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Role of Political Values in the Process of Regime Transformation: A Comparison of Russia and Ukraine

Student: Varvara Podrugina

Supervisor: Boris Makarenko

Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences

Educational Programme: Politics. Economics. Philosophy (Master)

Final Grade: 8

Year of Graduation: 2020

This work aimed at testing the revised theory of modernization by Ronald Inglehart and Christian Welzel on the example of Russia and Ukraine. The theory states that economic prosperity leads to the shift in dominant values – from survival to self-expression ones. This shift implies an increase in the level of emancipative values, which, in turn, is supposed to boost people’s aspirations to pursue freedom and demands for correspondent institutional changes towards democracy. We studied the second “half” of the mechanism – from changes in values to regime transformation – using the data of Wave 3, 5 and 6 of the World Values Survey. Following the logic of Inglehart and Welzel’s theory, we hypothesized that Russia’s weaker democratic performance in 2000s-2010s in comparison to Ukraine resulted from a lower level of emancipative values in Russia. So, we compared the dynamics of the WVS indices of emancipative values and post-materialism in Russia and Ukraine in 1995-2011 and observed if the shifts were followed by corresponding changes in political regime, operationalized by the democracy index of the Freedom House. It turned out that both values indices increased in both countries during the research period, while the trajectory of regime transformation was quite different. In Russia the index of democracy was decreasing throughout the whole period, whereas the dynamics of the Ukrainian one were not linear, but in the end the index did rise. Thus, we found no correlation in case of Russia and only a partial one – in Ukrainian case. However, the quantitative results and their qualitative interpretation did reveal some useful implications for the revised modernization theory and its applicability to specific cases.

Full text (added May 24, 2020)

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