The Evolution of Russian Citizens’ Views on the Law:
Law Abidance or Justice?
First Deputy Director of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Head of the Center for Longitudinal Studies at the Institute for Social Policy of the National Research University Higher School of Economics, firstname.lastname@example.org_id: 346897 | ORCID: 0000-0002-3034-8521 | RESEARCHER_ID: F-2538-2014
Senior Researcher, Institute of Sociology of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, email@example.com_id: 678594 | ORCID: 0000-0001-7078-6203 |
The article uses the results of projects carried out as part of the NRU HSE Basic Research Program. It is a continuation of the previous publications of the same authors: Kozyreva P.M., Smirnov A.I. Business and the Population: A Lack of Trust – Reasons and Consequences. – Polis. Political Sstudies. 2017. No. 1. P. 53-69. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.17976/jpps/2017.01.06; and Kozyreva P.M., Smirnov A.I. Trust in Unstable Russian Society. – Polis. Political Studies. 2019. No. 5. P. 134-147. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.17976/jpps/2019.05.10
This article analyzes the nature and tendencies in how the Russian people’s attitudes are shifting when it comes to law abidance, examining how views have evolved on the rule of law, law abidance, justice, and other such views which reflect the nature of legal awareness, among citizens of various ages (the main focus being young people). The analysis is based on data from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMSHSE). The results of the study reveal that more Russian people are recognizing the true value of the law, as well as the increasing willingness of such law-abiding people to comply with legal requirements. However, despite these positive shifts, Russian society’s legal awareness remains inconsistent and vague, while law abidance is still not yet held as a personally significant virtue of vital importance shared by most citizens. Young people are ready to support justice, which is a significant moral value for them, rather than law-abidance and protecting order. Throughout the last ten years, Russian citizens’ views on the rule of law and on law abidance have been dramatically impacted by the external context which has developed legal awareness; age, education, and gender differences turn out to be much less substantial factors. The evident ever-developing understanding of the importance of law abidance has not been supported by an increase in the Russian population’s confidence that the government can guarantee the supremacy of the law and a uniform legal order.
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