Staunton, August 2 – Compared to Europeans and residents of other former communist countries, Russians are much less interested in protecting the rights of minorities, Alla Salmina of Moscow’s Higher School of Economics says in a new article based on data from 28 countries in the European Social Survey.
Published in the latest issue of Polis (“Interconnection of the Understanding of Democracy and Attitudes toward It in Russia and European Countries” (in Russian; Polis, 4 (2019): 119-131) and summarized at iq.hse.ru/news/300363065.html), the article says that Russians share many of the values of democracy elsewhere but not on minority rights.
Russians, in ways similar to other nations, say that for them priorities of democratic development are “free and just federal elections, the possibility of each to freely and openly express his political views, even if they are radical, and the offering to voters of really different programs of political parties.”
But with regard to the protections of minorities, Russians are outliers. Overwhelmingly they view the defense of the rights of minorities of all kinds as much less a characteristic of democracy than do “all other countries, both ‘Western’ and those in the past socialist,” Salmina says the data show.
That “majoritarian” bias both helps to explain Vladimir Putin’s policies toward ethnic, religious and sexual orientation minorities and quite possibly has been exacerbated in recent times by the Kremlin leader’s policies.