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Spatial and Temporal Boundaries of National Identities in Russia

Priority areas of development: humanitarian
The project has been carried out as part of the HSE Program of Fundamental Studies.

Goal of research: analysis of the prevailing national identities in the contemporary Russian collective consciousness, identification the areas of potential territorial conflicts based on various interpretations of national identity in modern Russian

Methodology: in-depth interviews, opinion poll.

Empirical base of research:

1. The empirical base of the first part consists of the results of the quantitative study conducted in 2014-2015 years (the survey of Russian top universities’ students and 382 American students). The findings of this research let us illustrate the explanatory potential of the proposed model.

2. The second part of the research aimed at studying the construction of the new nation-state borders, territorial identity, and the mobility of the Crimean youth in a changing nation-state boundaries, is based on 42 narrative interviews with Crimean students enrolled in Moscow universities.

3. The results of the pilot qualitative project aimed at identifying the main elements of the national identity of students in Kaliningrad region, Siberian and Far Eastern federal districts, are presented in the third part. 21 semi-structured interviews were conducted online (using Skype).

4. The fourth part is based on socio-demographic profiles and interviews with priests (20), and with church members (40), conducted by phone.

Results of research:

A model for the study of national identity, based on the analysis of such components as:

  • normative notions of the country as an object of national identity (type of relationshipы with other countries and the basic principles of public life);
  • some attitudes toward the country making it the object of national identity (country favoritism, the level of critical attitude toward the country and the call of duty).

A study of the national identity of leading Russian universities’ students based on the . proposed model. In order to better understand the specifics, the study is comparative (American students’ national identity is analized)

Among the areas of potential territorial conflicts, four are chosen: Republic of Crimea, Far East Federal District, Siberian Federal District, Kaliningrad Oblast.

The analysis of the results of the regional youth qualitative pilot research demonstrates that basic political orientations and elements of national identity of regional universities’ students do not differ fundamentally from orientations and identity of leading Moscow universities students, but a component of regional identity is essential in their perceptions (for a variety of reasons though).

The study of political identity on the example of the clergy and church people demonstrates that government intervention in the various aspects of social life is not an important factor for politicization of identity.


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