State Of Modern Russian Youth Tolerance


To cover the theme of the research we consider the current meaning of the concept “tolerance”. We have analyzed the state of the modern Russian youth tolerance in relation to representatives of the different ethnonational and confessional groups. In particular, we have studied the state of the youth tolerance in the capital of the Republic of Bashkortostan in Ufa based on the data of the ethnosociological survey on the research project "Social Confidence and Tolerance among Multicultural Youth Environment", conducted in February 2014. For studying tolerance Bashkiria is interesting not only for scientific research, but is of practical importance. On the one hand, it is its ethnic and confessional variety of the population, on the other hand, the stability of inter-ethnic and interfaith relations. This article uses the data of the Levada-Center sociological research of 2011, VCIOM research of 2012 and also a number of regional studies of the youth tolerance state. This studying has revealed the problematical character of the current situation, and main reasons of intolerant behavior of the youth, caused primarily by the processes of Russia transformation and modernization, which have ambiguous and contradictory results. In general, according to the analysis of regional studies, we have evaluated the state of the Russian youth tolerance as satisfactory. But negative tendencies at the modern development of Russia can promote the changes of the situation.

Keywords: Dialoguestabilityyouthmodernizationpatiencetolerance


The effective social interaction in the modern society is impossible without tolerance. The Russian youth represents the main resource of the state. Herewith, the tolerance among young people in Russia is developing in difficult contradictory conditions. The former value system of the Soviet society, where the important basis was internationalism, has been destroyed. The new system is just being formed. The crucial role in its replacement is played by the values of consumer individualism. The state reconstruction is followed by the social and economic turbulence and, as a result, it leads to the social insecurity of the youth, which is expressed in unconscious aggression upon "strangers". It is also necessary to consider psychological features of this age either. Young people do not have sustainable model of social behavior. Emotional instability, striving for fast, meaningless and rather radical method of solving social problems are most peculiar to them.

Problem Statement

The lack of tolerance in the mindsets of the Russian youth is fraught with its susceptibility to antisocial behavior, including possible participation in the societies, organizations promoting intolerance, violence, extremism. Events at Manezhnaya Square in 2010, terrorist attacks in Volgograd in 2013 demonstrated the existing problem of tolerance in Russia. Data of research confirm the existence of the problem. Despite the relevance of the topic, today there is a few fundamental studies of this problem in Russia, which reflect the level, a state, quality of tolerance of the Russian youth as a whole. However, there is a problem question: "What is tolerance?" In the current context the tolerance has become a multiple meaningful concept, but rather often the meaning of this term is reduced to the concept of patience or identified as conventional attitude, indifference, these do not conform to the requirements of sustainable development of modern society.

Research Questions

Nowadays, the tolerance is a polysemantic concept (Semashko, 2007). But its meaning is frequently narrowed to and identified with patience and toleration, this is clearly illustrated in many native Russian dictionaries. In current situation the meaning of the term "tolerance" is much wider and deeper, than simply "patience and tolerant attitude". "The declaration of principles of tolerance" in the Article 1 describes "tolerance" as "respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world's cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human" (The Declaration, 1995).

The tolerance in the current circumstances should be considered as a moral imperative of a citizen and as a political and legal needs of the modern society. The tolerance is a recognition of the universal rights and fundamental freedoms of a person, which promote maintaining democracy, law and order.

The tolerance is also a significant indicator of the society level and quality of culture. Its modern meaning should not be separated from the concept "empathy". At the same time, the tolerance cannot be considered as a concession (Bulatova & Dolinina, 2015). The sociological research of Levada-Center in 2011 is distinguished from a few surveys of the youth tolerance in Russia. VCIOM research in 2012 partly reflects this topic.

In 2011 the Levada-Center analyzed valuable coordinates and behavior models of various categories of the modern Russian youth and drew an unfavourable conclusion in the relation to the state of its tolerance: "By the end of the first decade of the 2000th it was the youth that expressed especially strong anti-modern mindsets — anti-Western, nationalist and xenophobic sentiments" (Gudkov, Dubin, & Zorskaya 2011, p.28). The main reasons were the economic instability, social polarization of society leading to the youth social insecurity, and as a result, to the growth of deviant behavior, formation of a social basis for public expression of aggression. "These increasing indistinct and especially notable on the "periphery" of society moods of discontent, humiliation, lawlessness were followed by unaccountable, sometimes by the strongest envy, deaf spite, hatred of more adapted, successful, fitted into " the system", into hierarchical, the power and business corruption rings (to "the officials", "the rich", "businessmen", "politicians", "gilded youth") and spiralled into the enmity and aggression particularly directed to " outsiders ", "visitors" …" (Gudkov, Dubin, & Zorskaya 2011, p. 28-29). Another important reason was "the anomy, that is the destruction of the basic Russian society values system" (Gudkov, Dubin, & Zorskaya 2011, p.12).

During the research we have revealed that the discontent is expressed not only by "lower classes" or "the social periphery" of the society, but by its "well-to-do, socially active sections - young and rather successful citizens, quite well educated, mobile, that is those who are possible to be named "Russian middle class" (though it is very figuratively), for example, according to the "western image or lifestyle" (Gudkov, 2011, river 29). We suppose that the reason of this phenomenon consists in "noticeable weakening pro-Western, liberal and democratic, though declarative mindsets which are more expressed at young people" (Gudkov, Dubin, & Zorskaya 2011, p. 91-92).

The indicative fact is that the research has revealed the engagement of the Russian youth with the idea "Russia is for Russians". 19% of young people from large and medium-sized cities, participating in the survey, supported this slogan. The highest number of supporters of this slogan was among the youth from Moscow. 41% of young respondents considered that this idea "would be quite good to be implemented, but within a reasonable range". It was hard for 5% of respondents to answer. 9% said that the topic was not interesting for them. And only 26% of young participants called this idea "the real fascism" (Gudkov, Dubin, & Zorskaya 2011, р. 73-74).

According to Gudkov, feelings of humiliation, injustice, hostility become the ground for the most various manifestations — political support of authoritarian regime (when its leader is given with the lines and properties removing mass dissatisfaction with a state of affairs, the inferiority complexes caused by consciousness of own negligibility and life failures), xenophobia, both internal, and external, for example an anti-Americanism, hostility to the former republics of the USSR, isolationism, social envy. (Gudkov, Dubin, & Zorskaya 2011, р. 92-93).

The important reason promoting the destruction in the youth consciousness is also the situation in the system of education in Russia, losses of its prestige, status, public image. According to Gudkov, the degradation of the semantic, valuable and moral (professional ethics) bases in the institutional education system has the severe consequences — from school to the universities (Gudkov, Dubin, & Zorskaya 2011, р 14). Today Russian university is not a cathedral and not the place of transferring strong culture, but a routine establishment on coaching students for getting "wallpaper degree" (Gudkov, Dubin, & Zorskaya 2011, р 14)

Data of VCIOM survey of 2012 were commented by E. Mikhaylova, the director of VCIOM special programs. She notes that the low level of public awareness about other ethnic or confessional groups is the main reason for a social distance in Russia.

According to the sociological research "Social confidence and tolerance in a multicultural youth environment", carried out in 2014 among the young people of Ufa, the state of the modern youth tolerance in Bashkortostan, in general, can be considered as satisfactory (Safin & Fatkhutdinova 2014).

The development of the market relations contributes to keeping tolerant human relations of different nationalities in the republic to a certain extent. People start trusting less each other, but the general values, respect for people of different nationalities in Bashkiria have remained.

Table 1 -
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Based on the data of ethno-sociological surveys, two thirds of the interviewed youth believe that when people of different nationalities live close to each other, the society is spiritually richer and more cultural. Such stereotypes were intrinsic to all respondents, irrespective of their ethnic origin.

Table 2 -
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Despite all life peripeties the general interethnic and interconfessional tolerance in the republic remains quite high. Such high level of the toleration to the representatives of other religions confirms that in Bashkortostan the interethnic and interreligious tolerance remains unchanged.

Table 3 -
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At the same time, as have shown data of ethno-sociological poll, the high percent of youth has noted that representatives of some nationalities cause in their negative feelings. Despite this statement, nearly a half Bashkir, as much as Tatar, a little more than other nationalities youth do not agree with such opinion.

Table 4 -
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In recent years mass media often touches upon radical Islamic extremism. Some part of the population of the republic (probably poorly informed) sees negative sides of Moslem doctrine, identifying followers of Muslim with radical extremists. The data of the ethno-sociological research confirm that such discourse has touched the youth of the capital of the republic. 38,5% of respondents of the Russian nationality have expressed full distrust to Moslem doctrine. There are only 8,1% of respondents who certainly trust Moslem religion.

Table 5 -
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Unlike the Russian one, the number of respondents among the youth of other nationalities, expressing the trust to orthodox religion, was much higher. On the contrary, table 6 presents rather high percent from the same youth who express their distrust to orthodox religion.

Table 6 -
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Thus, according to the survey of the republic youth the ethno-confessional contradictions are more noticeable than inter-ethnic.

As it was found when interviewed, only a little more than 10 percent of the interviewed youth, irrespective of their ethnic origin, noted that they do not trust the representatives of the Russian ethnic group, but 72,1% of the Bashkirs, 75,3% of the Tatars, 76,9% of the youth of other nationalities. That illustrates nearly full confidence to the Russians.

Table 7 -
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As shown in table 7 , for more than one third of Bashkir youth, a little more than this (36,0%) Tatar, every second of five the Russian interviewed and also nearly two thirds of the interviewed other nationalities youth the ethnicity in marriage is not important. This confirms that they are ready to marry representatives not only of their nationalities. Meanwhile, a quarter of the Russians (24,0%), a few Tatars (28,5%) and every second of five interviewed Bashkirs have noted that they would prefer the spouse of their nationality. Certain stereotypes to this or that side do occur after all.

According to the data of the survey, we can draw a conclusion that in general, the youth of the Republic of Bashkortostan, regardless of ethnicity, is tolerant, ready to and strive for interethnic interaction with all people living in the region. On the other hand, the survey has revealed the problems which should be further discussed. Firstly, all tolerance indicators on the earlier-mentioned specified positions could be higher. Secondly, considering rather serious percent fluctuating, doubting answers, we can conclude that the behavior of this part of the youth can be even intolerant depending on the situation, as its answers do not present the certain established position.

The interesting result was received in the survey "The index of tolerance", which was carried out in Yekaterinburg by the Russian state vocational pedagogical university among students of higher education institutions and colleges of the city (Kozyra & Sadovnikova 2016). The survey had revealed that more than a half of the interviewed youth was positive to representatives of other races, nationalities and ethnic groups, but at the same time they do not admit the presence of other nationalities and races at their inner circle.

The authors of another research "Extremist attitudes of young people, depending on the sibling position" revealed the interrelation between extremist attitudes of the youth and a sibling position in a family (Sityaeva & Yaremchuk, 2017). They drew a conclusion that, in general, young men in comparison with girls are characterized by higher level of extremism (manifested in higher level of nationalism and xenophobia). The only children in family are characterized by higher level of nationalist attitudes. It was revealed that the only young men in a family have higher level of xenophobia.

Purpose of the Study

The goals of this research are the following:

  • to study the current meaning of the concept “tolerance”;

  • to analyze the state of the modern Russian youth tolerance on the basis of the central and regional sociological research, including the research in multiethnic and polyconfessional national Republic of Bashkortostan;

  • to establish the main reasons for intolerant behavior of the modern Russian youth.

Research Methods

To reveal the main tendencies of the tolerance among the youth in a synchronous approach the sociological method of studying was used in this article.


Summing up the research we distinguish the following results. Processes of transformation and modernization in modern Russia are ambiguous and contradictory. They have contribute both to growing tolerance among the Russian youth, and to growing distrust, enmity, hostility and aggression towards representatives of other ethno-national, confessional communities. We have revealed the main reasons of intolerant behavior of the youth:

  • Social and economic instability in the development of the Russian state, which leads to social insecurity of the youth and its angry backlash.

  • Disintegration of the former dominating value system, its partial replacement with consumer individualism.

  • Disappointment of a part of the Russian population with values of liberalism.

  • Weak public awareness, lack of necessary information.

  • Reforms in the system of the Russian education.

  • There are data according to which, the only children in a family can be the subject for intolerant behavior.

In general, if we take into consideration the regional sociological research the state of the Russian youth tolerance is satisfactory. Nevertheless, there are certain problems. The concern is also caused by the fact that the youth can take the formal indifferent attitude, diplomatic disengagement from "others" as the tolerant behavior model.

It is difficult to make the considered, thorough analysis of the state of the Russian youth tolerance in general and to create the forecast for the future. Firstly, today there are a few all-Russian basic studies, projects on the given topic. Secondly, the risks having to be in the development of the Russian state and society can interfere with the development of the tolerance.


All mentioned earlier clearly demonstrate that the Russian society and the state are obliged to pay close attention to the tolerance today, to form strategic and tactical targets and tasks in this direction, to promote their implementation. It is necessary to discuss existing problems freely and openly (Matveeva, 2017). Herewith, the issues of the tolerance should be really actualized by the youth policy pursued by the state. Educational and upbringing institutions, which, unfortunately, have lost certain positions in this sphere under the pressure of changes, are faced with the high workload in developing the tolerance.


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17 December 2018

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Mukhtasarova, E. A., & Safin, F. G. (2018). State Of Modern Russian Youth Tolerance. In I. B. Ardashkin, B. Vladimir Iosifovich, & N. V. Martyushev (Eds.), Research Paradigms Transformation in Social Sciences, vol 50. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 206-213). Future Academy.