Civic and Ethnic Identity of Citizens of Russian Border Regions
Svetlana Maximova1, Oksana Noyanzina1*, Daria Omelchenko1 and Anastasiia Morkovkina2
1Altai State University, Barnaul, Russia
2Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
- *Corresponding Author:
- Oksana Noyanzina
Ph.D, Department of Psychology of
Communication and Psychotechnologies
Altai State University, Barnaul, Russia.
Tel: 79 236 440 285
Received Date: September 08, 2016; Accepted Date: November 16, 2016; Published Date: November 26, 2016
Citation: Maximova S, Noyanzina O,
Omelchenko D, et al. Civic and Ethnic Identity of
Citizens of Russian Border Regions. 2016, 14:27.
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This paper is on the development of a theoretically based civic and ethnic identity measure. The article presents the analysis of the parameters of civic and ethnic identity of the inhabitants of six subjects of Russian Federation situated near the state borders: Altai region, Zabaikalye region, Kemerovo region, Omsk region, Orenburg region and Republic of Altai there empirical studies with 2400 participants were carried out. The conclusion is made about the specificity of identity and the inter-ethnic relations of the regions. The boundary regions of Russia have a high national differentiation, thus, peaceful development of all cultures becomes a priority task. This policy would promote the growth of national consciousness, and further the sustainable development of the region. The results of survey show that following factors predetermine self-identification: the origin of man, the history of the region, patriotism, religious beliefs. Despite the cultural differences in regions of Russia, the government aspires to develop cultures of all nations in a multi-ethnic population of the country. The development of national cultures is being supported by governmental programs.
Civic and ethnic identity of country population is important factor
of social accord and national unity [1,2]. Its indexes cause for
level of civic participation and interethnic tension. That is why
a close attention to problems of identity is appropriate among
scientific and governing community. In December 2012 a new
Strategy of state national policy of Russian Federation until 2025,
promoting to the formation of united Russian nation, approved
. Measures for realization of the Strategy were worked out in
each subject of Russian Federation-corresponding documents
and legislation, empowered bodies, which are responsible for
stabilization of interethnic relations. Such measures are actual
for border regions, which are in close inter-state connections.
Of course, each region has unique situation, caused by history,
national composition and so on, and these requires for researches
of condition of civic and ethnic identity in regions of country.
Views on the Concept of Self-identification
A notion of ‘identity’ firstly emerged in works of D. Hume. It
became widely reflected in psychological, anthropology, political
and sociological theories. According to English psychologist H.
Tajfel, social identity is ‘the part of Self-concept of individual,
that emerge from understanding of own group membership
together with value and emotional significance of the group ,
i.e. individual’s self-identification with certain community.
Several basic approaches to the research of social identity could
be highlighted: symbolic interactionism, cognitive theory of
social identity and constructivist theory.
As for psycho-analytic approach , identity understood as
internal continuity of a personality. Significant input of the given
theory is in recognition of variability of identity and description
of mechanisms of its formation through interiorization of values,
goals and convictions, either conscious or unconscious .
In symbolic interactionism [7,8] social identity acts as the mean
of delimitation against other people and instrument of integrity with society, at the same time. Mechanisms of identity formation
determined as a result of socialization , assimilation of Self
representations of the ‘generalized other, and roles, prescribed
by social structure, but caused by certain personal features of an
Thus, according to the theory of ‘reflected or looking-glass
self’ by Charles Horton Cooley, self-identification depends
on imaginations of others about him/her in process of social
interaction, first . In G. Mead opinion, identity determined
by attitudes of the ‘generalized other’ - averaged image of
representatives of social groups, which his/she tends to belong
. The preposition to formation of identity is development of
ability to ‘take the attitudes of others’. According to E. Goffman’s
theory of Frames, construction of self-presentation of social
subject determined by its personal characteristics and social
position, which determines the system of norms and necessity
to follow them. In this way, social identity in these theories
understood us a result of internalization of self-image in attitudes
of the others by a subject, perceived in social interactions.
A way to identity from the point of view of described theories
suppose forming of its general components in socialization
process. It is also assumed, that social identity characterized by
a certain stability and influence on behavior of social subject in
different situations in the same way.
Further sociological researches of identity mostly accent on
the role of social context in its formation. In such frameworks
scientists study mechanisms of culture (as the whole) influence
on process of identification and pay attention to concrete
situations of interactions as forming situational identities.
Representatives of constructivist approach to identity 
concentrate on determination of mechanisms of perceiving
social reality. In Berger and Luckmann’s theory, identity is a part
of subjective reality, result of interaction between personality
and society. In their opinion, a unique identity forming under
influence of concrete social structure and is peculiar to each
Identity as general element of subjective reality revealed in result
of interactions between society and personality is one of central
notions of P. Berger and T. Luckmann theory. Identity determined
by character of social structure and able to be a factor of its
transformation. Berger and Luckmann deny the appropriateness
of use ‘collective identity’ notion and suggest the statement
about existence of types of identity, originated from separate
historical social structures.
A. Giddens in his structuration theory almost identify social
identity from positions of actor (‘human agency’) in social
structure. Social structure determines actor’s rights and duties
and postulates situational character of identity, revealed in
frameworks of concrete social practices.
Authors of cognitive theory of social identity  determine
identity as a system of senses, regulating behavior of social
subject and forming in the process of categorization of social
surroundings. According to H. Tajfel, social identity-‘is a person’s
sense of who they are based on their group membership(s).
Those part of individual’s Self-concept, what emerge from sense
of social group belonging together with value and emotional
meaning of the in-group and out-group’. Here identity is not only
the mean of personality’s orientation in society, but base for
Researches of social anthropologist R. Barth, who showed
how group efforts in support of ethnic borders promote to
perception of cultural differences as considerable and ethnically
important, could be mentioned here. Barth’s approach is general
principle in researches of ethnic identity and cultural borders in
constructivist paradigm . T. Stefanenko specializes in research
of ethnic communities and empathizes several functions of social
groups, which any individual could identify with: a) orientation
in surrounding world; b) determination of general vital values;
c) protection and provision of well social and physical being.
Group identity, including the ethnic one, in her opinion, bases on
subjective perception, interconnected cognitive and emotional
processes predominantly, but not prescribed from the outside.
Social identity is not homogeneous and consists of many structural
components, including ethnic and civic identity. Striving for
formation of united national identity, expressed in the Strategy
of state national policy of Russian Federation, has a certain
theoretical base. Thus, according to L. Drobizheva, if different
types of identity (civic, ethnic, regional and local) are combined
and do not counteract to each other, social development could
be harmonic. When civic and ethnic identity are mutually
associated, they able to strengthen each other. Furthermore, by
data of W. Swann et al., different types of identities not always
clearly divided in consciousness of individual and able to combine
in united mixed identity. A. Iyer et al. made corresponding
conclusions and revealed successful adaptation to the changes
among persons with multiple identity.
Nowadays sociologists establish the transition from total
givenness of identity by external conditions to its free
construction by individual and mark its progressive uncertainty,
caused by inclusion of individual into several number of groups
and dynamics of contemporary society. Initially, ‘identity’ notion
supposed continuity, totality and stability of personal experience
as own conditions, but nowadays content of the notion
understood as a problem. Thus, as Berger and Luckmann state,
in contemporary society identity experience influence of many
external factors, which able to provoke full rejection of identity.
One of such factors, according to M. Ahearne, F. Kraus and
others, is the level of identification of surroundings with given
community: the higher the level of identification of other people
(in authority, especially) the higher individual’s identity .
In contemporary researches of social identity, we mark out
the lowering of its stability and increase of its variability .
Transformation processes in contemporary world-globalization,
deviation from traditions and so on-lead to the change in
characteristics of civic and ethnic identity, forms of their
revelation and level of significance, which cause for the necessity
to develop and perfect the existing theoretical approaches and
Characteristics of Border Regions
The aim of the study was to describe characteristics of civic
and ethnic identity in border regions of Russian Federation.
Analysis realized basing on data of sociological research in
the frameworks of the Project ‘Civic and ethnic identity in the
system of preservation of social security of population in border
territories of Russian Federation’, fulfilled in 2015. Six subjects
of Russian Federation were engaged in the study: Altai region,
Zabaikalye region, Kemerovo region, Omsk region, Orenburg
region and the Republic of Altai.
The following indexes we used to study condition of civic and
Extent of identification with Russian citizens, residents of
native region (settlement), representatives of own ethnos,
religion, profession and so on (from 1 - ‘in considerable
extent, largely’ up to 4 - ‘no any similarity’);
Level of identification with ethnic groups, civic and
religious community, counted basing on evaluation of
18 statements (from 1 - ‘absolutely disagree’ up to 5 -
Identification with one or several ethnic groups;
Relation to representatives of alien ethnos;
Relation to state national policy;
Evaluation of level of interethnic tension in region and
Evaluation of degree of manifestation of ethic` indexes by
scale from 1 up to 10.
Construction of indexes realized according to Social Identity
Theory , we suggested indexes of civic and ethnic identity,
which correlate with often used in studies in the sphere of
social identity (including national and civic components) .
In particular, works by R. Luhtanen and J. Crocker  provide
indeed a proper base to aim at a more specific measure of ethnic
and civic identity and a suitable approach in measuring the
Used scales were designed and described in the works by M.
Rosenberg , same indexes tested as the conceptually most
important aspects in measuring national identity by G. Marks
and L. Hooghe  and others. Indexes seem suitable to realize
inspection of the identity aspects covered by the scale.
Regression analysis applied to evaluate the interaction between
civic and ethnic identity with extent of religious identity and
social-demographic characteristics of respondents.
We found useful to point out general characteristics of regions,
which determine as peculiarities of civic and ethnic identity of
their residents and as interethnic relations. Data about number
of population and ethnic composition based of the All-Russian
Population Census .
Geographic position: The region is located in the South of
Western Siberia. It borders with Republic of Kazakhstan in the south and south-west, with Alta Republic in the south-east, with
Kemerovo region in the east and Novosibirsk region in the north
Number of population - 2 419 755 persons.
Density - 14,20/km2.
Ethnic composition (%): Russians - 93,9; Germans - 2,1; Ukrainians
- 1,4; Kazakhs - 0,3; Armenians - 0,3; Tatars - 0,3; Byelorussians
- 0,2; Altays - 0,1; Kumandins - 0,1. It is the most homogeneous
ethnic composition among presented regions.
National-policy here government realizes support of ethniccultural
public organizations, regular ethnic-cultural events,
national celebrations, festivals of folk arts and traditional
culture. In regional government since 2010 works Council on
questions of realization of the state national policy (before
2015-Council on ethnic-cultural development). Its goal is to form
recommendations about questions of interethnic relations and
preservation of ethnic culture.
Geographic position: The region is located in the South-East of
Siberia, in Zabaikalie. It borders with People's Republic of China
in the south-east, Mongolia in the south, Buryatia Republic in the
west, Irkutsk region in the north and Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)
and Amur region in the east .
Number of population - 1 107 107 persons.
Density - 2,52/km2.
Ethnic composition (%): Russians - 89,9; Buryats - 6,8; Ukrainians
- 0,6; Tatars - 0,5; Byelorussians - 0,2; Evenks - 0,1.
National policy. There are regional public organization “Assembly
of Zabaikal people” and consulting-advisory body by the
Legislative Assembly of the region-Assembly of representatives of
Aginsk Buryat area. Local government supports activity of ethnic
organizations and realize measures to preserve culture of ethnic
minorities. In region approves a state sub-program ‘Strengthening
of Russian nation and ethnic-cultural development of people in
Zabaikalye region’. However regional residents mark insufficient
attention to people of Russian nationality .
Geographic position. The region is located in the South of
Western Siberia. It borders with Republic of Altai in the south,
with Altai region in the south-west, with Novosibirsk region in the
west, with Tomsk region in the north, with Krasnoyarsk region in
the north-east and with Republic of Khakassia in the west.
Number of population - 2 763 135 persons.
Density - 28,47/km2, the most among presented regions.
Ethnic composition (%): Russians - 93,7; Tatars - 1,5; Ukrainians
- 0,8; Germans - 0,9; Shors - 0,4; Armenians - 0,4; Chuvashs - 0,3;
Byelorussians - 0,2; Mordvins - 0,2; Teleuts - 0,1; Kumandings -
National policy. In the region functions the Department of
culture and national policy, which includes Administration on national policy and Section of interethnic relations and
support of indigenous small people. Local government supports
organizations, occupied with preservation and interaction
between ethnic cultures, assistance to local self-governing
of native ethnic and ethnic minors. Practice of ethnological
expertise in conflict situations rather spread and lets to create
Geographic position. The region is located in the South of
Western Siberia. It borders with Republic of Kazakhstan in the
south, with Tumen oblast in the west and north, with Novosibirsk
region in the east.
Number of population - 1 977 665 persons.
Density - 14,02/km2.
Ethnic composition (%): Russians - 85,8; Kazakhs - 4,1; Ukrainians
- 2,7; Germans - 2,6; Tatars - 2,2; Armenians - 0,4; Byelorussians
National policy. Department on national policy and religion
functions in the structure of the regional Ministry of culture,
its activity directed on protection of constitutional rights of
representatives of different ethnic groups and promotion to the
development of ethnic cultures. Omsk administration regularly
organizes monitoring of ethnic-confessional sphere of the city.
Regional government supports activity of ethnic-cultural public
organizations and their projects.
Geographic position: The region is located in the south of the
Urals. Borders with Republic of Kazakhstan in the south, with
Samara region in the west, with Chelyabinsk region and with
republics of Tatarstan and Bashkortastan in the north.
Number of population - 2 033 072 persons.
Density - 16,18/km2.
Ethnic composition (%): Russians - 75,9; Tatars - 7,6; Kazakhs -
6,0; Ukrainians - 2,5; Bashkirs - 2,3; Mordvins - 2,9; Chuvashs - 0,6;
Germans - 0,6; Armenians - 0,5; Azerbaijanis - 0,4; Byelorussians
National policy: In the region function Council on ethnic
affairs, Assembly of Orenburg people, public council by the
local authorities. Regional administration conducts different
ethnic-cultural events, realizes measure on social and cultural
adaptation of migrants and regional program on distribution of
positive ethnic attitudes among youth.
Republic of Altai
Geographic position: The region is located in the south part of
Altai Mountains. It borders with Kemerovo region in the north,
with Altai region in the north-west, with People's Republic of
China in the south-west, with Republic of Kazakhstan in the
south-west, with Mongolia in the south-east, with Republic of
Tuva in the east.
Number of population - 206 168 persons.
Density - 2,30/km2, the less one among presented regions.
Ethnic composition (%): Russian - 56,6; Altays - 33,9 and the
most numerous sub-ethnos among them: Telengits - 1,8,
Tubalars - 0,9 and Tchelkans - 0,5; Kazahs - 6,2; Kumandins - 0,5;
Germans - 0,4; Shors - 0,1.
National policy. In the region functions Committee of the State
Assembly El Kurultay on legislation and national policy. Regional
administration works under provision of peaceful life among
two general ethnic groups - Russians and Altays, solve inner
ethnic problems of Altays, realizes special program on support
of indigenous small people.
Representation of self-identity of the population
in the Russian regions
It is worth beginning the analysis by the general evaluation of the
indicators of civic and ethnic identities in six regions integrally,
in the whole. One of the most evident indicators of civic identity
is the auto-identification with the community of citizens of the
country. As our data suggest, 98.0% of people, living in border
regions, associate themselves with Russians, citizens of Russia. In
particular, 78.2% of respondents experienced a great association
with the community of Russians, whereas 17,4% - feel weak
association (Table 1). Regional and local identifications were very
strong as well: 94.4% respondents felt similarity with the citizen
of their region and 94.6% - with the citizens of their village or
town (Table 1).
Table 1. Distribution of responses to the question “Do you feel similarity with listed communities? To what extent?”, % by strings.
||No any similarity
|Citizens of region, province, republic
|Citizens of my town, village
|Representatives of my ethnos
|Representatives of my religion
|People of my generation
|People of my profession
|People of my income
|People, who close to my political opinion
Post-soviet studies on the Russian social identity  state
the priority of civic identity over the ethnic one. Our results
reaffirm this statement. Only 67.6% of respondents felt a strong
association with their nationality that is 10.6% less than those
who identify themselves with the citizens of Russia. Even smaller
portions identified themselves to a large extent with their
generation (60.7%), profession (47.9%) or religion (46.5%). Thus,
it became apparent that the civic identity of the citizens of border
regions is more distinct than ethnic identity. Meanwhile, the
latter, being inferior, is very important and occupy the second
place in the identical hierarchy.
Significant differences between regions were found in evaluations
of attachment to communalities of citizens of Russia, citizens of
one’s region or place of residence (village or town), nationality
or religion (χ2, p<0.05). Inhabitants of Zabaikalye region gave
the lowest evaluations to all these communities, inhabitants of
Kemerovo region - the highest ones (Table 2).
Table 2.Comparative distribution of responses to the question “Do you feel similarity with listed communities? To what extent?” (response “largely”), % by columns.
||Republic of Altai
|Citizens of region, province, republic
|Citizens of my town, village
|Representatives of my ethnos
|Representatives of my religion
In Kemerovo region such results could be determined by high
ethnic homogenity of population (according to the Russian
Census of 2010, the amount of Russians in the structure of
population attains 93.7%, while other nationalities occupy only
1.5%). The low level of identification with given communities in
Zabaikalye region could be explained by the recent formation of
this region which current borders were established only in 2008
by the merge of rather heterogenic by their composition and
population density (2.3 people per km2) neighbors. Provided that
in five regions from 80.8% to 86.5% of respondents have reported
a large extent of similarity with citizens of Russia, in Zabaikalye nonregion
this rate achieved only 56.0%. The same could be said
about regional and local identities which rates were higher in all
regions except Zabaikalye.
The amount of those who feel a large extent of similarity with
their nationality varied from 54.5% in Zabaikalye region to 79.3%
in Kemerovo region. The association with the representatives of
their religion was stronger in Kemerovo and Orenburg regions
(58.4% and 58.8% respectively), assuming that the amounts of
the faithful were approximatively equal in all regions.
For more detailed evaluation of the relationship among civic,
ethnic and religious identities the respondents were asked to
judge the statements about feelings of belonging to such and
such community and their positive or negative assessment. For
every type of identity mean values of indicators of agreement
with statements were calculated. Given 1 point denoted full
disagreement, and 5 points - full agreement, the mean rank for
ethnic identity amounted to 4.09, for civic - 4.34, and for religious
- 3.52 average points. The difference between mean ranks in
regional subsamples was insignificant (H-Kruskal-Wallis test,
The scores of indicators of civic and ethnic identities, related to
belonging to communities, varied to a moderate extent: 86.9% of
respondents felt themselves a part of Russian culture, whereas
the attachment to the culture of ethnic group was relevant for
82.4% of participants. The differences in emotionally colored
evaluations of these attachments were more considerable:
67.6% of respondents agreed with the statement “I’m happy
to feel myself a part of a certain ethnic group” and 79.1% were
happy to be Russians.
Religious identity was significant for 52.1% of respondents from
all regions and for 70.1% of those who listed themselves as
representatives of a certain religion.
Let’s examine in more detail indicators of ethnic identity of
population from border regions. Responding to the question
“What nation (nationality) do you belong to?” 81.1% of the
participants defined themselves as purely “Russian”, 14.5%
reported that they belong to other ethnic group, and 4.4%
identified themselves with two or more ethnic groups that
implied they had a mixed ethnic identity. The amounts of
Russians in particular regions corresponded to the data of the
Russian Census of 2010.
Evaluating the ethnic identity, it was necessary to outline
determinants which were basic for its affirmation. Most often
respondents reported that the principal ground for their
identification was the proficiency of language (75.1%), the origin
and parents’ nationality (68.2%), the attachment to national
culture (54.4%), the residence on the territory, considered being
a motherland for ethnic group (42.0%).
In addition, the ethnic identity may also be characterized by
attitudes towards and relations with other ethnic groups.
About 38.2% of respondents had positive feelings towards
representatives of other ethnos, 50.3% - neutral, and 8.8% -
negative (Table 3).
Table 3.Comparative distribution of responses to the question “What do you feel about representatives of alien ethnos?”, % by columns.
||Republic of Altai
|Difficult to answer
Among all regions, the most tolerant attitudes were observed
in the Republic of Altai - a region with heterogenic national
composition (positive feelings were experienced by 55.5% of
participants and negative - by 2.4%). The worse attitudes towards
representatives of other ethnos were fixed in Omsk region: only
27.3% of respondents said that they had positive feelings and
20% - negative. According to the rating of inter-ethnic tension,
calculated by the Center of exploring international conflicts
“Bunches of anger”, the Omsk region had the least favorable
inter-ethnic relations among all regions covered by our research.
This region received an index of “3”, designating that in this
region multiple cases of ethnically motivated violence and non violent actions were detected. Republic of Altai and Orenburg
region were recognized as the quietest regions where such
actions didn’t occur, while three other regions were qualified
as middle-ranged and received index of “2” denoting that there
were only non-violent conflict actions or unique and non-related
to each other violent actions.
In the unified sample about 2.1% of respondents reported that
they felt hostility towards people of alien nationality very often
and 7,9% - often, that much less than the rates acquired during
the all-Russia public opinion research in October 2013 where
the same question was asked and the response “Very often”
was given by 6% of respondents, “Often” by 14% (Russians
about migration and interethnic tension, 2013). The antipathy to
representatives of several nationalities is most often explained by
their unwillingness to respect Russian customs and social norms
(21,9%) and terrorism threats (21,3%). Meanwhile, the cases
when respondents experience hostility from other nationalities
are much rarer. In the whole, the majority of respondents (64.5%)
describe their relations with people of other nationalities as
normal and harmonious, 15.5% define them as friendly and only
9.6% respondents - as stressed, full of conflicts and dangerously
explosive. Zabaikalye differed considerably from other regions,
as far as the stressed, conflict character of relations was noted by
22.2% respondents from this federal subject.
The political slogan “Russia for Russians” was supported to a
greater or lesser degree by 47,2% of respondents who identified
themselves with Russians and 26.6% of those who belonged to
other nationalities (43,3% in the whole sample). The considerable
part of participants has noted that it is better to limit the entrance
into the territory of Russia for representatives of different ethnic
groups, especially for natives from Caucasus (33.5%), Chinese
(25.8%), Gypsies (19.7%). About 17.4% of respondents were in
favor of the entrance restriction for natives from the former USSR Middle Asia republics. Over third part of participants per
contra contested a claim about possibilities of such restrictions,
but in different region this amount varied significantly (Table 4).
Table 4.Comparative distribution of answers to the question “Whether to limit the stay in Russia of…” in six border regions, % by columns
||Republic of Altai
|Natives from Caucasus
|Natives from the former USSR Middle Asia republics
|All nations, except Russians
|We should not limit the stay of any nations
Thus, in Zabaikalye region, having borders with China, there were
the highest restriction rates towards Chinese (35,5%), natives
from Caucasus (36.8%) and Ukrainians (17.4%). In Omsk region
20,5% of respondents were in favor for entrance restrictions
for all nationalities except Russians. The most tolerant position
towards other nationalities, living in Russia, was expressed by the
respondents from Altai region.
The probability of manifestation of interethnic violence
was estimated as very little by the majority of respondents.
Forthcoming mass bloody battles in the country were assessed
as more or less probable by 23.7% of respondents, in the place of
their residence - 8,1%.
The overall analysis of the state in interethnic sphere of border
regions was completed by the assessment of 21 indicators
representing 10-point graded scales. After mean values
computation, several characteristics with highest means (above
6.0 points) were selected as revealing the most salient features
of interethnic relations in border regions: “Mutual help in difficult
situations without dependence of ethnicity”, “Interethnic
friendship”, “Respect in relation to other ethnos”. In other hand,
some statements with negative content were graded below 4
points: “Abuses in interethnic relations, physical violence (harm,
fight)”, “Psychological pressure (insults, threats)”, “Denunciation
in interethnic marriages”, “Unfriendly and hostile statements
about people of alien ethnos” (Table 5).
Table 5. Evaluation of degree of manifestation of ethnic indexes (mean values, 10-scaled evaluations)
|Mutual help in difficult situations without dependence of ethnicity
|Respect to customs, traditions and language of alien ethnos
|Respect in relation to other ethnos
|Uncompromising and real work of government in the field of protection of people’s interests without dependence of ethnicity and religion
|Support of culture and traditions of different ethnic groups
|Support of national-cultural public organizations
|Successful work of regional administration in solution of conflicts in the sphere of inter-ethnic relations
|Public denunciation of nationalism
|Effective system of management in the sphere of state national policy in region
|Control in the sphere of legislation about state national policy
|Support of confessions and religious organizations
|Effective and public dialogue between government and ethic diasporas, ethnic minorities in socially important decisions
|Fair distribution of positions and various benefits for any ethnos
|Competition for leadership between representatives of different ethnos
|Unfriendly and hostile statements about people of alien ethnos
|Prejudice, what prevent friendship relations
|Abuses in interethnic relations, physical violence (harm, fight)
|Psychological pressure (insults, threats)
|Denunciation in interethnic marriages
|Unfriendly statements about people of alien religion
Assuming that negative events are usually thought to be
perceived as increasingly more negative, these low estimates
were relevant to the inverse sense of the statements meaning
rather harmonious interethnic relations.
In the evaluation of parameters of interethnic sphere there
were some significant differences between regions. Positives
statements were estimated higher in Omsk and Kemerovo
regions, while in Zabaikalye region the corresponding mean
values were the lowest ones. The most considerable differences
were related to the assessment of the state national policy.
Regions were divided into three groups: the first with the highest
rates (Omsk and Kemerovo oblasts), the second with lower but
still over 5 points mean rates (Orenburg region and Republic of
Altai) and the third with lowest estimates below 5 points (Altai
region and Zabaikalye region).
The most significant differences from all-regions mean values were
revealed in Omsk region by characteristic “Public denunciation of
nationalism” (mean value 6.63, 5.46 in all-regions sample) and
“Control in the sphere of legislation about state national policy”
(6.43 and 5.41 respectively).
One of the most important factors of national accord and stability
in the state is the national unity. Representing a complex and
multiple-values notion, it could be defined as a process of uniting
different people into one entity bound by common norms, values
and interests, associated with social and political processes. The
existence of national unity in Russia was declared by 56.3%
of respondents, 32.6% were prone to deny it, while 11.1% of
respondents could not explain their position about this question.
The major grounds for positive answer to the question were as
follows: “At critical moments Russia unites” (67.4%), “People
help each other” (33.8%), “All nationalities get on peacefully”
(32.3%), other variants were chosen by less than a third part of
respondents (Table 6).
Table 6. Distribution of responses to the question “If you agree with the statement that there is a national unity in Russia, why?”, %.
|At critical moments Russia unites
|People help each other
|All nationalities get on peacefully
|It’s characteristic for our mentality, our culture
|There is no war in the country
|People love their country
|People have united during the accession of the Crimea and Sevastopol to Russia
|People participate in sport and cultural cultural-mass and other events
|People united during elections (2011-2012.)
The absence of national unity was explained by the majority of
those who reported such an answer by high rates of misery and poverty, large gap between rich and poor, selfishness of people
and the increase of animosity. About a third part of respondents
related the lack of unity with the lack of national idea and weak
manifestation of patriotism (Table 7). It is notable that the most
infrequent variant was “multinational society”, implying that
population didn’t consider ethnic differences being important
causes of national disintegration.
Table 7. Distribution of responses to the question “If you don’t agree with the statement that there is no national unity in Russia, why?”, %.
|People live in misery, there is a large gap between rich and poor
|Everyone defends his/her own interests, thinks only of him/herself
|People became more embittered
|There is no unifying goal, national idea, patriotism
|The state made efforts to disrupt people
At the next stage the analysis was focused on the essential
characteristics of civic identity of population from border regions,
discovered by the question “What does it mean for you to be
a good citizen?” For 55.0% of respondents being a good citizen
meant to be a patriot and love Russia, for 49.4% - to respect
laws and the Constitution; for 33.4% - to have rights, granted
by the legislation of the country and enjoy them; for 29,6% - to
understand one’s civic duty and to have civic responsibility and
conscience; for 29,0% - to feel stable and sure economically and
morally (Table 8).
Table 8. Distribution of responses to the question “What does it mean for you to be a good citizen?”, %.
|To be patriot, love Russia
|To observe laws, respect the Constitution
|To have rights, granted by the legislation of this country, and enjoy them
|To understand civic duty, to have civic responsibility and conscience
|To feel sure and stable economically and morally
|Live constantly on the territory of the country
|Not to want to leave the country
|To be a self-actualized person
|To feel interested in great and little affairs of the state
Hence, the major attributes of civic consciousness were related in
the conscience of people not only to patriotism and acceptance
of responsibility towards what occurs in the country but also to
guaranties of state, insuring the minimum of rights and freedoms.
So, patriotism was the most significant element of civic identity.
Although there is no agreement about its measuring, multiple
social scientists, exploring national beliefs and expectations,
consider the pride and the shame to be the most significant
patriotic feelings. According to our results, 89.3% of citizens
from border regions felt proud of the country. The most popular
reasons of pride - the victory in the Great Patriotic War (67.0%),
the authority of Russia in the world (34.1%), the great Russian
art workers (31,8%) and the President of Russia Vladimir Putin
Over 60% of respondents felt a profound sense of shame for the
country. The most remarkable causes of shame, noted by 74,3%
of respondents - low incomes and standards of living, poverty and
unemployment, followed by corruption, bureaucracy (42.8%),
decline of industry, agriculture and economic in the whole
(30.9%); alcoholism and drug abuse (27.5%). Causes associated
with internal and external policy of the state were selected much
rarer, that indirectly indicated the support of current political
course of the government by the population.
Socio-structural determinants of civic and ethnic identities
were explored by linear regression models. On the base of the
preliminary analysis of statistically significant differences several
categorical and ordinal predictors were chosen: region, gender,
age, nationality, income (self-assessment of economic situation in
the household), level of education, place of residence and index
of religious identity. The principal results of regression analysis,
including standardized coefficients and estimated overall quality
of the model are given in Table 9.
Table 9. Regression models of prediction of civic and ethnic identity.
|Place of residence (rural or urban)
All factors in total had a considerable impact on the amount
of explained variance, although the model for ethnic identity
was more informative (R2=0,181 for civic identity, R2=0,204
for ethnic identity) and the influence of single factors was rather
weak. It should be noted that the strongest influence on both civic (β=0,405, p<0,01) and ethnic identity (β=0,420, p<0,01) had religious
identity. This index was constructed by means of indicators of the
intensity of attachment to religion, including auto-identification
with the representatives of certain religion or confession, the
willingness to practice the chosen or prescribed religion and respect
its doctrine. The high degree of interaction between these types of
identities witnessed about more manifest disposition of religious
respondents to a feeling of similarity with reference communities,
including national (civic) and ethnic ones.
Among other predictors of civic identity, the most influencing
was nationality (β=–0,127, p<0,01). Assuming that Russian
identification was coded as “1” and other ethnos identification
as “2”, more distinct civic identity was associated with Russian
identification. For ethnic identity crucial impact was made by age
and place of residence: the attachment to one’s ethnic group
was greater in groups of respondents, living in gig cities and older
Our research has revealed that the Russian civic identity is shared
by the majority of population from border regions and dominates
over other types of social identity. Its basic components rely on
the feeling of patriotism and civic responsibility, associated with the guarantees of security and welfare, required from the state.
The ethnic identification is weaker than the civic identity, its main
grounds are related to the objective characteristics of language
proficiency and ancestry.
On the base of regression analysis, we found the most influencing
factors, having impact on both civic and ethnic identity, among
which the identification with religious communities was the
most salient one. It was also revealed that the civic identity is
more important for ethnic Russians, while the ethnic identity is
stronger among older people and people, living in urban areas.
The research has permitted to detect differences in civic and
ethnic identities manifestations, relevant for inhabitants
of distinct regions, covered by our survey. Thus, citizens of
Kemerovo region had the highest degrees of identification with
civic and ethnic communities, the inhabitants of Zabaikalye
region - the lowest one, in other regions the indicators of identity
had intermediate but rather high rates.
The state on interethnic sphere in all regions could be described
as favorable, especially in in Kemerovo and Omsk regions where
it’s positive characteristics were highly estimated. Meanwhile,
the attention should be paid to the existence of moderate
level of interethnic tension in Omsk region and Zabaikalye
region, expressed by the hostility felt by population towards
representatives of other nationalities. The greatest regional
differences were found in the evaluations related to state
national policy realization.
This work was supported by the Ministry of Education and
Science of the Russian Federation, under the State Order for
the scientific research “Civic and ethic identities in the system
of maintenance of social security among population in border
territories of Russia” No 28.1475.2014К.
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