Interpersonal trust in Russian society

Kuchenkova A.V.

Cand. Sci. (Soc.), Senior Lecturer, Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russia

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Kuchenkova A.V. Interpersonal trust in Russian society. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2016. No 1. P. 26-36


The article examines the level and specificities of interpersonal trust in Russian society. This kind of trust is defined as the belief that others will not deliberately or knowingly do us harm, if they can avoid it, and will look after our interests, if this is possible. Main focus is on the key types of interpersonal trust: particularized (to the closest circle of relatives, friends, and colleagues) and generalized (impersonal trust between strangers). High level of particularized trust and dominating focus on family and friends are found out and explained by importance of intimate relationships, but also by shared experience of adaptation to new conditions and requirements of economic situation in 1990-s. The consideration of socio-demographic factors of particularized trust shows that the more resources individual has (income, education, and habitation in megalopolis), the higher is his/her level of trust to friends and colleagues. At the same time generalized trust is considerably less widespread indicating disappointment and presence of negative expectations towards fellow citizens. Some tendencies of society’s development (increasing urbanization, amount of civil marriages, prevalence of high level of education) do not contribute to culture of trust. Moreover generalized trust depends on public mood. Positive and neutral evaluation of current and future situation in society as well as satisfaction with personal status improves generalized trust. Negative emotions concerning socio-economic and political conditions on the contrast lead to the decrease of trust. This means that adapting to the current situation in society Russians feel more confident. In order to support this tendency there need to be conditions on macro level (stable development, observance of human rights, effective functioning of political institutions) and micro level (spread of trust as a norm of behavior).

interpersonal trust; generalized trust; Russian society
Content No 1, 2016