Valdai Discussion Club launched first grantees report
On July 31st in Moscow the Valdai Discussion Club launched the first report prepared under the auspices of the Research Grants Program of the Foundation for the Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club.
The report "The Russian Elite 2020" analyzes the values, mindset and ideological orientation of post-Soviet elites, as well as the factors that influence their formation and evolution. Based on the results of surveys conducted over the past decades by one of the report's authors, distinguished sociologist William Zimmerman of University of Michigan, the Russian-American research group composed a portrait of a typical representative of the Russian elite in the 2020s, and forecasted how elite values and attitudes will continue to evolve and what effect they will have on Russian domestic and foreign policy.
According to William Zimmerman, the Russian political system is developing along the lines of a Western democracy, and it will continue to do so until around 2020. However, the process will be slow due to the level of support for post-materialist values among the representatives of different cohorts of the Russian elite. "Even with young people there is no increase in political activity; economic growth and material values in general are more important for them," said Yegor Lazarev, Research Fellow at the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research at the Higher School of Economics National Research University.
The authors of the report also said that the increased anti-Americanism among the Russian elite was a key to read foreign policy attitudes. Eduard Ponarin, Professor of Sociology, Director of the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research at the Higher School of Economics National Research University, pointed out that "those born between 1960-1970 used to be the most pro-American group in 1993, but now they have become the most anti-American."
"The main task of this report and other workings of the Valdai Club is to bring to the Russian and international elite the objective analysis of the threats and opportunities for re-evaluation of policies or confirmation of the conviction of the made decisions," said Pavel Andreev, Executive Director of the Valdai Club Foundation. "This research topic is very important for Russia and especially for the Valdai Discussion Club, which this year will hold its 10th anniversary meeting where the key issue of the discussion will be the Russian identity", he added.
The Valdai Club Research Program was launched in November 2011. An international competition was held in 2012 in which almost 100 scholars from 21 countries participated with 11 teams selected to run studies on topics focusing on the most crucial problems of Russian politics, the economy, energy, social development and international relations. One of the main criteria was that research groups consisted of both Russian and foreign experts.
PDF versions of the report in English and Russian are available for download on www.valdaiclub.com