Methodology: in-depth interviews, focus groups, opinion poll.
Empirical base of research: The scientific report is carried out in the basis of study, conducted using a multipurpose questionnaire developed by a project manager for cross-national research in order to compare political ideals within different cultures. The results of the qualitative part of the research of political perceptions of russian students are based on the interviews carried out within a few stages. This report includes the results of two last waves of interviews, conducted in autumn of 2013 and 2014. A total of 353 students of MSU, MGIMO University and NRU HSE were interviewed. As for the quantitative of the study, it is based on the study, conducted in 2014-2015 years. There were 1,400 Russian respondents (540 students of the HSE, 496 - the Moscow State University, and 364 – MGIMO). There were different respondents in qualitative and quantitative stages of the research. For a better understanding of the mentality of the Russian students the project is meant to be comparative. The report also includes an analysis of the data concerning American students attitudes. The empirical base of this part of the study consists of individual and group interviews with 30 student at Princeton University, and a survey of 450 students at Princeton University. This part was conducted in late 2014 and early 2015.
Results of research:
The major result of the research project is the elaboration of a unique and universal research tool, based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches and designed for cross-country studies, as well as an illustration of its comparative potential.
Using this methodology, the primary quantitative and qualitative data concerning attitudes and political ideals of the social group under consideration were collected.
In addition to the research of Russian elite universities’ students, the questionnaire was used to conduct the researches in the United States (Princeton University), China (Shanghai University), the UK (Cambridge University), and Germany (University of Bremen and the Hertie School of Governance). The results of these studies will be further analyzed and will be the ground for a large-scale comparative study of political and cultural attitudes of students from different countries.
At this stage of the project, the major Russian students’ political views on the image of their country along with their political views in the context of the collective memory were analyzed. The analysis demonstrates the key role of geopolitical and authoritarian ideas and sentiments in the structure of their attitudes. The research also demonstrated the high level of polarization caused by opposite values shared by the members of this social group. The report contains an attempt of a comparative analysis of the political orientations of Russian and American students.
The analysis of authoritarian attitudes was made using the latent-class and regression analysis. It was demonstrated that there is a number of factors that may affect the commitment of this social group representatives to authoritarian values. The religious beliefs, the occupation of parents and sex of the respondent are among these factors.