Monday, June 12, 2023

Russians No Longer Think Senior Male in Families Should have the Right to Make All Decisions, a Shift with Significant Political Consequences

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 10 – Vladimir Putin has based his appeal on the assumption that Russians prefer traditional values, including traditional family arrangements in which fathers or at least the senior male present make all the decisions and are deferred to by everyone else. But a new poll suggests Russians are rapidly moving away from support for that arrangement.

            In 2006, VTsIOM found Russians equally divided on this question, with 38 percent favoring the senior male making decisions and 35 percent saying decisions should be made jointly. A new poll shows the share favoring tradition sinking to 18 percent and the share favoring joint decisions rising to 68 percent (

            Commenting on this poll, Moscow analyst Boris Makarenko says that this process varies among different groups in the population: rural residents, those without higher education, North Caucasians and those who get their news from television rather than the Internet still the traditional arrangement (

            Those who live in cities – as 75 percent of Russians now do – those with more education, those who don’t live in the Caucasus, and those who rely on the Internet increasingly dominate Russian views. Over time, the size of the two groups will increasingly shift away from the traditional one.

            That will have enormous social and political consequences because changes in how people think decisions should be made in families or other small groups will inevitably come to affect how they think decisions should be made in the country as a whole. And to the extent that is true, Putin has bet on a declining resource, although it may be enough to last his time.


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