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Russia’s “impressionable years”: life experience during the exit from communism and Putin-era beliefs

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  • William Pyle

Abstract

This article links Russians’ individual experiences during the late-Gorbachev and early-Yeltsin years to beliefs they espoused in the Putin era, over a decade later. Drawing on the 2006 wave of the Life in Transition Survey, I show that a range of attitudes – including diminished support for markets and democracy and stronger support for reducing inequality – can be explained by whether an individual suffered labor market hardships in the half decade from 1989 to 1994. Subsequent labor market disruptions, surprisingly, bear no such relationship to beliefs in 2006. Relative to the rest of the former Soviet Union, this pattern is unique. Though an explanation is difficult to pin down, one speculative hypothesis is that for Russians, individual economic hardship, in conjunction with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, may have been particularly disorienting. Life experiences during those years of instability, uncertainty, and diminished status may have left a uniquely enduring impression.

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  • William Pyle, 2021. "Russia’s “impressionable years”: life experience during the exit from communism and Putin-era beliefs," Post-Soviet Affairs, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(1), pages 1-25, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rpsaxx:v:37:y:2021:i:1:p:1-25
    DOI: 10.1080/1060586X.2020.1833558
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    Cited by:

    1. Timur Natkhov & William Pyle, 2022. "Revealed in Transition: The Political Effect of Planning's Legacy," CESifo Working Paper Series 9929, CESifo.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy

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