Factors Determining Character Of Solidarity In Russian Region


The authors consider regional solidarity as a system of interpersonal and intergroup relations, which is based on the participants’ awareness about the harmony of interests, values, mutual support, loyalty, cooperation and shared responsibility. The theoretical foundation is used as a justification for the use of applied research methods of the current state of solidarity in Belgorod region, Russia. The key factors determining the character of solidarity in the region are: unity in respect of basic values; public satisfaction with the implementation of the principle of social justice; the presence of threats to life safety; the level of interpersonal and institutional trust; negative or positive experience of interaction and communication. The research found out that a significant number of values that are relevant for the implementation of the idea of solidarity currently have a low degree of public esteem in Russian region. In this context the idea of solidarity can be realized only in case of declaration and unconditional realization of the rule – the same measures (laws, rules, norms, etc.) for all people.

Keywords: Solidarityregioncommunitytrustrelationships


Under circumstances of the traditional values crisis and essential deformation of interpersonal and intergroup relations, restoration of regional solidarity, which is expressed in people’s readiness for collective actions, systematic mutual aid and mutual support due to understanding the commonality of their interests with interests of the region, fellow citizens, colleagues, close people, becomes an insistent call of time. Being the most important precondition of patriotism, representing ideology and emotional state of any healthy society, regional solidarity relies on mutual trust of fellow citizens and their mutual responsibility and it should become one of the basic principles of public life organization.

Within the European scientific school, research of problems of social solidarity has old tradition, at the heart of which there are E. Durkheim's fundamental theoretical researches (Durkheim, 1997). He suggested considering mechanical and organic types of solidarity while not excepting the possibility of their coexistence in a single public formation. The essential contribution was made by a well-known German philosopher and sociologist J. Habermas, who underlines the importance of a social dialogue between all participants of public relations based on principles of harmony and justice (Habermas, 1992). This thesis, in his opinion, is actualized in the conditions of modern European crisis (Habermas, 2013).

Social solidarity is still in focus of scientific discourse. Moreover, the interest in this phenomenon in the conditions of globalization, migration, cross-cultural interaction is increasing repeatedly. The monograph of the Australian-British sociologists "On Society" was devoted to the social issues and generalized different ideas of social solidarity (Elliot & Turner, 2012). Authors define three categories of society: structure, solidarity and creature. When the scientists were investigating the second category, they emphasized: “society as solidarity is the antidote to the problem of human resentment”. Yet another important position, which is contained in the monograph, is “solidarity is the condition and outcome of society and it multiplies discourse, communication and symbolic interaction”. The Australian-British sociologists consider allocating two types of solidarity: spontaneous and collective.

Modern scientists pay attention to interrelation of processes of solidarity, integration and multiculturalism. Canadian psychologist J.W. Berry considers it possible to achieve social solidarity among the different cultural communities on the basis of people’s common psychological processes and in case if the society is built on the ground of pluralistic principles observance (Berry, 2011).

Czech philosopher and sociologist J. Salamon believes that in modern rapidly globalizing world, it is necessary to investigate the processes of solidarization in cross-border and cross-national scale (Salamon, 2014). During historical development, tribal forms of solidarity were replaced by national ones, which, in turn, can gradually be replaced by or integrated in supranational ones (European Union, League of Arab States, etc.). However, J. Salamon considers solidarity, which is based on a community of interests of cooperating people, to be more natural, immanent to human nature, but, at the same time, less stable. Such solidarity can be ruined under the pressure of the conflicts of interests and the conflicts of values. Transcultural narratives can act as the means supporting stability of solidary groups.

In the scientific discourse, there are also judgments, the meaning of which is to warn about overestimation of the phenomenon of solidarity as one of the most positive mechanisms of society development (Danaher, 2015). In particular, it is noted that in case of implementation of controlled solidarization the instruments of such management should be the most accurate and organic for society, because otherwise there is a risk of betrayal of confidence to authenticity of such solidarity.

In modern conditions of integration of interpersonal solidarity manifestations into the processes of collective solidarity, which is in the center of attention and under control of state political institutions, there is an understanding of a new type of solidarity – civil solidarity (Sammut, 2011). Social relations in the community form social capital that is necessary to maintain in a harmonious state of civil solidarity.

In Russia, the subject of solidarity has become one of the main issues for social sciences since the second half of the XIX century. Two directions – sociological, as well as religious-philosophical (i.e. consideration of solidarity as conciliarity), were allocated. This powerful, gained recognition of foreign scientific tradition was interrupted by October Revolution; it received its continuation among Russian emigration thanks to S.A. Levitsky's and other solidarists’ works (Levitsky, 2003).

In the Soviet Union the subject of solidarity was ideologically essential: the primary attention was paid to class solidarity within the ideology focused on the class conflict. Only in 1960s within the process of formation of Soviet professional sociology the attempts of consideration of social solidarity without a rigid binding to dominating ideological precepts started to be undertaken.

On the one hand, the situation of the recent two decades is characterized by general activation of sociological researches; on the other hand, the orientation of these researches gives evidence to catching-up development (in comparison with world level) and to aspiration of the majority of sociologists to react to dynamic processes of social transformations in Russia. Among modern works of Russian researchers who have devoted their works to conceptualization of "social solidarity", it is possible to determine works of a political scientist and sociologist, D. Efremenko. In particular, under his control, the project "Social solidarity as a condition of public transformations: theoretical bases, Russian specifics, socio-biological and socio-psychological aspects" is realized. The author analyzes development of researches of social solidarity in Russia from the middle of the XIX century up to now. As a result, he reveals the fundamental contradiction associated with the widespread prevalence of narrow group solidarities over broader solidarities (Efremenko & Evseeva, 2012).

The need of revival of solidarity in modern Russia taking into account the loss of collective senses of people’s existence, their soul-spiritual staling and moral impoverishment in post-Soviet society is justified in the works of a sociologist A. Samarin. Restoration of the idea of justice in its rights violated nowadays, mass return to principles of mutual aid and support of the weak, in his opinion, is that minimum, without which preservation of Russian society is no longer possible (Samarin, 2011).

Attempts of justification of the socio-philosophical concept of solidarization of modern Russian society are undertaken by philosopher V. Zhalkiev. In the frame of construction of the solidarization model of social reality with reference to Russia, he determines the factors preventing the establishment of solidary relations, among which the main ones are ambiguity of the system of values of social community, a historical tradition of separating power from population, as well as a discrete state of Russian civil society (Zhalkiev, 2014).

Problem Statement

Application of general scientific methods of logic analysis allowed the authors to systematize the data on the issue under study and to come to the following conclusions. The authors grounded the ideology of development of regional solidarity on a social phenomenon of trust defined by P. Sztompka's, who determined three key concepts in this context – hope, confidence and trust (Sztompka, 1999). The trust in the social relations is realized in two measurements – horizontal and vertical. Horizontal measurement is the level of interpersonal interactions inside the regional community. In turn, the vertical level of trust expresses expectations concerning social, including administrative and political institutions of the region. Its ability to self-organizing depends on existence and rootedness of interpersonal trust in community and establishment of institutional trust creates possibilities of constructive cooperation with government institutions in order to solve general tasks. Thus, trust in the authors’ interpretation is expressed in disposition of people concerning the open, constructive relationship based on positive life experience, realization of expectations concerning other people and social institutions including power institutions.

Theoretical justification of handling a problem of trust is provided by the conception of T. Parsons being formulated in the frame of structural functionalism and based on the thesis that "personal motives get channeled effectively into social system through loyalty and membership in various in relation to them collectives" (Parsons, 1971). According to T. Parsons, loyalty represents "readiness to respond to properly "reasonable" appeal made on behalf of collective or for the sake of public interest or requirement". Thus, an individual as a member of community (collective) has some obligations in sense of solidarity with its other members and bears the burden of responsibility depending on his social role and status.

Applying this approach to realities of Russian regions, the authors consider it admissible to regard regional solidarity as the system of interpersonal and intergroup relations based on their community members’ understanding of interests, values, mutual support, loyalty, cooperation and mutual responsibility while achieving socially significant purposes. Thus, solidary community is based on trust and solidarity. Solidarity, in turn, is considered as active sympathy to interests, opinions of fellow citizens, colleagues, close people, unanimity with them.

Taking into account the above-mentioned works of J. Habermas about the importance of social dialogue between all participants of public relations based on principles of harmony and justice, as well as the works of J. Salamon, who indicated instability of solidarity due to the conflict of values, it is possible to refer the following conditions to the necessary ones to form regional solidarity:

  • existence of values, which are unconditional for the majority of the population, and clear norms in relationships among people and social institutions which cannot be violated under any circumstances;

  • affirmance of the idea of social justice as a leading principle of relationship between people;

  • social activity, readiness and ability of citizens to participate in solution of problems, which are "common" for the territory, local community, labor collective and a family.

The relations between trust and mutual support are formed at various levels. First of all, it is a question of family and neighborhood relations. At this level solidarity implies achievement of consent and mutual understanding among relatives and close people, revival of practice of mutual support among relatives and neighbors, especially in difficult real-life situations typical for crisis periods.

At the level of collective (labor association, educational collective, public association), solidarity means that its head considers his subordinates as colleagues in achievement of common goals, expresses and protects their interests; in their turn, the members of collective realize the degree of their responsibility for the results of their common activity.

At the level of local community and region, as a whole, the relations of solidarity are a system of equal and respectful relations between the power and institutions of civil society, which are based on principles of restriction of autocratic control, ensuring participation of citizens in governance, reliance on intellectual elite.

Research Questions

  • The modern social and economic situation in Russia is characterized by the crisis. According to scientists, the main cause of it is connected with spiritual and moral degradation of Russian society. Actually it is the crisis of traditional values and essential deformation of interpersonal and intergroup relations, which developed in the conditions of unstable situation in Russia in the 1990s. During this period, mistrust and increased aggression started to influence human relations, the interpersonal and intergroup conflicts amplified, the crime rate including crimes connected with deception and speculation on trust grew essentially. Collective values (friendship, solidarity and mutual support) were discredited significantly, now all of them are more often considered as out-of-date concepts. Within the last decades, the consolidating role of the family, importance of family values decreased. As a result, in Russian society, public relations have collapsed; belonging to social institutions has become purely formal. Moreover, the citizens refuse not only to carry out their roles determined by the state and the society, but also to cooperate with each other constructively. In this regard, there is a Research Question about the key factors determining the character of solidarity in the Russian region nowadays.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of the study is to define the factors promoting formation of patterns and examples of behavior focused on trust and solidarity in public consciousness of residents of Belgorod region.

Research Methods

The theoretical foundation is used as a justification for the use of applied research methods of the current state of solidarity in Belgorod region, Russia, where the attempts to advance the idea of solidarity have been undertaken since 2009. Now representatives of regional authorities fixed the conceptual and strategic documents defining the vector of solidarization of residents of Belgorod; the system of indicators to assess the efficiency of their realization was developed (Zalivansky & Samokhvalova, 2015). At the same time, in practice, the undertaken efforts have not lead to desirable results yet. In 2015-2016 with the assistance of the authors of the article, in Belgorod region the sociological research was carried out. Its purpose was to identify the problems of restoration of regional solidarity.

At the empirical stage, according to the purposes and research problems, the authors considered traditional methods of a quantitative approach (direct observation, analysis of documents, polls) and used a method of questionnaire of population. The choice of this method was due to the fact that, on the one hand, it allows modelling mentally any situations necessary for the researcher to identify motives, dispositions, etc. It is a reliable and available method of research. Polls were carried out with use of multistage quota sampling technique. At the first stage, taking into account experts’ opinion the municipalities of Belgorod region reflecting territorial specifics, its demographic, socio-economic and other characteristics were defined for the purposes of research. At the second stage, the selection of respondents for polls was carried out by the method of quota sampling based on the following control properties: sex; age; place of residence (belonging to urban or rural areas). Thus, inhabitants of all municipalities were presented in the sample. They were from urban and rural areas, representatives of both sexes and age groups. Considering general data and in view of the purposes and research problems – in the Belgorod region were interviewed 1000 respondents.

The analysis and generalization of the results of the carried-out theoretical and empirical researches allowed the authors to define the factors promoting formation of patterns and examples of behavior focused on trust and solidarity in public consciousness of residents of Belgorod region.


The results of the carried-out research allow stating that establishment of the relations of mutual trust between residents of Belgorod region, first of all, is prevented by unsatisfactory solution of a ratio of law and requital in Russia, as a whole, and in this region, in particular. So, only about a third of inhabitants of area are satisfied with realization of the principle of social justice in the region (26.40% of respondents). Almost for a quarter of population, it is connected, first of all, with sharp division of people into the rich and the poor (22.40% of respondents noted it).

In this regard, there is a doubt: in what degree it is possible to reach solidarity between an oligarch and an employee, between an unemployed person and an important official. However, respondents call impunity of those who have money and communications as the main manifestation of injustice (47.30%), absence of equal opportunities while getting a good job (35.10%), violation of the principle "the law one for all", impossibility for ordinary people to protect their rights (23.60%) and indifference of the power to people’s opinions (16.10%). Thus, residents of Belgorod connect injustice not only with the fact of social inequality (though such position takes place), but also with double morals and double standards applied to people including the ones used by imperious institutions.

And, therefore, it is possible to ascertain the crisis of institutional trust acting as the following negative factor, which prevents formation of regional solidarity. The power is one of the key institutions that set "rules of the game" in the society. At the same time the level of trust of the residents to regional and local government is rather low. Only 55.20% of respondents trust the Governor of the region while only about 48% of respondents trust executive bodies of the subjects of the Russian Federation. Level of trust to municipal authorities, on the average, is only 48.80%.

This situation generates feeling of uncertainty and insecurity which is amplifying more and more among the population - less than a half of the respondents are satisfied with the safety of life (46.10% of respondents), thus 36.50% respondents are not satisfied with this parameter. Among threats to life, which disturb the regional population most of all, the respondents name a possibility of war (39.73%); impossibility to receive high-quality health care (51.78%); violation of the citizens’ rights (29.04%); spreading of "social diseases" (37.81%); adverse ecology (28.77%). It is necessary to take into consideration that the polls were carried out while the conflict in Ukraine was developing and the inhabitants of frontier Belgorod region reacted to the events very sharply.

The crisis of institutional trust caused also inability of bodies of public and municipal administration to provide a due level of life safety, which is a potential source of social pessimism in society and a negative (or, at least, skeptical) attitude to the initiatives of imperious institutions that promise accumulation of wellbeing and comfort, as well as formation of solidary society.

The feeling of insecurity also is strengthened because of negative experience of daily communications between residents of Belgorod. Despite the fact that only 4.20% constantly face violence and 17.20% - manifestations of hostility, nearly 45.70% of the inhabitants of the area constantly observe indifference towards people, manifestations of dishonesty (39.80%).

The abovementioned situation is certainly to be reflected in quality of human relations. Key types of the social relations and communications are the following: the relations within close relatives; the relations with neighbors; the relations in labor collective. These communications occur on daily basis with their social and psychological background. However, contacts with official institutions are also a necessary element of citizen life.

Now most inhabitants of Belgorod region are satisfied with the relations with relatives (79.40%), less – with the attitude of the representatives of the authorities towards them (37.50%). Insufficient satisfaction of the inhabitants with quality of social relations is connected with the fact that there is no unity concerning basic values among the residents of Belgorod. In turn, values make a basis of any society as the assessment of the phenomena of surrounding reality is a necessary condition of survival of both an individual and society. The main sociocultural regulations of social behavior are capable to create a basis of the atmosphere of solidarity, or – on the contrary – to establish barriers to its formation.

The results of research allow building the hierarchy of values of the population of Belgorod region in key spheres of communication. As for the relationship in the region as a whole, from the point of view of respondents justice (29.90%), spirituality and public morals (22.20%), safety (20.80%), culture of communication and politeness (20.40%) are the most important values. But the population regards tolerance (9.20%), solidarity (11.90%), service to the Fatherland and patriotism (11.90%), existence of the rights and freedoms (12.20%), responsibility for the future (14.50%) to be unimportant values.

Thus, a significant amount of values, important for realization of solidarity idea, differ by the low extent of acceptance; at the level of family relations, these are values of respect for a child’s identity, patience and mutual aid. At the level of territorial communities – values of advantage, charity, ability to defend the interests. At the level of work collectives – values of culture of communication, commitment and persistence, creativity and creation, independence, initiative, self-control. At the level of regional communities – values of service to the Fatherland, patriotism, tolerance, responsibility for the future, existence of the rights and freedoms.


Nowadays, Russian regions are left in axiological and legal limbo, that is absence of valid truths and intentions to observe legal and, especially, ethical norms among the majority of people, which is certainly influence the quality of interpersonal relations. People are mostly disturbed by manifestations of lies, indifference to each other and injustice. These are the deviations the respondents have been facing most often in the recent years, which gives evidence of their being rooted in consciousness and behavior of Russian citizens. It has a destructive influence on the spiritual and moral atmosphere in society, on the relations between citizens and authorities, as well as creates essential obstacles for implementation of social and economic projects and programs, further modernization of Russian economy. In this regard, the issue of formation of regional solidarity is considered to be especially urgent. Strengthening the system of base values, which are clear to the majority of people, among the population should become the foundation for such work. Such system should be institutionalized, that is, fixed in the form of concrete norms, which do not necessarily have legal character and are rather a result of the general voluntary agreement.

The issue of justice plays the key role in defining the prospects of formation of regional solidary of society in practice. Value of justice has always been and in many respects remains the most important value of Russian culture. However, now only about one third of the respondents are satisfied with realization of the principle of social justice. Until such conviction remains, it is difficult to count on essential advance of idea of solidarity. Thus, it is important to understand that the Russians connect injustice mainly not with the fact of social inequality, but with double morals and double standards in the attitude towards people. In this context, the idea of solidarity can be realized only in case of declaration and unconditional realization of the rule – the same measures (laws, rules, norms, etc.) for all people.

One more important issue for strengthening of solidary relations is the problem of mutual trust between the authorities and the population. As a result of social and economic transformations, which are being carried out in Russia, the popular frustration caused by the activities of state and municipal authorities have increased considerably. It was one of the reasons of a decrease of the authority of government bodies in the opinion of public, as well as a considerable decrease in population’s trust. Both insufficient efficiency of authorities’ activities and their incomplete information openness worsen the situation. It is necessary that the trust and solidarity strengthen, first of all, through the organization of continuous dialogue between state and society, power and business. The criteria of efficiency of public and power communication can be the following: aspiration of the power to create control mechanisms on the part of public bodies; wide access of the population to objective information; possibility for the active part of public to influence the decisions connected with formation of regional policy.


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19 February 2018

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Zalivanskiy, B., Samokhvalova, E., & Golikova, I. (2018). Factors Determining Character Of Solidarity In Russian Region. 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. 837-845). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2018.02.99