Trust, Responsibility, and Freedom: FocusGroup Research on Contemporary Patterns of Union Formation in Russia
We intend to highlight gender and educational differences in perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of cohabitation vs marriages. We conducted 8 focus groups in Moscow in January 2012 (4 with men, 4 with women, half with higher educated, the other half with lower educated). Trust between men and women was claimed by participants to underly the preferences for marriage or cohabitation. Religious beliefs of participants form a ‘three stages of union’ theory, expressed by them: cohabitation in the beginning, civil marriage later when trust becomes stronger, and finally a church wedding when trust becomes the highest. Values of responsibility, freedom, fidelity and trust form participants’ expressed ideals in union formation. The highest level of trust is stated to be highest in proponents of marriage and in ideational cohabitors. People without strong type of union preferences claim to have lowest level of interpersonal trust.