IRES Institutet för Rysslands- och Eurasienstudier

Historical origins of norms and values in Russian society

Project leader

Leonid Polishchuk

Project period

January 2016 - present 

Project description

We explain a lack of civic culture in today’s Russia, closely related to democratic deficit in the country, by a path-dependency which has originated at the critical juncture of transition to market economy. Suppression of democracy in the early 1990s to expedite unpopular reform had exposed the new institutional order to oligarchic capture and set in motion a vicious circle of extractive economic and political institutions. The latter have been shaping views and attitudes in the society via institutional learning, continuously suppressing civic culture, prompting exit from public affairs as an alternative to political voice, and solidifying social foundations for extractive institutions. We present evidence from the World Values Survey supporting the above conclusions.