow City Duma Vladimir Platonov, who during 20-year period chaired this highest legislative and public body of the Russian capital, scrutinizes sophisticated political twists and turns and under-the-carpet bargaining around the formation of the Moscow City Duma. The interview focuses on the sensitive points of electoral guidelines – i.e. the genesis of a new political and civic mentality of the electorate, the shaping of electoral mechanisms in such a key region as Moscow City, the problems of political communications and innovations in the sphere of electoral techniques and legal procedures.

Keywords. Russia; Moscow; Moscow City Duma; Vladimir Platonov; deputies; election; referendum



On Russia in the World and the World in Russia (N.E. Bazhanova: Ad Memoriam) (p. 182-185)

Abstract. Natalia and Evgeny Bazhanov’s book “Dialogue and the Clash of Civilizations” analyzes current international relations, Russian foreign policy and some domestic problems. According to the authors, in the interdependent world, the role of nation-states remains pivotal. Thus, the authors insist, Russian foreign policy is multipolar and balanced, coordinating the cooperation with Western and Oriental countries. It is impossible to reach the main Russia’s goal, economic growth, without democracy.

Keywords. Natalia Bazhanova; Evgueny Bazhanov; Russian foreign policy; Russian domestic policy; international relations; clash of civilizations

Why Fair Elections are Worth a Damn (p. 186-191)

Abstract. Reviewed is the monograph written by Pippa Norris (Norris P. Why Electoral Integrity Matters. N.Y.: Cambridge University Press. 2014. 297 p.), McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. The book seeks to answer the question: what happens when elections violate the international standards of electoral integrity. The author, basing on elaborate and diligent empirical study, comes to a number of important conclusions about the ability of ordinary citizens to estimate electoral integrity and the political consequences of fraudulent or rigged elections. Firstly, ordinary citizens are usually aware of many types of electoral malpractices and therefore can make reasoned judgments about the quality of elections in their countries. Secondly, high level of skepticism with regard to electoral integrity is linked to the legitimacy of a political system. Thirdly, lack of legitimacy entails certain consequences for patterns of voting and political participation, as well as protest activism. Fourthly, doubts in electoral integrity can trigger political violence in some cases. Such an outcome is highly likely in hybrid regimes. Finally, fraudulent or rigged contests under certain circumstances can push changes in a political system itself. The reviewed work contributes considerably to understanding of the linkage between elections and political processes on micro- and macro- levels. The book, undoubtedly, will be useful to those who are interested in electoral studies, problems of democratization and understanding of protest political activity.

Keywords. elections; electoral integrity; electoral malpractices; legitimacy; political behavior; political violence; democracy


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