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Tag: Society

Why Russians still regret the Soviet collapse

In 2019, a Levada Centre poll revealed that 66 per cent of Russians regretted the collapse of the Soviet Union while just a quarter did not. This represented an increase of 11 per cent in ten years. In the same time, Russia’s economy shrank by 23.2 per cent. The most stated, and consistent, reason for regret was the “destruction of a unified economic system”.

On December 25th 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev admitted defeat live on Russian television. The red flag came down from the Kremlin after more than 70 years. Thirty years later, Muscovites found themselves voting in a referendum on whether to restore Felix Dzerzhinsky’s statue to Lubyanka Square (headquarters of the FSB, formerly the KGB). Its toppling symbolised the rejection of Soviet socialism and a repudiation of the October 1917 revolution, which few initially believed in. Yet since 1991, a clear majority of Russians have consistently regretted the USSR’s collapse.

April 25, 2022 - James C. Pearce

Uncovering the paradoxes of values in Ukrainian Society

This past February was seven years since the climax of the Maidan and the sniper shootings. From today’s perspective those events are intrinsically connected to the attempted annexation of Crimea by Russia and its aggression in eastern Ukraine. When we now ask people about their feelings to those events, we cannot disregard everything we now know and all that has happened since.

Different values and attitudes and their prevalence in different societies are probably one of the most popular topics to study in social science in general and sociology in particular. Quite often we even tend to think about other societies in terms of cultural stereotypes. Data collected from a number of surveys and opinion polls over the last two years suggest some noticeable changes towards values and attitudes within Ukrainian society. Eighteen per cent of people in Ukraine think they are very happy and 60 per cent see themselves as rather happy, according to the latest edition of the World Value Survey; these numbers are 10 per cent higher than the previous edition in 2011. Similar trends are seen in other surveys with different methodologies.

June 23, 2021 - Anna Osypchuk

Incident. Or three short essays on solidarity

In the absence of civic traditions and positive social capital, society often organises itself along mafia-style norms. Ukrainian society after communism developed in two different ways: it developed mafia structures centred on the post-communist authorities, as well as grass-root civic networks as an alternative to these hierarchies. Every Ukrainian revolution since then can be seen as a clash of two different projects of state-nation building.

July 7, 2020 - Mykola Riabchuk

How the coronavirus may force us into an existential crisis

The coronavirus could become a catalyst for a systemic transformation of the multipolar order, like the collapse of the Berlin Wall was to the bipolar order. It has further highlighted the limitations of binary systems based on any one-size-fits-all models. Neoliberalism teaches that humans are rational fools motivated by self-interest, but the dual-threat of coronavirus and climate change illustrates the need for a new paradigm, one in which individuals are encouraged to achieve balance between love of self and love for society.

April 21, 2020 - Epidamn Zeqo

In the name of Matilda

The controversy surrounding the recent Russian film Matilda reveals a great deal about Russian society today. While the film, billed as a big-budget historical romance of Tsar Nicholas II, fails to impress, the social sensitivities that have emerged as a result of the debate on the film illustrate a dangerous rise in extreme nationalist sentiments that may soon be beyond the Kremlin’s control.

Alexei Uchitel’s film Matilda (released in October 2017) was the most discussed cinematographic event in Russia last year. Similarly, strong emotions were generated in 2014 when the director Andrey Zvyagintsev released his Russian tragedy film, Leviathan. Both productions were accompanied by scandals and received widespread media attention. Admittedly, there is a fundamental difference between the two films. While the latter is a mature piece of artwork (one that tackles the profound problem of the citizen-state relationship), the former has very little to offer, both in terms of content and aesthetics. Assumedly, had there not been a scandal surrounding the release, the world would probably never have learnt about Matilda.

February 26, 2018 - Zbigniew Rokita

Has the war really changed Ukrainians?

Three years have passed since the onset of war in Ukraine. As a result some changes have occurred in the Ukrainian mentality but questions still remain: How deep are those changes? And what would it take for a reversal in attitudes towards the West? Results from recent opinion polls may come as a surprise in an attempt to answer these questions.

October 4, 2017 - Andriy Lyubka

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