Basic Human Values of the Russians: Both Different from and Similar to Other Europeans
The basic values of the Russian population and the population of thirty-one European countries were compared with data obtained by Schwartz Questionnaire embedded into the fourth round of the European Social Survey. Conclusions about similarities and differences of basic human values between Russia and other European countries confirm the thesis that Russia is a country which shares with the other world the general logic of cultural and social development and which has a lot in common with the countries of similar economic level and recent political history. In most value comparisons Russia appeared to be closer to the Post-Communist and to the Mediterranean countries than to Western European or Nordic countries.
The fact that the Russians are less committed than most Europeans to the values of caring, tolerance, equality and ecology and conversely more than most Europeans committed to the competitive "zero- sum” values of personal success, wealth and power confirms the validity of current moral criticism of mass values and morals in Russia. The other disturbing fact is the relatively low commitment of Russians to the values of Openness to Change and conversely a strong focus on Conservation. So the Russian basic values create a cultural barrier to the development of innovative economy and to the society development as a whole.
Thanks to the shift from the country to an individual and group level of analysis we challenge the notion of the "average Russian" and demonstrate that the Russian value majority consists of two subtypes. Russia has the sizable value minority also and its members share the values atypical for most of the Russians. Two value minorities which embrace 19% of Russian population are more committed to values of Openness and Self-Transcendence than the rest of the Russian population. These value groups are typical for the European countries with more prosperous and happy populations and we can hypothesize that in Russia they are resource groups for the country advancement also.