Toleration And Intolerance In Mentality Of Russian Man


The prevailing idea of an article is a mechanism of relationship between toleration and intolerance in the mentality of a Russian man. Toleration in the mentality of a Russian man coexists with intolerance based on contradictory relationships. Toleration is interpreted as respect and clever understanding of complex diversity in various manifestations of the changing world. Toleration is understood as forms of self- expression of each individual, as willingness or readiness to accept different ways of behavior and beliefs of other people. The idea of long-term or prolonged patience and lenience in the personality of a Russian man as a transformative process of Russian toleration is reviewed in this work. Tolerant identity of behavior of a Russian man, representing a peasant-proletarian social layer in Russian society is justified and shown. Intolerance is assumed as disrespect and rejection to accept the world manifestations diversity, diversity of self-expressive forms and ways of manifestation of each individual, as unwillingness to recognize and accept behavior and beliefs of other people that differ from one’s behavior and beliefs. Intolerant behavior of a Russian man, belonging as an identity to the intellectual social stratum is substantiated. The developing process of Russian intolerance into marginality and estrangement is taken into consideration. Main methods of this research are methods of analysis and synthesis, comparison, extrapolation, a historical and logical method. The most important result of the study is development of specific recommendations for studying contradictory relationship of Russian unique toleration and intolerance with further involvement in active social activities.

Keywords: Mentalitya Russian mantoleration,intolerancecontradictioninteraction


Being cross-cultural by nature, toleration and intolerance in the mentality of a Russian is a subject of research in different allied sciences.

  • Firstly, a Russian man is very tolerant to some negative modern current processes in the Russian society; he counteracts them insufficiently.

  • Secondly, the general theory of toleration as a significant mental peculiarity of a Russian man is increasingly formulated in existing scientific works, but concrete mechanisms of interaction of toleration and intolerance are worked out to a lesser extent.

In the authors’ opinion, a deep research of toleration and intolerance in the mentality of a Russian man is necessary for involving a Russian man to take an active part in improvement and reformation of all spheres of a society, this special research.

Some aspects of tolerant and intolerant interaction in the mentality of a Russian man are studied by V. S. Barulin, J. Billington, D. Gorer, B. V. Emelyanov, R.Kaiser, D. S. Likhachev, N. A. Morozova, P. P. Nicholson, L. A. Sabirova, V. K. Trofimov, M. Walzer, S. Huntington, W. Shubart, H. Smith. They have analyzed the theoretical basis of toleration and intolerance as important features of a Russian man, but influence and impact of these features have not been examined thoroughly.

Problem Statement

Toleration and intolerance are acute urgent issues in contemporary social and philosophical literature.

  • V. S Barulin indicates that toleration is not only a constant feature of the Russian mentality, but it is a kind of prolonged patience.

  • B. V. Elemelyanov and L. A. Sabirova have pointed out that toleration is a mental peculiarity of a Russian man. (Emelyanov, 2005, Sabirova, 2015)

  • J. Gray and P. P. Nicholson have written that first and foremost toleration is conciliation for peace and calmness in the world. Mentality of a Russian man, as mentality of any other man is worth studying. (Gray, 2000, Nicholson, 1985)

  • N. A. Morozova stresses that a Russian man has behavioral intolerance. (Morozova, 2008)

  • V. K. Trofimov has underlined the specific behavior of a Russian man. (Trofimov, 2000)

  • M. Walzer remarks that a Russian man understands toleration as passive indifference and submissive acceptance. (Walzer, 1997)

  • Tolerant social behavior of a Russian man has an influence on commitment to the West Slavic dualism according to S. Huntington (Huntington, 2007).

  • From the point of view of W. Shubart, a Russian man is more committed to tolerant behavior. (Shubart, 2003) J. Billington (Billington, 1996), D. Gorer (Gorer, 1962), D. S. Likhachev (Likhachev, 1990) have discussed dual, ambivalent nature of the Russian toleration, have explained the Russian toleration as an essential feature of the Russian mentality, but the Russian intolerance is not recorded and not sufficiently analyzed by them.

Research Questions

The authors have taken an attempt to answer the following practical acute questions in this research:

  • What do toleration and intolerance as mental features of a Russian man represent?

  • What kind of mental features toleration/intolerance represent?

  • In what way do toleration and intolerance in the mentality of a Russian man interact?

  • What is a leading side and a driven side in toleration and in intolerance of a Russian man?

  • Which social layer is more tolerant, intolerant?

  • How should one consider toleration and intolerance of a Russian man while involving him in social activities?

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this research is the understanding of identical manifestations of Russian mentality toleration and intolerance for further development of concrete recommendations while involving a Russian man in dynamic acute social activities.

Research Methods

Main research methods are: bibliometric analysis, analysis and synthesis, comparison, method of history and logics, ascent from the abstract to the concrete. The authors have chosen these methods due to the object of research and its aims. The object of this study is the relationship of toleration and intolerance in the mentality of a Russian man.

  • The method of bibliometric analysis has helped to study features of toleration and intolerance in the mentality of a Russian man in the existing literature.

  • A comparative new analysis of various experts’ views has been performed; this analysis has helped to determine the main directions of solving the stated problem.

  • The authors have tried to explore the relationship of toleration and intolerance in mentality of a Russian man with usage of a historical and logical method.

  • Ascent from the abstract to the concrete allows one to justify a leading role in mentality of a Russian man's toleration towards intolerance.

The authors have considered the peculiarities of socio-humanitarian methods’ usage in the investigation of the Russian mentality (Sabirov, 2013).


The research allowed revealing coexistence of both toleration and intolerance in the mentality of a Russian person, as well as substantiating that in contradictory interrelations, toleration acts as leading, and intolerance – as a driven part.

Tolerance is a respect and acceptance of a diversity of the manifestation of the surrounding world, forms of self-expression and ways of manifestation of every specific person. It, in its basis, is toleration of other people’s opinions, acts, ideas, beliefs. Along with it, toleration is not only a tolerance, but readiness to recognize and to accept the behaviour and views of other people, which differ from one’s own behaviour and views. It manifested itself both as a person’s attitude to one’s own problems and hardships, and as an attitude to other person, other people, to a foreigner, a representative of other nations. Tolerance of the Russian person always finds its expression through other one’s traits: love, good, respect, gilt, compassion, obedience, ability to coexist with people on the basis of the principle of “unity in diversity”, mercy, sympathy for a weak person, hospitability, peacefulness, etc. It was, first of all, revealed through the concepts of friendliness, calmness, peaceful mood, striving for understanding. Some of these traits underlay toleration; others were closely connected with it.

Intolerance is disrespect for and unacceptance of the diversity of manifestations of the surrounding world, forms of self-expression and ways of manifestation of each specific person. In its essence, intolerance is bigoted attitudes to other people’s opinions, acts, ideas and beliefs; unreadiness to recognize and to accept behaviour and views of other people, which differ from one’s own behaviour and views. Intolerance of a Russian person has always been expressed through other traits: despotism, familiarity, cruelty, inclination to violence, maximalism, extremism, immaturity of intermediate layers of culture, inclination to anarchism and rebellionism, cruelty with respect to the weak, extremely critical treatment of oneself, etc. It, first of all, was revealed through the concepts of aggressiveness, malignancy, irritability, yarning for violence. Some of these traits underlay intolerance; others were closely connected with it.

Toleration and intolerance differ essentially from each other. The main differences between them are reflected in table 1 .

Table 1 -
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Toleration of a Russian person has been formed during long-term historical and cultural development and was conditioned by geographic and spatial (necessity to withstand harsh climate, to travel over large distances), economic (labour extensiveness, noneconomic coercion), social and political (dependence on authoritarian authority, absence of democracy) and spiritual (orthodox call for submissiveness, ideological control) factors. It was manifested, first of all, in times of evolutionary development of Russian society. At that time, the Russian person was able to treat with respect the interests, habits, beliefs of other people; one was striving for understanding them and achieving mutual agreement without application of violence, pressure. Besides, one aimed at a search of mutually acceptable compromise solution, was oriented to resolving conflict situations, arising during interaction with other people. Toleration often acquired a form of long-suffering and was generally typical of the Russian person, a representative of a peasant-proletarian social stratum. Long-suffering was expressed in the fact that a Russian person was tolerant of the things for which it is impossible to be tolerant, that one is able to worry along being for too long (for instance, readiness to tolerate dictators in power, not to express protest over injustice in the society, etc.). It played both a positive and negative role. On the one hand, it provided survival under harsh conditions, sustainability of spiritual world, stabilization of social relations; helped the Russian person to withstand, not to give in, and under the most complicated conditions to proceed to do one’s work. On the other hand, it facilitated the reduction of the energy and initiative of the person, formed one’s social passivity, oriented one to take pot luck. In addition, being dissatisfied with real life and understanding that one is incapable to change it, the Russian person tried to escape into an imaginary, virtual world. This other imaginary, life took on a great importance for one. This condition became a basis of development of religiousness, mysticism, utopian consciousness. Therefore, toleration is a preliminary positive trait of the Russian person, and long-term patience, understood as forgiving, is a negative trait. Along with it, long-term patience of the Russian person as a certain reconciliation with shortcomings and injustices of being, opened the gates to negative phenomena in the Russian society. As V.S. Baraulin noted, “a human being is unable to withstand hardships and difficulties eternally, sooner or later one will seek ways to get rid of them. If the process of conflict resolution occurs at the initial phases of their development, then the society, a human being must pay the least price for getting rid of difficulties. When contradictions reach a critical point, then getting rid of them requires a human being and society a high price to be paid for. The spring of the human discontent, protest seems to compress to such a degree that the way out of the crisis situation is viewed only in using extreme measures, in the element of reckless entire negation. Having straightened out, the spring destroys not only shortcomings and ugliness of life, but all of them in a row without discrimination. One extremity generated another one, long-term passivity and submissiveness transformed into the spontaneity of extremism, anarchy, unrestrained rampage. The Russian person was ready to withstand the severest conditions of life for centuries, but if changes took place in the society and one’s life, if one sets one’s mind on it, he tends to expect results if not immediately, then very soon” (Barulin, 2000).

Intolerance of the Russian person was formed during short-term historical and cultural periods of development and was basically determined by socially-economic and political-ideological factors (economic crises, wars, social conflicts revolutions, growth of injustice, propaganda, church split, etc.). It revealed itself, first of all, during the revolutionary development of the Russian society. It frequently took the form of revolt and ruthless criticism of authorities and was mainly inherent in the Russian person, a representative of the intelligent social stratum. At that period, the Russian person became a nihilist, an anarchist and a revolutionist, who negated everything indiscriminately and excessively. At that period, one’s intolerance revealed itself in the form of the extremism, which was supported by violence as a main way of problem solution.

Toleration was always a leading trait of the Russian person since namely it acted as a one’s essential trait in all cultural and historical periods of development of the Russian society. At present, it can remain the same only during socially-democratic development of the modern Russian society, in which observance of rights and freedoms of a human being, respect for dignity and recognition of the value of the human life, good neighborly relations, friendship, mutual understanding, intellectual and moral solidarity among nations and separate people, the strengthening of peace and democracy are provided. Intolerance of the Russian person acts as a driven trait in connection with one’s toleration since it reveals itself only in separate cases and at certain periods of time.

At present, toleration is mainly inherent in the human being, living in a socially democratic society. In it, a particular person, who is not opposed to a society, acts as the most appreciated value and an end in itself of development. The level and the quality of one’s life allow being tolerant of other people. In the authoritarian society, toleration is frequently considered as a manifestation of weakness, spinelessness, and excessive conciliatory nature. In it, the cases of intolerant behaviour of many people are quite common. The modern Russian society is at the stage of transition from authoritarianism to democracy. It is in a crisis socially-economic state. The disparities between the incomes of the poor and the rich increase. Russia is also a poly-ethnic, multicultural, and poly-religious country, where the conflicts among separate groups of people are objectively possible. Both certain external and internal forces can incite these conflicts. These problems often lead to manifestation of the moments of intolerance in the behaviour and acts of the Russian person. Namely they give rise to the hatred of the Russian person to newcomers, one’s contempt for invalids, desire to “cleanse Russia of foreigners”, a striving for struggle against nontraditional religions, doctrines, ideologies. The manifestations of intolerance, violence, xenophobia, aggressive nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism, alienation, discrimination with respect to national, ethnic, religious and language minorities, refugees, migrant-workers, immigrants and socially least protected groups in societies have been frequently traced in the Russians. Therefore, it is necessary to constantly form and develop tolerant behaviour of the Russian person, to counteract different kinds of extremism and ethnophobia, to introduce the norms and rules of tolerant behaviour into the life.


The results of this research are the following.

  • In the mentality of a Russian man, contradictory relationship between toleration and intolerance has been presented. Toleration in relation to intolerance has the leading party.

  • Toleration of a Russian man has been manifested in the context of certain circumstances and living conditions in different ways. On the one hand, it can be developed into necessary prolonged patience; on the other hand, it may be contradictive, intolerant, and impatient.

The main conclusions of this study seem quite reasonable. The obtained results have allowed one to understand more deeply the essence of the mentality of a Russian man. The results will help to identify the contradictory relationship of toleration and intolerance, to consider these contradictions in the involvement of Russian people in vigorous social activities. However, some of the obtained results are not entirely obvious. This fact leads to the necessity of continuing research in the following spheres: a study of the relationship of toleration and intolerance as mental properties of a Russian man, manifested in different historical epochs and social layers.


The authors are grateful for state support of Kazan (Volga Region) Federal University with the purpose of improving its competitiveness among the world-leading research and educational centers.


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19 February 2018

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Sabirov, A. G., & Sabirova, L. A. (2018). Toleration And Intolerance In Mentality Of Russian Man. In I. B. Ardashkin, N. V. Martyushev, S. V. Klyagin, E. V. Barkova, A. R. Massalimova, & V. N. Syrov (Eds.), Research Paradigms Transformation in Social Sciences, vol 35. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1122-1128). Future Academy.