Civil Identity Of The Russian Population Of Krasnodar Krai: Generation Aspect


The article analyzes civil identity of the Russian population of Krasnodar krai for different generations. The concept “civil identity” was defined, basic interpretations of this concept and its differences from other types of identity were identified. Civil identity implies social connections between the citizen and the country, loyalty and responsibility for the country. Structural elements of this phenomenon (cognitive, connotative, axiological, behavioral) were analyzed. Objective and subjective components of civil identity were identified. The main problems of civil identity formation in modern Russia generated by historical, political and socio-cultural factors were described. Contradictory social transformations cause socio-cultural conflicts between generations aggravated by the conflict of identities which significantly complicates formation of the all-Russian identity. The authors identified differences in interpretation of citizenship by different age groups. Based on the analysis of empirical data, the level of civil identity in Krasnodar krai was described. The overwhelming majority of respondents declare their belonging to a civil community, identify themselves with the people of Russia, express patriotic feelings. The respondents have multiple civil identities, including all-Russian, ethnic and regional ones. A sociological survey showed that severity and content of the civil identity of the Russian population of the region are the same in all age groups. State-civil and national-ethnic identities are combined.

Keywords: Civil identityRussian ethnosgeneration


Despite the fact that Russian society has gone through the main stage of systemic transformation, significant social changes are still ongoing. They change patterns of behavior of people, generate new and modify old identities, restructure the entire identification matrix. The identification matrix is ​​based on the components of social identity, includes group (family, professional, generational, etc.), physical (appearance, sex, age), political (civil, national, class), spatial-territorial, socio-cultural (language, religion) and other identities (Mukha, Melsitov, & Sergienko, 2014). Civil identity plays a special role in the system of social identity, since the state, the society, and the individual are interested strive to form civil unity. In this context, it is relevant to address the issue of civil identity of the Russian population, since the Russians are a state-forming ethnic group, and their value orientations, social and ethno-cultural well-being determine prospects for the development of Russian society and nature of the all-Russian identity.

Problem Statement

The formation of the civil identity of the population of modern Russia is characterized by significant differences in perceptions and attitudes towards the citizenship. The Russian society consists of the following generations: S generation “silent generation” (born in 1923-1943), BB generation “baby boomers” (born in 1943-1963), X generation (born in 1963-1983), Y generation (in born 1983–2003), and Z generation (born after 2003+). Value orientations, the identity system of these generations were formed in different historical eras, and in different states (USSR and Russia). Contradictory social transformations generated an internal sociocultural conflict between age cohorts. The identity conflict added to the traditional “generational conflict”. The inability to build horizontal social ties made it difficult to reproduce the national identity.

Research Questions

The subject of this research is severity and meaningful content of the civil identity of four generations of Russian people. Civil identity implies the existence of a social link between the citizen and the country, including loyalty and responsibility for its fate. Civil identity can be visible and invisible. Visible forms are official speeches of politicians, laws, activities of political movements, photographs and videotapes of political events, while invisible forms are cultural and social processes, everyday activities if people (Sanina, 2012). The article aims to study these forms. The analysis of civil identity of the Russian population will be carried out on the example of Krasnodar krai which is a multi-ethnic region.

Purpose of the Study

Thus, the purpose of this work is to analyze severity and meaningful content of civil identity of the Russian population of Krasnodar krai belonging to different generations.

Research Methods

When analyzing civil identity, an interdisciplinary approach seems to be optimal. It takes into account socio-cultural, economic, political and psychological factors (Mukha, 2015). The study of the mechanism, components and functions of civil identity implies an appeal to the theory of social identity. Generation analysis is based on the theory of generations by Howe and Strauss (1991) and its Russian version developed by Shamis and Nikonov (2016). The empirical study of civil identity was carried out by a questionnaire survey. The survey was conducted in 2017 in Krasnodar krai. 1030 people were surveyed. Quotas were based on the following featurs: gender, age, the ratio of urban and rural population.


The concept "civil identity" is quite new and controversial. Shikova (2009) says that civil identity is associated with self-reference of an individual to a country by different sociocultural aspects (language, mentality, values, norms and patterns of behavior). The concept “civil identity” is closely related to “civil consciousness” which, unlike “citizenship”, is associated with patriotic feelings and perceptions of the Motherland. Drobizheva (2008) says that civil identity should not be reduced to identification of an individual with a country where he lives. It is a feeling of solidarity with compatriots, loyalty to the state and personal responsibility for events occurring in the country (Drobizheva, 2008). In analyzing civil identity, attention should be paid responsibility for the welfare of others and willingness to help, the need for public justice, equality of opportunities, respect for opinions of other people, and the need to preserve the environment (Schwartz, Melech, Lehmann, Burgess, & Harris, 2001).

Shergaliyeva (2014) argues that civil identity can be viewed as a synonym of national identity, if the nation is interpreted as co-citizenship, a community identified on a state-political basis. At the same time, civil and national identity do not coincide. Civil identity is the most value-neutral in relation to national and ethnic identities. Its development can be considered as a tool to help preserve the pluralistic multicultural unity of society (Shergaliyeva, 2014). However, at the current stage of development of Russian society, civil identity is inferior to ethnic, regional, or confessional identities. Attempts of the Russian authorities to create an image of the civil nation have not reflected in mass consciousness at the cultural and institutional levels (Drobizheva, 2008).

Formation of civil identity is influenced by political, economic, cultural, religious and other components. Civil identity includes a cognitive component (political and legal ideas about the country); a connotative component (emotional reactions to events occurring in the state); an axiological component (tolerance, recognition of the rights and freedoms of man and citizen, values of national cultures); a behavioral component (actions of the citizen as a participant in the events taking place in the country) (Efimenko & Baranov, 2011). Civil identity includes objective components consisting of legal norms and cultural and social standards, and subjective ones, including aspects constructed by the individual. The ratio of objective and subjective elements characterizes the degree of stability of social development: the greater the role of the subjective, personal component in civil identity, the higher the instability of sociocultural norms and values in society (Shikova, 2009). The formation of civil identity of the population of modern Russia is characterized by significant differences in perceptions and attitudes towards the citizenship. The older generations understand civil identity as “Soviet citizens”.

The collapse of the USSR destroyed the Soviet identity and necessitated the search for new forms of identification emergence of the “Russian nation” construct. These processes were accompanied by increasing confessional and ethnic intolerance, xenophobia, and separatism, which complicated the formation of all-Russian identity (Denisov, 2011). The changes that occurred in the country affected the younger generation. Selective nationalism developed in the youth environment. New patriotism is one more significant factor determining changes in civil self-identification of Russian young people. It was formed as a response to globalization and cosmopolitan mentality of the last decade of the last century (Shikova, 2009). Social changes destroyed identification processes between generations. In conditions when the younger generation cannot take advantage of the social experience of the older generation, young people do not identify themselves with older members of society. This trend causes marginality, social passivity, "negative" identity of young people due to the lack of integrating factors required for successful formation of civil identity (Shamovskaya & Gorbunova, 2016).

In general, in Russian society, civil identity is an ambiguous concept; the relationship between civil, national, and ethnic levels of self-identification have not been determined.

Let us analyze empirical data. The respondents were asked a number of questions to assess the level of civil identity of Russians. Most respondents quite clearly articulate their belonging to the civil community. 79.3% of respondents indicated that they were fully aware of their identity as citizens of Russia. The dependence of civil identity on age was identified: 18.3% of young people aged from 16 to 29 years old said that they were aware of their belonging to citizenship of Russia; in the group aged from 30 to 49 years old, 27.7% of respondents were aware of their civil identity, and in the group aged 50 and over, 33.3% of respondents indicated awareness of their civil identity. 14.7% of respondents identified themselves with Russian citizens, 4.7% of them were young people between 16 and 29 years old, 5.1% were in the 30-49 age group, 4.9% of respondents were between 50 and older. And only 1.9% of respondents indicated that they did not identify themselves the Russian citizenship. At the same time, there is no significant correlation by ages.

One more important component of civil identity is a feeling of unity with people of the country. 74.3% of respondents said that they feel unity with people of Russia. There is a correlation of answers depending on the age groups of the respondents: out of the total number of respondents who feel unity with people of Russia, 16.8 % of respondents were young people aged 16 to 29 years old, 26.9% were people aged from 30 to 49 years old, and 30.6% were people aged 50 and older. Only 2.2% of respondents indicated that they did not feel unity with the Russian people. The state and society need a stable link between the structure of the political order and the “collective whole” (Drobizheva, 2017). The importance of identity for the citizens is due to its influence on the socio-psychological state, self-awareness and ideas about future goals.

The next set of questions was aimed at specifying criteria by which respondents are aware of their unity with the people of Russia. As a result, 70.3% said that they shared common citizenship with the citizens of Russia. There is an age correlation for this criterion: among the total number of respondents who said they felt unity with the citizens of Russia, 16.5% were young people aged 16 to 29 years old, 23.8% were respondents aged 30 to 49 years, 30% were people aged 50 and older. This criterion shows development of solidarity, unity and responsibility.

Civil identity is inseparable from the concept “civil consciousness” which includes self-assertion of the individual to the state and patriotic feelings and love for the Motherland. 58.7% of respondents answered that they felt united with the people of Russia on the basis of this criterion, 30.5% answered that patriotism united them with the Russian people in part. Among those who said that love for the Motherland unites them with the people of Russia, 13.2% of respondents belonged to the group aged 16-29 years old, 20.4% were from the group aged from 30 to 49 years old, 25.2% belonged to the older generation. Patriotism is an important component of civil identity, as it forms a common value system that promotes self-preservation of Russian society. Thus, civil identity is more developed in the older generation (50 and older). Civil identity is an important integrative factor that must be considered and developed in the younger generation. Civil identity is a powerful positive resource that should be strengthened.


The analysis of civil identity showed that its nature and manifestation degree is the same in all age groups. The combination of state-civil and national-ethnic identities was identified.


The study was carried out as part of the RFBR grant No. 19-011-00834 "Identification matrices of four generations of Russians in modern Russia".


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21 January 2020

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Mukha*, V., Litovka, V., & Vakhrameeva, D. (2020). Civil Identity Of The Russian Population Of Krasnodar Krai: Generation Aspect. In D. Karim-Sultanovich Bataev, S. Aidievich Gapurov, A. Dogievich Osmaev, V. Khumaidovich Akaev, L. Musaevna Idigova, M. Rukmanovich Ovhadov, A. Ruslanovich Salgiriev, & M. Muslamovna Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 76. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 2360-2365). Future Academy.