Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Russians Have Almost No Common Values, Sociologist Says and Russians Agree

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 25 – A year ago, Igor Zadorin, the head of the TSIRKON Survey Center said that Russians are “very fragmented regarding values” and the role of those which might bind them together is very weak. As a result, politicians can act more freely because there will be less opposition but with less confidence that what they do will find the necessary support.

            Such a pattern can be sustained for a long time, Zadorin said; but it faces collapse when either the powers seek or the population demands not the continuation of what is but rather its change into something else. Then the absence of such shared values becomes a major stumbling block and even a source of crises of one kind or another.

            Moscow’s Kommersant reported Zadorin’s words (, but Kazan’s Business-Online not only reported them but opened its pages to comments from ordinary Russians (  Now, for NG-Tsenarii, Internet analyst Sergey Vokhlachev examines their responses (

            They provide a devastating confirmation of what Zadorin said, the analyst suggests; and it is especially striking that the comments were signed. “There were almost no anonymous ones,” he says.  But the specifics of the remarks of some of them deserve broader attention because of what they say about Russian life today and perhaps tomorrow.

            “In Russia,” one wrote, “everyone is out for himself alone. Especially in recent years. Everyone hates everyone else and is ever angrier.”

            “Divide and conquer,” observes another. “The more fragmented society is, the easier and more profitable for the powers because it can be more easily manipulated.”

            “Mohammed Ali [once said]: ‘Russia frightens me: people in buses look like they are headed to the electric chair,’” adds a third.

            “’Not by bread alone,’” says another. “In the Bible it is written how having left Egypt, the Jewish people for 40 years wandered in the desert of the Arabian peninsula. Over t his period, almost all who remembered what it was to be a slave died and only a new generation could enter the promised land. Thus, with us have been needed 40 years of reforms during which the generation which lived in the USSR has disappeared.”

            Others say: “Deputies, bankers, and those who love the good life should ask themselves one and the same question: are we here to devote all our strength and means to the good of society or are we simply passing through” and taking care of ourselves.”

            “The only value is envy. If my neighbor gets a better car then I have, I will have a car full of anger.”

            The only thing Russians really care about is showing off and showing up others.

            “The intentional destruction of all our common values has taken place over the last 20 to 30 years

            In tsarist and Soviet times, people only cared about survival. “Now it is just the same. And further than the first level of the needs pyramid, we have not gone. We’ve been marching in place for centuries.” 

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