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Basic human values of Russians: both different from and similar to other Europeans


  • Vladimir Magun

    (National Research University Higher School of Economics)

  • Maksim Rudnev

    (Senior research fellow at the National Research University Higher School of Economics and at the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences)


The basic values of the Russian population and the population of 31 European countries were compared with data obtained by the Schwartz Questionnaire, embedded into the fourth round of the European Social Survey. Conclusions about similarities and differences of basic human values between Russia and other European countries confirm the thesis that Russia is a country which shares a general logic of cultural and social development with the rest of the world and which has a lot in common with countries of a similar economic level and recent political history. In most value comparisons, Russia appeared to be closer to Post-Communist and Mediterranean countries than to Western European or Nordic countries.The fact that Russians are less committed than most Europeans to the values of caring, tolerance, equality, and ecology, and, conversely, more committed than most Europeans to the competitive “zero-sum” values of personal success, wealth, and power, confirms the validity of current moral criticisms of mass values and morals in Russia. The other disturbing fact is the relatively low commitment of Russians to the values of Openness to Change and, conversely, a strong focus on Conservation. So basic values of Russians create a cultural barrier to the development of an innovation-based economy and to the societal development as a whole. Thanks to a shift from country-level analysis to individual- and group-level analysis, we challenge the notion of the “average Russian” and demonstrate that the Russian value majority consists of two subtypes. Russia also has a sizable value minority and its members share values non-typical for most Russians. Two value minorities, which embrace 19% of the Russian population, are more committed to values of Openness and Self-Transcendence than the rest of the Russian population. These value groups are typical for European countries with more prosperous and happy populations and we can hypothesize that in Russia they are also resource groups for the country’s advancement.

Suggested Citation

  • Vladimir Magun & Maksim Rudnev, 2013. "Basic human values of Russians: both different from and similar to other Europeans," HSE Working papers WP BRP 23/SOC/2013, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hig:wpaper:23/soc/2013

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Harrison, Lawrence E., 2008. "The Central Liberal Truth: How Politics Can Change a Culture and Save It from Itself," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195331806.
    2. Robert Tibshirani & Guenther Walther & Trevor Hastie, 2001. "Estimating the number of clusters in a data set via the gap statistic," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 63(2), pages 411-423.
    3. Vladimir Magun & Maksim Rudnev & Peter Schmidt, 2013. "Within and Between-Country Value Diversity in Europe: Latent Class Analysis," HSE Working papers WP BRP 06/SOC/2013, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    4. Editors The, 2007. "From the Editors," Basic Income Studies, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-5, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Harkavets, Serhey, 2016. "Psychological Features Of Conflict In The System Of Modern Relations Between Russians And Ukrainians," EUREKA: Social and Humanities, Scientific Route OÜ, issue 2, pages 40-45.
    2. Ângela Leite & Ana Ramires & Diogo Guedes Vidal & Hélder Fernando Pedrosa e Sousa & Maria Alzira Pimenta Dinis & Alexandra Fidalgo, 2021. "Hierarchical Cluster Analysis of Human Value Priorities and Associations with Subjective Well-Being, Subjective General Health, Social Life, and Depression across Europe," Social Sciences, MDPI, vol. 10(2), pages 1-25, February.

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    More about this item


    basic values; European Social Survey; cross-country comparisons; within-country heterogeneity; culture barrier.;
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    JEL classification:

    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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