Is multiculturalism in Russia possible? Intercultural relations in North Ossetia-Alania
This article examines intercultural relations in the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania (RNO-A). The research is based on the theory of acculturation of J. Berry and uses the hypotheses and measures developed in the Mutual Intercultural Relations in Plural Societies project. The RNO-A is the most favorable place for Russians living in the North Caucasus because attitudes toward the Russian minority in the RNO-A are not discriminatory. Our goal was to test three hypotheses in the RNO-A: the multiculturalism hypothesis, the integration hypothesis, and the contact hypothesis. We conducted a sociopsychological survey. The sample included members of the ethnic majority, the Ossetians (N= 318), and members of the ethnic minority, the Russians (N= 327). Data processing was carried out using structural equation modeling (SEM) separately for the ethnic minority and for the ethnic majority, and the models were compared with each other. The results show that perceived security among the Russians (the ethnic minority) as well as among the Ossetians (the ethnic majority) promoted support for a multicultural ideology, tolerance, and mutual integration. The number and frequency of friendly intercultural contacts had a positive and significant impact on a preference for integration among both the Ossetians and the Russians. An integration strategy and the expectation of integration promoted life satisfaction in both groups. Because the results of the study confirmed all three hypotheses, we conclude that interethnic relations between the Russians and the Ossetians in the RNO-A are based on the principles of multiculturalism.