Perception and Attitudes Toward Democracy in Russia and Europe

Salmina A.A.,

Senior Researcher, Laboratory for Comparative Studies in Mass Consciousness, Expert Institute, National Research University Higher School of Economics,

elibrary_id: 817890 | ORCID: 0000-0002-9170-0867 | RESEARCHER_ID: B-8392-2015

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2019.04.09

Rubric: Russia Today

For citation:

Salmina A.A. Perception and Attitudes Toward Democracy in Russia and Europe. – Polis. Political Studies. 2019. No. 4. P. 119-131. (In Russ.).

The study was implemented in the framework of the Basic Research Program at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE University) in 2018. The author thanks V.S. Magun for valuable comments and tips on finalizing the article


The article presents the results of the study based on the data of the 2012 European Social Survey. The author analyzed the correlation between the population’s attitude towards democracy and the assessment of the importance of its individual aspects (“understanding” of democracy). The analysis was carried out on data from Russia and groups of European countries (Northern Europe, Western Europe, Southern Europe, and the post-socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe). The average resident of all European countries would like to live in a democracy; Nordic countries most strongly wanted to live in a democracy, whilst those who least strongly wished to came from postsocialist countries, especially Russia. Despite a number of similarities between groups of European countries, one can see significant differences between groups of countries in Western and Northern Europe and the group of post-socialist countries and Russia. Russians and the population of the group of post-socialist countries have a lesser attitude towards democracy in their understanding of the importance of its individual characteristics (correlation coefficients with each of the signs of democracy are lower than in other groups of countries). Most signs of democracy are equally important components in the perceptions of the population of Russia and post-socialist countries, while in other groups of countries these views are more differentiated. The study draws attention to the lack of validity of questions about the general attitude towards democracy, used in many international and national polls. It is associated with differences in the understanding of this concept by supporters of democracy in different groups of countries. 

democracy, attitudes toward democracy, Europe, Russia, European Social Survey.


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Content No. 4, 2019

See also:

Shapiro Ien,
Rethinking Democratic Theory in the Face of Contemporary Politics. – Polis. Political Studies. 2001. No4

Krasin Yu.A.,
Metamorphoses of Democracy in the Changing World. – Polis. Political Studies. 2006. No4

Mirage of democracy. – Polis. Political Studies. 2014. No6

Nesterova S.V., Sibirko V.G.,
Perception of Political Leaders and the Attitude towards Democracy: Some Features Peculiar to Russians' Consciousness. – Polis. Political Studies. 1997. No6

Pastukhov V.B.,
From Statehood to the State: Europe and Russia. – Polis. Political Studies. 1994. No2



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