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The Social Distance and Contradiction Specifics of the Interethnic Interaction of Ethnosocial Groups

Gadzhigasanova NS1*, Dudina IM1, Khairullina NG2, Mikhailova MN2 and Garabazhii VA2

1Department of Sociology, Candidate of Sociological Sciences, P.G. Demidov Yaroslavl State University, Russia.

2Department of Sociology, Candidate of Sociological Sciences, Tyumen State Oil and Gas University, Russia.

*Corresponding Author:
Nаide Sefterovna Gadzhigasanova
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Tel: +74852788683
E-mail: [email protected]

Received Date: May 05, 2016; Accepted Date: June 20, 2016; Published Date: June 24, 2016

Citation: Gadzhigasanova NS, Dudina IM, Khairullina NG, et al. The Social Distance and Contradiction Specifics of the Interethnic Interaction of Ethnosocial Groups. Global Media Journal. 2016, S3:14

Copyright: © 2016 Gadzhigasanova NS, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited

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The study of interethnic interaction processes is not rather developed and demanding the deeper analysis in a certain degree for a sociological discourse. In the given work the review of theoretical concepts concerning an interaction of ethno-social groups is submitted. The authors note that in all approaches the interaction in the ethnic aspect is considered as conflicting to the difficulties caused by the disparity of interaction patterns on the basis of the critical consideration of methodological concepts. The task of the mass media opportunities’ analysis (with the attraction of a content-analysis method) in practice of the social distance formation is realized by authors. The materials subjected to the analysis demonstrate the lack of positive information in the concrete printed mass media; allowed to reveal that the statement of materials with the prevalence of the category "Stranger" focuses the reader’s attention on a distance keeping in interethnic interaction. They are characterized by the disparity of the publications’ contents between the declared "aspiration of friendly relations’ establishment, mutual understanding and social cooperation between representatives of different ethnos" and the real search of the support by authors among reader's audience; and can rather form stereotypic, intolerant installations at ethno-groups’ representatives. The sociological data characterizing inhabitants’ ideas about an impact of social institutes on the destabilization of international relations are provided. Authors considered the behavioral strategy of respondents in the sphere of labor and interpersonal relations, analyzed undertaken measurements of emotive and behavioral component of ethnosocial installation. The measures promoting leveling of a social distance in interactions of various ethnic communities’ representatives are offered.


Interethnic interaction; Participant; Differentiation; Social distance; Mass media; National relations


In modern conditions problems of interethnic interactions gain the special importance in the field of social and humanitarian knowledge. The matter is that modern processes of intra ethnic consolidation predetermine the dynamics of social life both as mono- and multiethnic regions that can find the reflection in requirements of national and territorial and cultural independence, in updating of ethno-cultural consciousness of the population. Also these processes are brightly expressed in the number transformation of ethnic groups, reduction of number of the interethnic marriage unions and cardinal transformation of interethnic interaction nature.

Interethnic interactions: theoretical approaches

Interethnic interaction is a social interaction which subjects are treated to different ethnic groups. Meanwhile, obligatory components of the dominating number of social interaction definitions are figures (agents, actors); and also actions which are subdivided into responses and expectations. The presented methodological concepts have an opportunity to interpret the separate sides of interaction in which some directions have the high heuristic potential at the microlevel, others-at the macrolevel, but there is no methodological direction which it would be possible to define as universal. In particular, Z.V. Sikevich, thinking over an influence of an ethnic factor on social processes at the present stage, specifies that the difficult system of real ethnopolitical inequalities is shown in interethnic interaction of Russian people [1].

In general, today within the sociological science there is no complete theory of social interaction. In this regard, the critical analysis of positions of a theoretical concepts’ number about features, character and an orientation of interethnic interaction, received as a result the reflection of authors’ empirical research on identification of various expressiveness degree of an ethnosocial distance of the Russian Federation inhabitants’ ideas, different in their ethnic structure became the purpose of this work [2,3].

One of main assumptions of the thesis is that the initial prerequisite of the effective social interaction is the price and benefit in the context of a social exchange theory. Analyzing an interaction it is necessary to consider that participants of an exchange expressed the desire to its repetition and the exchange has to be mutually useful. In this regard the equivalence of an exchange is the base of the repeating interaction within this concept. Secondly, in the theory of a social exchange the benefit is interpreted as subjectively understood effectiveness. Thereby, the same object can be estimated by different people as advantageous or useless (less useful). It is possible to express social rewards in similar categories: praise, prestige, the status, etc. Assuming that people who passed the primary socialization in various cultural conditions unequally determine the value of objects, it is possible to come to the conclusion that: it is extremely improbable that participants of interethnic interaction would unambiguously consider an equivalence of the exchange transaction.

On account of that this interaction at the macrolevel is mainly interpreted in its political and economic aspect, so in such an exchange money is identified as the universal equivalent. At the microlevel the criterion of equivalence is absent. For the purpose of harmonious interaction its participants have to share similar views concerning forms and an encouragement volume for the implementation of corresponding actions. It is supposed that there is a limited possibility of the equivalence formation for the reward volume that cannot be told about the rewards’ configurations possessing a cultural originality. In general, despite the dominating opinion that the main advantage of an exchange theory is an analysis at the microlevel, the fact that within ethnosociological science an exchange theory applied in this or that type at the macrolevel acts quite specific.

Works of functionalistic study supporters of ethnic interaction are connected with the search of answers to a number of the following questions: whether ethnic groups can be considered as individual autonomous systems or nevertheless they are subsystems; whether it is necessary to consider multiethnic society as an original type of a system; if actions of agents belonging to different ethnic groups are treated as functions of various systems, how to characterize their ratio?

Within such a theoretical direction as a symbolical interactionism the interaction participants form a trajectory of own behavior on the basis of an explanation of other figures’ behavior. In this regard, within this concept the social interaction is interpreted as an exchange of symbols. Thus the symbol is meant as any gesture, an action, judgment which is capable to mean certain values and to intensify the same reactions at various individuals. If there are no symbols, signs which sense is identical for all actors of this interaction, the interaction would not be carried out. In this regard it is possible to conclude that symbols have to be valuable till an initial stage of their functioning as the motive of reciprocal actions. J. G. Mid, being one of interactionism representatives concretized the social interaction as the division by people of an opinion about "socially practiced values" [4,5]. In the course of different ethnic groups’ representatives interaction the subjects applying various "socially practiced meanings" owing to which there are difficulties of the translation, i.e. reductions in compliance of varied systems of socially used meanings.

The process of social symbolism transmission causes not less difficulties (in particular, what is in this culture accepted to consider as positive, and what is worthy of conviction? what is a correct subject for the conversation? etc.).

The determined problem has the basic applied value, in particular, for the consideration of conflicts having the ethnic nature. The vast majority of researchers indicate an irrationality of ethnic conflicts which can become more available accounting what symbolical value has this or that phenomenon for the conflict participants. L. Kozer, studying elimination conditions of conflicts, fixes that opponents can have different views concerning danger of own position or value terms of necessary expenses, and the potential winner has to have reliable information on what symbols, signs his rival would treat as the evidence of its loss [6].

Dramaturgic approach in the consideration of a social interaction introduces the communicative component which is characterized by an auxiliary set of means of "representation of" (appearance, manners, creation of a subject environment, etc.) and also places emphasis on deliberate activity of interaction subjects on the concrete opinion formation, desirable for the own image [7]. The idea about the division of participants’ actions into components is among basic positions of the specified theory: "acts on the stage" and "acts behind the scenes", and as a result there are no equivalent strategies undertaken by people in various circumstances (on a scene and behind the scenes). Thereby, in the monoethnic surroundings (fellow countrymen) the individual does not reproduce the representative of a certain ethnic group. Along with it, different actors in unequal degree correlate themselves to the demonstrated role.

One more basic definition of dramaturgic approach when studying the interaction is a frame. The matter is that when the individual comprehends a certain phenomenon, interprets acts of other person his interpretation of circumstances is caused by a certain pattern/model of an explanation which I. Goffman calls "frame". Existence of explanation patterns introduces the sense to a scene. The process of interethnic interaction which determines an explanation between interaction partners of each other actions can also serve as a frame.

In line with the phenomenological sociological concept, it is obviously considered to be that ethnic groups belong to social groups where actors of interaction, being characterized by belonging to various groups with diverse values, installations, expectations show differences in interpretations of events, acts of other people, etc. Various interpretations of the phenomena create difficulties for the establishment of communication and the formation of social relations.

The interaction efficiency is determined by the aspiration of partners to occupy a position of another person (to identify itself with a life situation of another partner). Thus, participants of the interaction process have to carry out unification of daily events similarly owing to that actors should have identical social environment and to be formed in the similar social environment. Differences in means of social reality unification can lead to emergence of psychological problems. Unification summarizes positive social practices thanks to what provide feeling of safety and as a result: the probability that inefficient, destructive acts have no chances of reproduction is high. For the purpose of a successful interaction its participants, along with the language, have to have concrete background knowledge of cultures of each other. Actually background knowledge is treated as the culture component considered as known, indisputable, reliable information. In the course of communication the individual tries to minimize background knowledge, assuming that similar data is obviously familiar to the partner.

Ethnomethodologists continued the further study of functioning of unified behavior tactics on the basis of applied researches. Thus, the founder of ethnomethodology G. Garfinkel characterized the unified tactics of acts as background expectations [8]. Results of experiments found out that people in daily occurrence design own acts on the basis of samples about which existence they do not suspect but for which they unconsciously adapt personal behavior. At the same time, in the conditions of an interethnic interaction participants of interaction can have a feeling of confusion or embarrassment, and in certain cases, the reaction of irritation. In a situation when the European offers a hand for handshake, and the Asian does not realize how to react, and both have feeling of discomfort.

The person, having appeared in the foreign cultural environment endures distressing impressions of that he cannot apply known to him unification and background expectations as the basis for the interaction. A result can become that the social environment which is round the individual quite often acts for him as inexpedient, deprived of sense, and his attempts to introduce in it the importance and value are unsuccessful. Thus, in general, each of the analyzed methodological concepts gives the chance to explain only the separate sides of an interethnic interaction, however along with it; in these approaches universal properties are also fixed. In all with no exception methodical directions the interaction in ethnic aspect is considered as conflicting to difficulties caused by the interaction patterns disparity (as if these patterns, standards were not interpreted). In general, all concepts of a social interaction are focused on the interpretation of interaction within one community.

Authors, sharing E.E. Kutyavina's interpretation, apply the content of the interethnic interaction as the bilateral process which subjects define themselves or the interaction partner as possessing ethnic features, connect the expectations with an ethnic origin of each other and coordinate the actions [9].

Potential of mass media in practice of a social distance formation

In this context in the creation of an image of the social world the special importance belongs to mass media as the press, radio, television, the Internet. They give the chance not only to transfer large volumes of information to enormous audiences, to masses, but also to establish connection between the people and cultures, to serve as means of formation at them not only complete idea of the world, but also to design a social distance between representatives of different ethnic groups. In this regard, it is worth recognizing that in modern conditions mass media represents not only the effective political mechanism, but also the important business tool when ethnicity, along with crime, finance, a social life, is used quite often as one of hot topics (the Russian experts Malkov V. K.., Dzyaloshinsky I.M. write about it [2,10]. Authors share the point of view of Malkova V. K. about that mass media activity represents purposeful influence on mass consciousness of huge country residents, on ethnosocial and ethnocultural representations and installations of millions of people [11]. On account of this, the ethnic information transmitted through modern Russian mass media in mass consciousness, may both to unite, and to promote the separation of the polyethnic population.

For carrying out research (content analysis) the Russian business daily newspaper "Izvestiya" issued as in printing and in electronic form was chosen. The printing edition, namely the newspaper, was chosen as an object of research owing to a number of advantages: the scope of public groups with the most different levels of the income; the possibility of the repeated appeal to material; the possibility of visualization of information (photos, drawings, headings). So, the audience of one number (average number of readers) of the News edition from July, 2013 till June, 2014 made from 219.8 to 300.0 thousand people about the country in general [12]. Thus, 33% of the newspaper readers - heads, businessmen and experts, 42% - people from 35 to 54 years, whereas 25% - people from 16 to 34 years. More than 1/3 thirds of readers of "News" have the higher education (38%); more than 2/3 audiencesrepresentatives of middle class (73%) from whom 32% have the average income, and 42% belong to the "wealthy" and "prosperous" category. There are not only leading companies and the enterprises of Russia, but also government institutions - Presidential Administration, the State Duma, the Federation Council, practically all federal ministries, and administrations of the Russian Federation regions among the edition subscribers [13]. At the same time, the Izvestiya newspaper in July, 2013 with an index of a quoting-7 953, 28 came out on top in a rating of print media quoting for the first time, made by the Medialogiya Company [14]. Thus, the News editions given on reader's audience testify: both about the all-Russian importance of the printing edition, and about the width of audience coverage in which the considerable share is made by people holding important posts and making important decisions.

In the specified edition 106 publications which contained the key phrase "international relations" were analyzed. Articles which appeared during the period from July, 2013 to June, 2014 caused by the conflicts which happened during this time in July, 2013 in the Matveevsky market (Moscow), October events of 2013 around Biryulevo (Moscow), the received public response and lighting in the majority of the Russian mass media were examined. Intensity of publications on an interethnic subject within a year is characterized by relative stability – on average 5.6% of publications (5-6 articles), however the significant increase in volume of publications with the negative contents (by 3 times, till 17-20 articles - in a month, only 51 articles; 45.9%) are recorded in the last quarter of 2013 (October-December) that is caused by the conflict situations stated above.

In general, the consideration of information messages’ character on the studied problem allowed revealing: more than 1/3 publications had neutral character (40.5%) whereas 38.7% of articles are negative according to the contents. Publications of a negative orientation explain conflict situations (events in Biryulevo, Arzamas, Pugachyov) with symbiosis of officials’ corruption, law enforcement agencies and illegal migration, recognize existence at the local level of the opaque and not chosen local government, and also contain the formulation "to toughen legislations/responsibility/ punishments/controls/measures" in 19.8% (22) materials. Information messages of positive character made only 17.1% and reflect the initiatives discussed at the state level directed on preventive measures (including the youth environment) - for example, the articles " There Will Be Books about Migrants In Kindergartens " (on November 16, 2013); "The town hall is asked to revive youth International" (on February 18, 2014); " It is suggested to construct children's camp "Artek-2 On Baikal" (on May 20, 2014), etc.

All information occasions of the articles’ publication with interethnic subject were united in the following groups:

The initiatives in the sphere of national policy directed on strengthening of institutional structures' responsibility, toughening of the legislation for the purpose of the international hostility and discord prevention (for example "for appeals to division of Russia") - 24.3% (from the total number of published materials on ethnic subject);

The measures realized in the sphere of national relations at the regional level, including reflecting political events in territorial subjects of the Russian Federation, local customs, conflicts - 17.1%;

The migratory situation in Russia; offers on toughening of the migratory legislation and extension of sanctions concerning illegal migrants; to increase of employers’ responsibility and to decrease in a stream of the low-qualified labor (12.6%);

Events in Ukraine and the situation in the Crimea (9.9%);

The content of public organizations’ activity (including The Russian Popular Front and Civic chamber of the Russian Federation), national and cultural autonomies (6.3%);

The initiatives and recommendations for strengthening of international consent and positive interethnic interaction (6.3%);

cultural and educational policy of the Russian Federation in the context of an interethnic perspective (5.4%);

Materials about the necessity of responsibility strengthening, control of mass media work (including Internet platforms) - 4.5%;

The activity of law enforcement agencies, Investigative committee in the sphere of international relations (2.7%);

The national idea in the country, the description of the uniting events of the all-Russian level and patriotism (2.7) %;

materials about the policy of other countries influencing the attitude of the Russian people towards them (the international level) - 2.7%, such as, "Movies in Russian would not be shown in cinemas of Georgia ", (on February 27, 2014);

articles about the terrorism problem (the tragedy in Volgograd), strengthening of safety measures, and also about manifestations of extremism made 5.4% ("The public prosecutor is asked to check the Milonov's interview for the extremism" (on March 27, 2014), "Putin urged not to mix up the opposition with extremists" (on April 7, 2014).

The content of these publications is executed in line with offers and recommendations about toughening of fight against these phenomena at the different institutional levels: "The insult of patriotic feelings is wanted to be equated to extremism" (on November 1, 2013), «Abstract formulations will be taken away from the law on extremism " (on January 22, 2014). Along with it the existence of difficulties in the sphere of law-enforcement practice the article for extremism in the conditions of the Russian reality ("The government rejected the bill against rehabilitation of Nazism", on November 6, 2013) is positioned in publications that in a certain degree mistrust to the effective realization of the Russian political and legal institutes’ powers in the sphere of extremism prevention can arouse at reader's audience.

For further carrying out the analysis authors used a content analysis method with the attraction of the specialized software product (the module of VAAL system intended for the emotional and lexical and dictionary analysis). Quantitative content monitoring in the context of the category "international" was carried out by means of the preliminary definition of several semantic categories, i.e. the categories "national and migration policy", "institutional measurement", "people", "condition of society", "stranger" acted as a unit of the analysis. By virtue of that the quantitative content analysis, first of all, is interested in the emergence frequency in the text of certain variables, so carrying out the specific weight calculation of allocated categories in the studied text was the following stage of work:

National and migration policy (migrants’ adaptation, a quota, migration, monitoring in the national sphere, multiculturalism, the state international policy, the legislation, the bill, harmonization of international relations; deportation; creation of civil society, prevention of illegal migration; development of international culture; to tell about the culture of neighbors; to support cultural links; dialogue space) – 10.8%;

Institutional measurement (Presidential Administration, the ministry, a mention of various departments (the Ministry of Regional Development, Ministry of culture, FMS), municipality, the president, the prime minister, police, mass media, the government, policy, national and cultural autonomies, diaspora, the Federation Council, and also the surnames’ mention of various government institutions and departments’ heads) – 8.6%;

The people (the people, the nation, a nationality, national, and also names (ethnonyms) of various ethnos/ethnic groups) – 1.8%;

the society structure (anti-state, improvement, mutual aid, corruption, globalization, destabilization, friendliness, interethnic intensity, xenophobia, criminogenic ethnic dissension, originality, solidarity) – 8.45%;

private ( includes personal pronouns I, you and words- close, brotherly, general, All-Russian, the fellow countryman, local, my, national, our, etc.) – 4.6%;

foreign (antistate, anti-Russian, oppositional, others, foreign, not radical, the opponent, the visitor, the foreigner, the immigrant, Russophobic) - 4.8%.

It should be noted that for the whole analyzed period the content of the category "Stranger" slightly, but exceeds the specific value of the category - 4.8% and 4.6% respectively. Along with it, the consideration of the estimated category content "Positive" (i.e. positively painted lexicon containing in texts of materials - includes words-authority, kindness, tender, hello, joyfully, generous, etc.) [15] fixes the specific weight of this category at the level of 6.1% whereas the category "Negative" made 6.6% that shows a lack of positive information in the analyzed printing mass media. The existence of the positive information (including the data about cultures of the people of Russia) would promote the improvement of regulating of the international relations’ atmosphere. The ethnic origin is that distinguishes people therefore for the purpose of interethnic climate improvement and the tolerance level increase in society. It is necessary to emphasize the fact that unites the representatives of different ethnic groups who are citizens of one country.

However it is actually accepted that: mass media are capable to kindle intergroup rivalry, the competition of ethnic groups, to provoke intergroup offenses in a latent form, and also to reproduce stereotypes, using such methods as: "the statement of the state prosecutor … which dropped a hint of doubt that … the person by the name of Farber can help the village free of charge" (with the article "SPCh Will Carry Out the analysis of a sentence to Ilya Farber", on August 5, 2013), "… an irreconcilability problem of nations expands …" ("Head Ministers and FMS will report to the State Duma for Biryulevo", on October 23, 2013), "… Moscow is still the Russian city but in five years it will stop being it with guarantee ("To recede to Russia, having left Moscow to Eurasia (on October 23, 2013), "… nobody cancelled the right of nations and if the nation is presented not by the certain state, but ethnic minority, diaspora, ethnic group, it anyway keeps and will keep its own features … Why not to allow Chechens to shoot in the air at the weddings in Moscow? Why not to allow the Russian Orthodox Jews to observe Saturday? And the sharia court of the first instance, which decision will be quite legitimate if there will not be complaints in all-civil court?" (The Ethnic question is not solved due to ignoring of nations, on November 4, 2013).

The following indicator - Affiliation’s indicator (in the analyzed materials the frequency is at the level of 1.96%) - the activity directed on search of friendly relations, social cooperation, mutual support, aspiration to mutual understanding, accession to group. Components of the affiliation’s indicator are Hope for support (0.58%) and Fear of rejection (0.02%) which influence on the success of activity concerning the positive relationship regulation in the society.

Among the analyzed materials there are also articles which provoke the aggravation of contradictions between the countries and the people, in particular, in the publication under the title "… the first «penalty for Russian" was ordered In Moldova ". The author reports: "The police of the Moldavian city of Beltsy wrote out a penalty at a rate of 400 lei (about 1 thousand rubles) to the local office leader of the Russian youth League of Moldova Victor Kalashnikov … was subjected to the administrative punishment for use of posters and banners with inscriptions in Russian during a protest action" (on July 31, 2013). In the article "Recede to Russia, Having Left Moscow to Eurasia" the author offers projective situations for the readers’ thoughts "A visa regime with the Central Asian republics is perfect but what to do with military bases in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan; to close border for Azerbaijanians — it is excellent, but whether we will manage to defend then loyalty of the regime of Aliyev concerning close and remote oil pipelines across the territory of Azerbaijan …" (on October 23, 2013).

The words describing establishment, maintenance or restoration of the power, i.e. the influence, control or influence on group of people or the world in general belong to the category "Power". In the analyzed publications of the Izvestiya newspaper the load on this category made 7.8% (high value) that it is possible to explain as authors’ aspiration of articles to superiority demonstration of government institutions, mobilization of actions of political institutes with the purpose to make impression on readers, such as: "The State Duma is ready to consider legislatively a question about the involvement of army to the solution of international problems" ("Head Ministers and FMS will report to the State Duma for Biryulevo", on October 23, 2013), "members of SPCh will discuss at the end of January at a special meeting concerning exclusion, deportation and an extradition of foreign citizens from Russia ("SPCh opposed the deportation of labor migrants", on January 14, 2014).

The consideration of the category "Activity", i.e. the contents in publications of actively stressed lexicon, fixes the high specific weight of the specified category – at the level of 18.4%. However this category needs to be compared with a loading indicator in texts on the motivational category "Achievement" understood as aiming at the constructive solution of problems. Therefore the motive expressiveness of "Achievement" (specific weight) on the states’ level, the management of organizations, interactions of people groups not only directly influences their subsequent life, but also defines the intensity of actions, and also can become the predetermining vector of the public relations’ development. In the analyzed materials the mention frequency of such a motive as "Achievement" has low indicators - for the analyzed period it made 2.5% which concedes to value of the category "Activity" for 7 times. Weak expressiveness of the motive "Achievement" (in comparison with "Activity") confirms a postulate that welfare norms of society focus on importance of lack of mistakes in the course of any activity, i.e. it is possible to speak rather about commitment of publications’ authors in materials to reflect the preservation of the developed way, regularity in the atmosphere of interethnic relationship, than aspiration to reflect something really cardinally new in ethnonational relationship, for example replication of such well-known thesis as "… interethnic tension is provoked not by representatives of some people, but the people deprived of culture, respect for traditions …" ("The State Duma is ready to tame "immoral International", on December 13, 2013).

Thus, the analyzed publications demonstrate insufficient use of print mass media (for example the Russian newspaper "Izvestiya") for the purpose of strengthening of the Russian people unity and comprise the danger of formation of extremely negative representations and readers’ opinions on an ethnoisolationism in the sphere of interethnic interaction. The results of author's research given below testify the same.

Technique. Authors chose and studied monoethnic subjects (The Yaroslavl and Vologda regions), and also the polyethnic region of the Russian Federation (Republic of Dagestan) where the survey of adult population during the period from January to October, 2014 was conducted (N=1200). This selection is statistically representative concerning an ethnic origin, social and demographic characteristics, and also territorial distribution of respondents in regions.

The following problems are revealed as research problems:

to study ideas of regions’ inhabitants about the influence degree on destabilization of the international relations of various institutional structures;

to reveal specifics of a social distance manifestation at representatives of various ethnosocial groups;

to analyze opinions of respondents about the opportunity of constructive international practices in the sphere of informal communication, and also in the field of work;

to reveal the experience and contradiction nature in the interethnic interaction of respondents.


First of all, the analysis of public opinion about the possibility of influence on deterioration of international relations in the Russian society of such subjects, as state agencies of authorities/officials; activities of certain citizens; nationalist movements; diasporas/associations; activity of mass media and political parties; and also activity of the religious organizations are submitted as interesting (Table 1).

  Don't render / don't influence the sphere international rather. the relations (in %) Less other subjects are involved in the sphere of the international relations’ regulation (in %) the Same role. as well as at other participants international interactions (in %) the leading role in regulation of the international relations Belongs (in %)
Government bodies authorities / officials 44.4 11.7 9.9 34.1
Activity of certain citizens 41.7 12.1 14.6 31.5
Activity of nationalists 27.5 9.9 15.9 46.6
Activity of diasporas / associations 48.8 15.1 11.1 25.1
Activity of mass media 32.3 14.6 14.9 38.2
Activity of political parties 45.8 17.4 12.0 24.8
Activity of the religious organizations 48.8 11.3 10.5 29.5

Table 1: N=1200, January-October, 2014, in the % of the total number of respondents.

According to the obtained data nationalist groups (46.6%); Mass media (38.2%); government branches of the power (including officials) (34.1%) possess the greatest potential and opportunities of destabilization in the international relations atmosphere. More often respondents of two age groups-1) from 18 to 22 years (50.9%); 2) from 30 to 49 years (47.8%) spoke about the significant role of nationalist groups: whereas respondents of the Vologda region (41.5%) and inhabitants of Dagestan (39.2%) complain about the activity of mass media more often. Distinctions between distributions can be considered reliable according to Pearson's chi-square=48, 24 (df=8, r=0.000 ≤ p=0.001>; Chi-square theory.=26, 13 (df=8,p=0.001)). Along with it, the greatest share of negative estimates concerning state agencies belongs to the respondents living in Dagestan (41.7%), to participants of 50 years and senior (38.5%), and also the respondent with secondary special or higher education (36.3-34.1%). The activity of diasporas (48.8%), the religious organizations (48.8%) and political parties (45.8%) is less destructive according to respondents’ estimates. Thus, more often respondents aged from 50 years and senior do not estimate structurally the activity of political institutes (31.5% where distinctions between distributions can be considered reliable i.e. Pearson's chi-square=25.2 (df=12, r=0.014 ≤ p=0.05)>; Chisquare theory=21, 03 (df=12, p=0, 05)).

The measurements of emotive (with the application of the indicator "How do you react to representatives of other nationalities in your environment?") and behavioral components of the social content (readiness for various forms of interaction with representatives of different ethnic groups) were undertaken for the purpose of revelation of a social distance and contradictions’ features in interethnic interaction of territorial subjects residents of the Russian Federation, differed by ethnic structure [16]. In accordance with the conducted research, more than 2/3 inhabitants of monoethnic regions (64.9% of respondents in the Yaroslavl region and 76.8% of respondents of the Vologda region) and only 46.6% of participants of the polyethnic territorial subject of the Russian Federation express the neutral relation to the presence of representatives of other ethnic groups.

Thus, the low-profitable groups (62.5%-65.4%), respondents aged from 23 till 49 years (67.1-73.0%), and also women (64.6%) positioned a neutral position more often than others. Only a third of respondents (29.4%) chose a position "I am positive, I have many common interests with representatives of other ethnic groups" at designation of own opinion to other ethnoses’ stay on their territory. More often respondents of Dagestan (51.0%), representatives of highly profitable groups (44.8%), and also participants aged from 18 till 22 years (39.6%) declared it. Inhabitants of the Vologda region (12.5%) and men (10.9%), and also respondents aged from 23 till 29 years (10.3%) admitted more often that "they are negative as they do not find the general topics with them».

Concerning a projective situation "What did you do if your close relative married the representative of other nationality?" only a quarter of respondents spoke that they would support this marriage (26.4%) whereas 14.4% of respondents designated indifference to such event, and every eighth participant of poll did not hide that they would condemn this marriage (12.8%). More than 1/3 respondents positioned the conditionality of actions in an assessment of interethnic marriage of the relative by the national or religious identity of the alleged spouse (46.0%). Dagestans (54.4%), representatives of low-profitable group (34.1%), respondents with the general secondary education (33.3%) and also women (31.3%) noted that they would support the interethnic marriage of the relative. Men (16.5%-19.5%), respondents with the general secondary education (13.7%-17.8%), respondents from average or prosperous groups equally (13.6%-15.5%) showed the condemnation or indifference more often than others. Respondents with the highest or a secondary special education (48.3%-49.5%) and also participants with the average income expressed the determinacy opinions on interethnic marriage of the relative by national or religious features of the future spouse (47.6%).

A question "Are there people of other nationalities among your friends?" was asked and 75.0% of respondents answered in the affirmative way whereas every fifth respondent chose the negative answer (21.0%). The analysis of answers’ distribution in a section of a national identity of respondents revealed that representatives of the Russian ethnos (only 59.2%) tell about the existence of international friendship less than others (Table 2).

"Are there people of other nationalities among your friends?"
Nationality of respondents yes no It is difficult to answer
The Avar 95.0% 1.7% 3.3%
The Azerbaijanian 95.8% 3.4% 0.8%
The Armenian 91.7% 6.5% 1.9%
The Dargin 100.0% - -
The Kumyk 96.0% 4.0% -
The Lezgian 100.0% - -
Russian 59.2% 34.6% 6.2%
Friend nationality of 94.2% 4.3% 1.4%
Total 75.0% 21.0% 4.1%

Table 2: Distribution of answers to a question: "Are there people of other nationalities among your friends?" depending on a national identity of respondents (N=1200, January- October, 2014, in %).

For the purpose of behavioral strategy clarification in the sphere of labor relations in the surveyed regions the question "Would you prefer to work with people only of your nationality?" was offered. It was found out that for more than half of the interrogated inhabitants the similar prospect is characterized by indifferent strategy of behavior (57.0%). The opportunity to work in monoethnic collective suits to nearly a quarter of number of all respondents (24.6%) while 18.4% of respondents do not feel enthusiasm. Thus, the most obviously indifferent position is presented in answers of Lezgians and Avars (71.1% and 70.0% respectively) and respondents of age group from 30 to 49 years (61.2%) living in Dagestan (66.7%). Inhabitants of the Vologda region (40.6%), Russians by the selfidentification (39.9%), respondents only starting their professional activity aged from 23 till 29 years (30.2%) demonstrate the positive relation for the prospect of onenational labor community more often. More than 1/3 thirds of Azerbaijanians (44.5%) and Kumyks (36.0%) and also people living in multinational Dagestan (26.0%) or respondents aged from 18 till 22 years (22.8%) expressed their essentially negative attitude to the implementation of work in the monoethnic team [17].

For the consideration of interethnic interaction character and experience respondents were suggested to answer the following questions: "Were there any cases when you showed your irritation to people of a certain nationality?", "Did you face the spiteful attitude towards you because of your nationality? » The analysis of the first question showed that more than a half of respondents declared that there were not cases of own irritation to people because of their nationality in their life (59.2%). Thus, this option is more often chosen by Kumyks or Lezgians (87.5% and 81.1% respectively) and also by respondents from Dagestan (72.0%).

The small share of respondents noted that such a case of their irritation was once (13.5%). Dargins (17.6%), Russians (15.7%), and also Azerbaijanians (15.4%) regardless of the residence region (from 12.4% in the Republic of Dagestan to 14.7% in the Vologda region) admitted the similar fact. Whether more than a quarter of research participants answering the following question "Were there any cases when you showed your irritation to people of a certain nationality?" recognized that there were several such cases in their daily life (27.3%). Representatives of the Armenian diaspora (38.7%), Russians (33.1%), Avars (25.0%), and also people living in the territory of the Vologda or Yaroslavl areas (29.5% and 32.1% respectively) openly recognized many cases of their negative attitude towards people on the basis of a national component.

More than 2/3 respondents answered negatively (78.8%) on a question "Did you face the spiteful attitude towards you because of your nationality?" Authors consider this fact as a rather positive trend in interethnic interaction. Thus, representatives of the Dargwa ethnos (93.3%), Lezgians and Russians by self-identification (86.5% and 84.5%) or respondents of middle-profitable group (81.3%) positioned lack of a discriminatory practice more often. Only every tenth respondent (10.5%) among which Armenians (17.6%), Kumyks (17.4%), Azerbaijanians (15.5%) or needy respondents (15.9%) has single experience of the unequal attitude towards them because of a nationality. The share of those who repeatedly tested an aversion for himself on the basis of national exclusiveness also does not exceed 10.8% of respondents. Multiple nature of negative interethnic interactions finds powerful indicators in answers of Armenians (22.5%), Azerbaijanians (17.2%), Avars (13.8%), and also representatives of highly profitable groups of respondents (16.0%).


The content analysis of the Russian newspaper publications "Izvestiya" shows unsatisfactory realization of mass media opportunities (printing) directed on relationship harmonization of different ethnic groups representatives in the territory of Russia. The statement of materials with prevalence of the category "Stranger" focuses the reader’s attention on distance preservation with representatives of various social groups (including by the nationality). The analyzed materials can rather form stereotypic, intolerant views at people in the sphere of interethnic interaction.

The content analysis found out that indicators of specific weight of category “Hope for support” significantly concede for three times to similar data of Affiliation category – at the level of 0.6%. Such data give the chance to interpret the content of materials as follows: authors of publications seek to convince potential readers of interest of various levels authorities (from the federal center to municipalities heads), public associations, etc. to maintenance of positive interactions and harmonization of relations in the interethnic sphere (values of indicators "Force" (11.1%) and "Power" (7.8%)) also testify to it, but at the same time, in publications of the Izvestiya newspaper the disparity between the declared "aspiration to establishment of friendly relations, mutual understanding and social cooperation between representatives of different ethnoses" and real search of support in the environment of reader's audience takes place, i.e. at texts there is an imbalance and absence of coherence of categories of Affiliation (understood as "the activity directed on search of friendly relations, communication") and “Hope for support”. Contradictory, unpredictable or negative reaction of reader's audience to the thesis of search declared in publications in the society of friendly relations, mutual support between representatives of different ethnic groups can become the result of similar topic enlightenment of interethnic relationship taking into account the necessity of formation prevention to extreme views’ commitment.

At the same time, it should be taken into account that the ideas analysis of different regions inhabitants about the opportunities of various institutional structures’ influence (state agencies, the nationalist activities, diasporas, mass media, etc.) on destabilization of the international relations atmosphere revealed: if the research participants highly appreciated a mass media contribution in this aspect (it is on the second position among all estimated subjects) along with nationalist activities, government bodies of the power and the religious organizations did not receive unambiguous estimates of respondents about their role in the sphere of the relations regulation in the national field. The matter is that among the respondents recognizing one of the leading roles of state agencies in harmony destabilization in the international sphere interrogated along with 1/3 third, the other third of respondents denies any participation of state agencies in the regulation of interethnic interactions (44.4%). Speaking about religious organizations and here on an equal basis with 48.8% of opinions on lack of their influence on the relations between representatives of the different nationalities, nearly a third of participants expresses the opinion about their leading role in the stability aggravation of the international atmosphere (29.5%). Inhabitants of Dagestan (42.0% where distinctions between distributions can be considered reliable since Pearson's chi-square=67.51 (df=8, r=0.000 ≤ p=0.001)>; Chisquare theory.=26.13 (df=8, p=0.001)) declared it more often.

More often than others the Dagestan respondents (40.5%), and also respondents aged from 30 till 49 years (36.7%) highly appreciated the activity of certain citizens in the context studied by authors. Thus, it is possible to note that, in the ideas of different groups of the population there is a stable and at the same time disturbing assessment about a destructive role of subjects analyzed by authors. Questions connected with the formation of conditions for the state unity strengthening, formation of the Russian civil consciousness, harmonization of the international (interethnic) relations, developments of international (interethnic) and interreligious dialogue should be regulated. It occurs at the state level "Strategy of the State National Policy of the Russian Federation for the Period till 2025." (December 19, 2012) the Plan of measures’ realization in 2013-2015. Strategy of the state national policy of the Russian Federation for the period till 2025" (July 15, 2013), the Federal target program "Strengthening of the Russian Nation and Ethnocultural Development Unity of Russian People (2014-2020)" (August 20, 2013), together with the regional programs directed on strengthening of civil unity and harmonization of international relations. The similar phenomena can testify about the poor knowledge of the population and small implementation efficiency of specified programs.

Considering only a share of a positive self-assessment of feelings while analyzing the interethnic contact in representations of one ethnic groups in relation to other ethnophors, it is worth to be fixed that the emotive component of social direction for the constructive interaction which is a component of the tolerant relations formation in the regions surveyed by authors is expressed rather poorly as it is present only at 1/3 respondents and has the expressed differentiating signs in different social and demographic groups.

The experience analysis of interethnic interaction of respondents-inhabitants of the Yaroslavl, Vologda areas, and also polyethnic Dagestan (2013-2014) found out that during the specified period every fifth of respondents faced the spiteful attitude towards himself in view of own ethnic origin; whereas the share of respondents which admitted the facts of personal hostility expression by representatives of other ethnic groups on the basis of national exclusiveness reached 40.8% of all answers. Authors assume that the powerful difference in answers to questions about the existence or lack of negative experience in interethnic interaction, perhaps, testifies on the one hand to the overestimated respondents’ demonstrativeness of own behavior model testifying to ephemeral courage in manifestation of the hostility on a national sign, and with another - conceals unwillingness of a certain part interrogated to make property of publicity discriminatory treatment on the basis of ethnic distinctions.

Application of the adapted Bogardus E. scale showed: interethnic contacts in the sphere of work and in the sphere of informal communication are perceived by interrogated people extremely variously. Within the individual and selective interpersonal relations (the question "Are there people of other nationalities among your friends?") in answers more than 2/3 respondents out of interrelation with a living environment the high level of openness to interaction was found whereas the sphere of the labor relations reflects the more indifferent strategy of respondents’ behavior (57.0%). In general, the careful analysis allows to note the probability of that the polyethnic environment can offer more opportunities as a factor of positive interethnic directions’ formation.

In general, the comparative analysis of social distance specifics in interethnic interaction of the surveyed regions inhabitants allowed to record that the revealed distinctions are caused not only by ethnic structure of the accommodation territory or a national identity, but also by social and demographic characteristics of respondents.


As the mass media possibilities in the sphere of interethnic interactions harmonization are not implemented totally at the present stage, the authors suggest to focus attention on publicizing of ethnocultural development processes of people and regions, on tolerant images formation of ethnic groups, certain regions, on distribution of values and symbols integration in regions and in the country in general, on forms and methods of ideological formation by means of mass media not only by ethnic, but also all-civil identity, on forms and methods of creative, peaceful interaction of ethnic groups.

For the successful realization and promoting of actions in the sphere of unity strengthening of the Russian nation and ethnocultural development of the people, it is considered that it is necessary to provide not only a regularity, systematicity, a continuity of information and propaganda process, but also to observe the promotion impact continuity (in a family, preschool and educational institutions, labor/work teams, in mass media, etc.).

Authors consider that the efforts made by the relevant social institutes and youth, public organizations have to aim not only preservation of a significant share of international friendly contacts, but also to be focused on the increasing distribution, promoting, rooting of the friendly, positive relations between representatives of different nationalities that can promote both to peaceful co-existence of different ethnic groups, and aspiration to search of cross-cultural cooperation and dialogue by interaction participants.

Besides, monitoring researches of a social distance, interethnic contacts directions in all regions of the Russian Federation directed on receiving materials for identification of contradictions in interethnic interaction and preventions of protest moods, international tension and xenophobia, and also the opening interests and requirements of different ethnosocial groups are necessary.


The article was prepared as part of the project Culture of Tolerance as Factor of Harmonization of the Interethnic Relations» (supported by a Grant of the President of the RF, No. MK-1080.2014.6).


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