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Foreword - Российское общество и вызовы времени. Книга вторая

Российское общество и вызовы времени. Книга вторая
под ред. Горшкова М.К., Петухова В.В.
2015 г.
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450 Р

Dear reader, you are holding the second book in the series Russian society and challenges of the time, which is implemented in the framework of the Russian Science Foundation (RSF) by researchers from the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IS RAS) based on the analysis of the results of nationwide sociological research[1]. Conducted in the format of monitoring at a six monthly interval, such research focuses on the study of transformation processes taking place in contemporary Russia in the context of real social situations.

The first wave of sociological monitoring in the project announced RSF (October 2014) coincided with a sharp change in the foreign policy situation, supplemented by internal crises in the financial and economic sphere. Therefore, the purpose of the first wave of monitoring was to measure and understand the condition of Russian society in its «entry» into the new conditions of existence. The set aim required development of a program of research in the process that would both take into account the impact on the public consciousness and behavior of Russians as well as domestic socio-economic, geopolitical, ethno-religious and socio-cultural factors, as well as foreign policy and economic methods of pressure on the state of mind and mood of Russian society, and reaction of Russians to the changed situation.

As the analysis of the results of the first wave monitoring have shown, underlying the functioning of modern Russian society, the basic factors have not suffered any profound transformation, but there are various situational changes that could affect the overall structure of the population, produce decadent mass mentality, and provoke widespread protests and distrust of citizens in state institutions. On the contrary, the desire of a number of leading Western countries to «punish» Russia for its reunification with Crimea, with the support of the Russian-speaking population in the south-east of Ukraine, caused a rise in society of a patriotic mindset, and even consolidation of ideologically opposing social groups and political movements of Russian citizens. As for the context of the current time, the most important of its characteristics and indicators of the survey revealed the following:

  • with all the severity and criticality assessment of situation in the country, the state of social well-being of Russians has not gone beyond parameters characteristic of the previously observed period of stabilization and destabilization of the situation in society;
  • conflicting mass judgments that people identify with emerging problems of everyday life appeared mainly in the understanding of co-dependence of internal and external factors impacting on the development of the social situation;
  • there was a change of priorities in the assessment of the main sources of threats to Russia in the mass consciousness: if in 2013, the main things for our fellow citizens were internal threats, then in 2014, the focus shifted to the external;
  • the main link joining the opinion of Russians on events and processes which may come from a danger to the country was the Ukrainian crisis: drawing Russia into it and NATO’s eastward expansion, and the related injection of international tension, began to form, according to Russian citizens, the basis of the agenda reflecting the most dangerous trends;
  • the attitude of various segments of the population to Western sanctions established against Russia were generally restrained, conditioned by their usual way of life and well-established level of consumption, and the willingness of society to economize, and support for measures to strengthen the power of Russia was sufficiently high[2].

In general, as shown by the autumn (2014) national survey, the socio-economic, spiritual and psychological life of Russian society that emerged in the previous decade largely contributed to the adaption of mass segments of the population the new realities, which «softened» the acuteness of problems appearing. How significant in terms of time and volume can such a resource be for mass segments of the population? What role do basic factors of life existence and development of Russian society play in its stability and reliability? These and related issues had to be answered by the second «wave» of sociological monitoring, carried out by the research team of IS RAS in March 2015

Among the main problems the scientific and analytical program of the second «wave» of monitoring set out to answer, special attention was paid to the following:

  • the impact of the most acute phase of the economic crisis on the daily lives of the socio-demographic and occupational groups;
  • the state of institutions of social and political participation of Russian citizens, and the formation of new practices of self-government and their role in addressing pressing problems of Russians;
  • the potential of integration of the multi-ethnic space of Russia, relations of civil and ethnic identity of Russians in the context of challenges of the time;
  • religious meanings prevailing in post-Reform Russia and their impact on the relationships of a religious-confessional and secular state and public life;
  • new subjects and new trends in the sphere of ethics and practices of communications and their impact on the socio-psychological atmosphere in the country, and mass consciousness and behavior of Russian citizens.

As in the first «wave» of monitoring, the volume of selective total of the research amounted to 4,000 respondents, representing the adult population aged 18 years and older by age cohorts.

The representativeness of sociological information was ensured by the use of a multi-stage model of regionalization sampling with quota selection of units of observation (respondents) at the last stage. At the first stage, sampling was carried out by the regionalization of territorial economic regions of the Russian Federation in accordance with guidelines developed and applied by Rosstat for monitoring socio-economic indicators by trend. In accordance with Rosstat, the total sample was segmented according to two criteria: age and type of settlement.

The second stage of the sampling includes the selection of typical subjects of the Russian Federation within each territorial and economic region. The structure of regionalization is the two megalopolises and 19 other constituent entities of the Russian Federation.

Megalopolises: Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Territorial-economic areas:

  1. Northern District — Arkhangelsk Region.
  2. Northwest District — Novgorod Region.
  3. Central District — Moscow, Ryazan, Yaroslavl, Tula Region.
  4. Volga-Vyatka District — Nizhny Novgorod Region.
  5. Central Black Earth District — Voronezh Region.
  6. Volga District — Republic of Tatarstan, Saratov Region.
  7. North Caucasian District — Rostov Region, Stavropol Territory, North Ossetia.
  8. Urals District — Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk Region.
  9. West Siberian District — Kemerovo, Novosibirsk Region.
  10. East-Siberian Region — Krasnoyarsk Territory, Irkutsk Region.
  11. Far Eastern District — Khabarovsk Territory.
  12. Republic of Crimea.

Third level sampling: within the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, further regionalization was implemented, which is based on the statistical quotas by degree of urbanization of 5 types of communities: megalopolises; administrative centers of constituent entities of the Russian Federation; district administrative centers; urban type settlements; villages.

At the fourth stage sampling, i.e. with direct selection of respondents for the survey by interviewers at set quotas, the quotas were mainly respected by major socio-professional indicators of the respondents[3], and age groups in five age cohorts: 18–30 years; 31–40 years; 41–50 years; 51–60 years; 60 years and older.

There is then an analysis of sociological data collected in the course of the second «wave» of sociological monitoring of the status and dynamics of Russian society in the context of the new realities of the time.

The nationwide research and preparation of materials for the scientific monograph were undertaken by a working group composed of: M. K. Gorshkov (head of research, preface, chapter 16, conclusion, general editing), E. M. Arutyunova (chapter 10), R. E. Barash (chapter 18), Yu. A. Gavrilov (chapters 14, 15), L. M. Drobizheva (chapter 9, 11), I. M. Kuznetsov (chapter 11), N.v. Latova (chapter 1), Yu. P. Lezhnina (chapter 4), S.v. Mareeva (chapter 3), M. M. Mchedlova (section IV), E. I. Pakhomova (chapter 17), v. V. Petukhov (deputy head of research, chapter 5, 7, 17), R.v. Petukhov (chapter 7, 8), S.v. Ryzhova (chapter 9), N. N. Sedova (chapter 16), I. N. Trofimova (chapter 6), N. E. Tikhonova (chapter 2), A. G. Shevchenko (chapter 14, 15).

Scientific editor — N. N. Niks.

Endnotes

1. RSF project No 14-28-00218. «The dynamics of social transformation of modern Russia’s socio-economic, political, socio-cultural and ethno-religious contexts».

2. For more information, please refer to: Russian society and challenges of the time. Book One. Edited by Gorshkov, M. K., Petukhov, v. V.Moscow: Izdatelstvo Ves Mir, 2015. Pp. 316–332.

3. At the stage of quota selection of respondents, equal share of quotas was observed for the following social and professional criteria: 1 — working industries, construction of mines without higher education; 2 — engineers in industry, construction of mines with higher education; 3 — employees in trade, catering, services, transportation, public utilities with comprehensive education (or less), primary and secondary vocational education; 4 — employees of financial and insurance companies, trade, services, transport, utilities with higher education; 5 — workers (employees) of universities, schools, health, management (administrative, political), science, art, media, higher education; 6 — employees (technicians, operators, librarians, secretaries, nurses, and others) at universities, schools, health, management (administrative, political), science, media, comprehensive or secondary vocational education; 7 — military, Ministry of Internal Affairs workers, customs, tax services with any education; 8 — students of higher education institutions and pupils; 9 — inhabitants of villages and settlements.

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