Russians on the Correlation Between the Interests of the State and Human Rights. An Empirical Analysis
Abstract. The article is devoted to the analysis of the current state and dynamics of the Russians' views on the relationship between state interests and human rights from mid-1990s through 2017. On the basis of a series of all-Russian representative surveys it is shown that in the 1990s, despite the state's refusal to fulfill the key functions, domination of the norm of the priority of the state interests over human rights (traditional for Russia) still remained due to the inertia of the norms and values system. However, in the late 1990s the process of changes in Russians' attitude to the right of the state to realize its interests to the disadvantage of human rights (and, consequently, its right to legitimate violence against citizens), as well as to the right of individual to have his own interests and to protect them in any way, was initiated. In the 2000s, this process accelerated, and now, for the first time in the newest history of the country, the norm of the priority of state interests over human rights has lost its dominance. Currently Russian society is split into two polar groups comprising about 20% of population each, while the rest of the population form "silent majority" which does not have a clear position on this issue. For Russia, this situation marks the beginning of a "silent revolution," the consequences of which can be enormous, since in neo-etacratic societies the norm of priority of the state interests over human rights lies in the foundation of their "institutional matrix". It is also demonstrated that interest in political rights and democratic freedoms is not characteristic for supporters of the human rights priority in Russia – for them it is primarily about socio-economic rights. Moreover, they, as well as Russians in general, are largely convinced that the western way of development is unsuitable for our country.