Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Little Interest in Collective Action Across Russia, Scholars Find

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Apr. 14 – The most active people in Russia are committed to individual action rather than any collective approach, according to a new study by three Moscow sociologists. And that conclusion, Pavel Pryanikov says, contains an important message for those who will seek to rule the country after Putin leaves the scene.

            The study – available at -- says that conditions that could spark protests are increasing but that this protest is far more likely to take individual forms of the “I park where I like” than participation in demonstrations or collective action.

            In discussing the sociologists’ findings, Pryanikov says that what they show is the widespread existence of “Russian anarcho-capitalism. In Moscow, such people make up more than half of the population; but even in Saratov – almost half” (

            “These people,” he continues, “do not need the state and its paternalism: they rely only on themselves. But they do not intend to take into account the interests of society either.” They are focused only on themselves and on what they can and can’t do as individuals rather than as members of any larger category.

            This is an important finding for those who will seek to rule Russia after Putin. “There is no more collectivism and community in Russia,” Pryanikov says. Instead, “there is a demand by strong individualists that the powers fall in behind them” based on the idea that these people have achieved what they have despite the state and owe it and the broader society nothing.

            In a new Russia of the future, as a result, “it will be more important not to give something to these people or show concern about them but rather to cancel hundreds if not thousands of various prohibitions that have been imposed in Russia in recent years and to do so as quickly as possible, “in batches.”

            At the same time, however, Pryanikov says, “there are big differences among the regions,” and because that is the case, “it will be necessary to turn to federalism even more quickly because local people know better what they and those around them need and don’t need” than those further away.

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