Specifics of Russian Students Inclusion into the Social Solidarity Relationships
Dr. Sci. (Polit.), Prof., Faculty of Public Administration, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia. email@example.com
Dr. Sci. (Polit.), Prof., Faculty of Political Science, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia. firstname.lastname@example.org
Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Assoc. Prof., Faculty of Public Administration, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia. email@example.com
The reported study was funded by RFBR and EISR, project No. 20-011-31040.
Social solidarity is viewed as a set of social ties, political relations and spiritual bonds that ensure the social integrity. It helps citizens to realize commonality of their historical destiny, their collective ‘WE’, to provide respectful relations to social norm, to develop skills and abilities of joint activities and mutual assistance. The article analyses the nature and level of the Russian students’ involvement in social solidarity ties. At the cognitive level the students are able to identify Russia as a country to which they are tied by the formal relations of citizenship. However, only two-thirds of the respondents are able to feel their identity with the Russian people, to say ‘it is us’ about themselves and Russian citizens, and a little more than half of them feel proud for their country. The students tend to be wary when dealing with people outside the circle of their family and friends. However, it does not prevent them from showing tolerance to people of different nationalities, religions, ways of living and wealth. They demonstrate a willingness to help disadvantaged people who need help; every third respondent participated in the volunteer movements. They are aware that the cohabitation is possible only if everyone follows requirements established by law, but at the same time every third respondent confirms that it is impossible to live in Russia without breaking laws. A certain part of students combines tolerant attitude towards members of other social groups with intransigence towards political opponents. One of four speaks of demonstrative unwillingness to even listen to the arguments of political opponents, and only one in eleven shows willingness to correct his/her views ‘if the opponent’s arguments prove convincing’. When political maximalism is combined with a critical attitude towards government institutions (every third or fourth student does not trust government bodies), then the dialogue between the authorities and those who are from the very outset not ready to listen to arguments of the other side becomes highly problematic. It explains the willingness of more than a quarter of students to take part in protest actions. Our research shows that in the student environment the most fragile ties are the vertical solidarity ones that connect citizens through their attitude to the state and its policies. Their fragility is manifested both in the level of trust in government institutions and in the feeling that the country is moving in the wrong direction. This trend can be partly explained by specific information environment that affects students’ thinking. A main source of information about the events in the country and in the world for the vast majority of students is social networks. But, apparently, there are other, deeper reasons related to the deepening gap between the expectations of young people and the assessment of the real opportunities that are opening up for them in the country.