Ideological Values And Orientations Of Russian Students Through Prism Of Sociology


Young people have been active participants in social creation and destruction. Ideology as a form of social consciousness is crucial for developing worldview and using “soft power”. “Soft power” is a leading tool for managing and ensuring social and national security. “Orange revolutions” have shown that it is easy to reform ideological views of citizens, young people. Ideology may have a negative effect on the country and society. The discourse of the “end of ideology” and “de-ideologization” is gradually transforming into the discourse of “national ideology”, “ideological security”, “importance of patriotism”, etc. However, the former schematic classification of ideologies as integral sociopolitical doctrines does not reflect contemporary processes in the “ideological sphere of society”. Ideology always involves a value-semantic aspect. Ideological values ​​characterize the evaluative component of ideology and act as an integrative component of the ideological discourse. The coordinate approach is usually used to localize the specifics of ideological orientations of a person or group. Ideologemes are considered as an element of the ideological system and as a linguistic-cognitive phenomenon encoding ideological effects. The authors substantiate methodological approaches to the study of ideological values ​​and orientations, provide examples of sociological analysis. It is emphasized that ideology sets rational explanation schemes for socio-economic and political situations and schemes for assessing these situations and positioning an individual and group in the “We” and “They” continuum. Ideology constructs identities being important for development of the civil identity of Russian students being a factor of national security in current conditions.

Keywords: Ideologyvaluesstudentsorientationsideologemesecurity


Students as a social stratum is a very significant part of the modern society. Higher education is a value and resource for socio-economic and cultural development of the society. Universities as social institutions are tools aimed at shaping the most valuable resource of the twenty-first century – human capital. Therefore, the number of students is growing. The issue of creating global universities is on the agenda. Given that on-line courses are becoming more and more popular, there will be about 1 billion students in the nearest future. However, globalization of higher education causes the issue of construing the national civic identity and culture, protecting ideological security and humanitarian sovereignty. Ideology plays a large role as a form of social consciousness and as a social institution which determines identity parameters and directions of collective actions and ideological values as an integral element of the ideological discourse which determine the parameters of value judgments and attitudes.

Problem Statement

The issue of ideological values of modern youth (outside the context of party preferences, and in the context of their specification and empirical research) is still at the beginning of the path which affects the practice of managing processes in the youth environment. The problem is inseparable from humanitarian sovereignty of the country and Russian identity development in the youth environment..

Research Questions

The research aims

1) to specify the concepts "ideological values", "ideologies", "ideological orientations" with regard to ideological security and humanitarian sovereignty

2) to consider the approaches of sociological analysis of changes in ideological values of students.

Purpose of the Study

The challenges of globalism and utilitarian consumerism dictate the need for a scientific basis for the matrix of ideological values which determine the Russian identity

Research Methods

The main purpose of the article is to analyze the research discourse of ideology, ideological aspects of education, to suggest an author's approach to studying these problems, and to acquaint the scientific community with the results of the regional studies of ideological values of Russian students.


The problems of ideology should be studied in two main aspects: 1) according to the institutional approach, ideology is an institution reproducing social identity, consolidation and legitimation of power relations; 2) ideology is one of the most important elements of social culture. It is difficult to imagine modern society without power/subordination relations and ideology. Ideology in in the era of mass communications when the mass media play a huge role in construction of “social reality”, is one of the most important tools. Therefore, it is quite possible to say that ideology is a tool of constructing the “picture of the world” and social reality (Tuzikov, 2005).

One of the most important tools of ideology as “soft power” is programming of interpretations of facts and opinions of members of the society. Popular aphorisms (“The idea is above fact”, “You can have freedom of opinion, but not freedom of choice of facts”, “The real policy is to ignore facts”, “Facts sometimes speak with a foreign accent”) speak for the significance of interpretations, semantic and value influence of facts on the interpretation process.

Ideology sets rational explanation schemes for socio-economic and political situations, evaluates and positions individuals and groups in the continuum "We" and "They". Ideology sets standards and criteria for assessing social life as “true – not true”, “progress - regress”, “movement-stagnation” which can be considered as variants of “good” and “bad”. Ideology construes identities of its adepts. Members of society need to be guided in social life, answer questions like: Who am I in terms of civilization, race, nation, ethnicity? Which social group / groups do I belong to? What is (what position in society) my social group? What kind of society / country do I live in?

Significant contributions to the studies on the nature and functions of ideology were made by: L. Althusser (Althusser, 1970; Althusser, 1994), P. Ricoeur (Ricoeur, 1986), E. Giddens (Giddens, 1991), E. Gouldner (Gouldner, 1979), S. Zizek (Zizek, 1996), J. Larreyn (Larreyn, 1994), J. B. Thompson (Thompson, 1990), S. Hall (Hall, 1989), D. Hawkers (Hawkers, 1996) and others.

Ideology as a phenomenon and an institution can be interpreted within the party and civil contexts. Party ideology produces a party-group point of view on interpretation of socio-economic and political reality and selection of facts to be interpreted. Civil ideology reflects national schemes of value-colored interpretations of the past, present and future in terms of identification of an individual as a part of the country / society. Ideology as a social institution and a form of social consciousness cannot be banned by a regulatory act. Paragraph 2 of Article 13 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation regulates only party ideology. Its extended interpretation is contrary to common sense and scientific logic.

The discourse of the “end of ideology” and “de-ideologization” is gradually transforming into the discourse of “national ideology”, “ideological security”, “importance of patriotism”, and “humanitarian sovereignty”. However, the former schematic classification of ideologies as integral sociopolitical doctrines does not reflect contemporary processes in the “ideological sphere of society”. Ideology involves a value-semantic aspect. In this regard, the use of the concept "value" is appropriate. Ideological values characterize an evaluative component of ideology and act as an integrative component of the ideological discourse. Ideological values ​​(ideals, slogans, value-colored goals and projects related to interpretation of interests and social group identifications) can “migrate” from one ideological system to another, creating quite bizarre configurations, “ideological chimeras”. People impose their own interpretations of well-known ideals of freedom, justice, order, etc. The power of the modern media and information technologies enhances the effects of “soft power”. However, the concepts “ideological values”, “ideological orientations”, “ideologemes” and “ideological security” need to be specified due to ideological monitoring.

The works by E.S. Barazgova (Barazgova, 1989), V.N. Kuznetsov (Kuznetsov, 2005) which address the issue of ideological education and ideological socialization of young people; researches by N.I. Lapin (Lapin, 2000), S.I. Levikov (Levikova, 2002), E.L. Omelchenko (Omelchenko, 2000), Vishnevsky Yu.R., Trynov D.V., Shapko V.T. (Vishnevsky, 2009) devoted to the analysis of the characteristics of the value consciousness of young people, including economic, political, civil, ideological, spiritual and moral values of this social group; the works by A.A. Kharchenko (Kharchenko, 2011), S.I. Sergeychik (Sergeychik, 2002) which analyze formation of values of citizenship and patriotism of young people are of special interest. Comparative studies of the values of Russian and Western youth were carried out by A.B. Sinelnikov (Sinelnikov, 2011), V.S. Magun, M.G. Rudnev. S.S. (Magun, 2010) Sulakshina and N.A. Zakharenko (Sulakshina, Zakharenko & Khvylya-Olinter 2016) used the term "ideological values" in relation to the youth environment. Their work is devoted to the dynamics of the values of young people from 1960 to 2010. L.V. Solodovnik (Solodovnik, 2012) dealt with ideological security, but the author worked only within the social and philosophical sciences.

The concept of "ideologeme" is an element of the ideological system and a linguistic and cognitive phenomenon encoding ideological effects (Karamova, 2015). In our opinion, ideology is a linguistic-cognitive phenomenon, an ambiguous concept allowing various interpretations. It helps ideologemes carry out ideological functions. From the procedural point of view, a specific ideological construct consists of “floating signifiers” and “ideological attachment” (S. Zhizhek). According to S. Zhizhek, “the ideological space contains non-conjugate, unrelated elements – “floating signifiers” (freedom, democracy, etc.), whose identity is “open” and is predetermined by links with other elements". Formation of structures involved in their orbit is the nature of ideological technologies. Ideologemes are embedded into the structures of ideological orientations and values.

The concept “ideological orientations” is linked with the concept “value orientations” which was introduced in the 1920s. Value orientations are considered as social attitudes of an individual which regulate his behavior. Given that in modern society traditional ideological systems (liberalism, conservatism, socialism, anarchism) have been replaced by an “ideological mixture”, the use of the term “ideological orientations” is rational. The coordinate approach is usually used to localize the specifics of ideological orientations. We distinguished between two “poles” of ideological orientations which set the possibility of developing methodological tools for their monitoring.

  • overtly politicized poles (according to political values and meanings of actions): Right - centrists - left; Liberals - conservatives - socialists; Nationalists – internationalists

  • latently politicized poles (by values):

  • Modernists - Traditionalists; Democrats - Authoritarianists (a strong leader and hierarchy); Advocates of minority / majority interests; “Human-centered / Internationalists” - “Racists / Ethnonationalists”; Indifferent to nature conservation - Ecological (green); Machismo-feminism; Communitarianists - Statesmen.

  • According to methods of activities:

Populists - Rationalists; Extremists - Radicals - Centrists; Globalists - Regionals - Nationally-oriented anti-globalism

Accordingly, polling methods involving scale evaluation of judgments, projective questions provoking to join one of the opinions expressed and test techniques have been developed.

For example, studies of ideological values and orientations conducted in the Republic of Tatarstan in 2017 (N = 1503 university students, 2.5% error) using the above-mentioned methods showed that for two-thirds of the respondents, family is of priority. Family is followed by love (41%), friendship (38%), self-realization (32%), career (28%), money (27%), “good” (26%), “freedom” (26%), “justice” (25%), "success" (20%).

"Creativity" and "work" take the 13th and 14th place (16%), and the concepts of morality and mercy take the 16th and 18th place following "stability” and ‘comfort”.

The majority of students (58%) feel comfortable in a changing situation, no more than 38% are conservatives.

In the mediatized society, the “field of communication” plays a crucial role, determines the content of topics discussed and the nature of interpretations through the ideological prism. According to the surveys carried out in the Republic of Tatarstan, 96% of students can be classified as “Internet residents”: for them, the global network and social networks are main sources of information. Messengers and TV take the second place. The smallest role is played by radio. Strong “Internet addiction” was identified in 41% of respondents: they spend more than four hours a day on the Internet. Those who spend on the Internet from two to four hours daily (42%) are also “dependent” on the Internet. Only 2% (!) of respondents spend on the Internet less than an hour a day.

Using the technique of evaluating the above judgments, we found out that 49% of respondents believe that the current non-progressive tax scale in Russia (13% for all income levels) is not fair. Other two-thirds of students are in favor of expanding democracy in the country, but at the same time they approve a “strong hand” of the President (61%). The “chimericality” of ideological values ​​and orientations (authoritarian democracy) reflects mobility of ideological orientations, vulnerability of student consciousness. Given the overt informational and ideological war, the latter is a very important fact.

Based on the Kuhn-Makpartlend test (Kuhn, 1968), 65% of the respondents identify themselves as citizens of the Russian Federation; about 15% identify themselves as residents of their city and republic; and 14% of the respondents focus on their ethnic affiliation, 6% of the respondents identify themselves with people of their generation. The study identified a phenomenon of “binary” identity, when a young man, being in another region of the country, identifies himself as a citizen of Russia and as a resident of the Republic of Tatarstan (52% and 48%, respectively). 21% of students being in another region actualize their ethnic identity.

The significance of the studies on ideological orientations is due to ideological security, the need for struggling against threats to identity, national interests and statehood, national ideological institutions (religion, education, mechanisms of production of the dominant national discourse in the media).

In 2015, when the 70th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War was celebrated, we conducted a structured interview of 1000 students in the Republic of Tatarstan. The study took place in the context of tough informational and ideological confrontation between “patriots” and liberals and “Young Europeans” (countries of Eastern Europe, Ukraine, Baltics). Both Internet debates and history taught in schools influenced the results.

For example, 17,3% of the respondents questioned the need for a campaign in Europe aiming to “finish off Hitler”; 17,9% were neutral. Is it just poor knowledge of history or the influence of “Euro-democratic” interpretations? When the name ‘Stalin’ or the term “Stalin regime” were mentioned in the questions, the opinions if students were negative. However, beyond the ideologeme "Stalinism" (having negative connotations), the majority of students (76,5%) assessed the Victory as an opportunity for the peoples of the USSR and Europe to survive and develop.

These data illustrate ideological effects and threats to ideological security of students in the context of "freedom of opinion" and "pluralism" of interpretations of past events. It is necessary to raise a question about the need for ideological monitoring of the dynamics of configuration of ideological values and orientations within the “coordinate” approach.

The complexity of the phenomenon of ideology and its constituent elements (ideological values, orientations and ideologemes) involves using a combination of methods for studying them. Sociological studies based on the above methodological principles involve using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods (surveys, testing, observation, focus groups, semantic differential, content and discourse analysis). In addition, it is necessary to analyze literature and documents regulating ideological values of the educational process (standards and curricula).


Ideology as a socio-cultural phenomenon and as ideological values and orientations manifests itself in ideological institutes and apparatuses (Althusser, 1970). Russian students, being the most socially active group of young people, is an important object of ideological socialization influenced by different countries. Therefore, the issue of ideological security is relevant. Sociological studies of ideological values and orientations of students are carried out on the basis of structural-functional and constructionist approaches. They involve survey methods (interviews, questionnaires, coordinate-type tests fixing ideological orientations), and discursive analysis of the media field and educational programs. Taking into account “chimericality” of modern ideologies, it is important to identify mechanisms for actualization and configuration of ideological values of the main categories of Russian students as an “ideological matrix” considering a regional factor.


The authors thank the RFFR fund. This article was prepared as a part of the project “Social mapping of ethnic, religious and migratory risks in modern urban agglomerations” No. 18-011-00981 supported by the Russian Foundation for Fundamental Research.


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29 March 2019

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Rimovich, T. A., & Ilshatovna, Z. R. (2019). Ideological Values And Orientations Of Russian Students Through Prism Of Sociology. In D. K. Bataev (Ed.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 58. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1232-1238). Future Academy.