In this study, the authors pinpoint the similarities and differences between students at a Russian university and a Swedish university regarding the students’ value systems. What similarities and what differences are there between male Swedish students and male Russian students, and what similarities and what differences are there between the female students in the two countries? The authors’ interest was directed towards the gender differences between the two countries. A method employing three phases was developed for analyses of the value systems in the two countries. Students, who, as a category, often challenge existing value systems, were chosen as informants. Student samples from each country, varying in number from 63 to 100 informants, provided data in the three sub-studies. The results indicated that similar national concepts, when translated into English, exposed significant differences in their connotations, a phenomenon which is discussed in relation to implications for intercultural communication. In particular, the concepts of democracy and gender equality are highlighted. Differences and similarities related to gender and nationality constitute the bulk of the discussion. A major finding was that concepts describing close interpersonal relations, such as friendship and love, were cross-nationally rated higher than values more distant from the individual’s private world, such as democracy and equal rights.
In the article on the basis of the psycholinguistic experimental data obtained in 2009-2010 from Russian and Swedish students (the project on Swedish Institute grant) we consider internal features of several complex values (“Harmony”, “Freedom”, “Democracy”, “Tolerance” and “Patriotism”) and analyze their external systemic organization, taking into account both specificity of the two cultures and gender specifics. We argue that value concepts are hierarchically organized, forming different generalization levels from the simple to the more complex ones with intricate overlapping among different complex values within the system.