Generation Y confused: the vast majority of young people think protests are ineffective, others out of curiosity, the idea or the leader.
Today’s young people — people born under Putin. Their entire lives at the helm was one and the same person. Surveys show that they are proud of the current President, but overall a very apolitical. Sociologists call them conformists. So why do they constitute the majority of the protests?
Head of the laboratory of political studies NRU HSE Valery Kasamara believes that there is no contradiction.
“When we see the photo reports from rallies, it seems that a lot of them. In fact, the percentage of oppositional youth is on the level of statistical error”, — said the expert.
From 19 February to 27 March 2017 staff at the laboratory for political studies interviewed more than 6 thousand full-time students from 109 universities. And found that 72% of young people think demonstrations and protests are ineffective to change something in this country. Only 14% of young people said that they are ready to take part in them, if any, will be held in their city.
“It is necessary to understand that when people say they would participate in the meetings, this does not mean that they will go. Most likely, they are simply pretty, and absolutely not the fact that getting in “Vkontakte” a call to come to the rally, they will run,” notes Casamara.
By results of researches it turns out that protest youth is an illusion. “Those 14%, which hypothetically could take part in some of the opposition painted of activity, does not contradict the fact that the majority sympathetic to the President,” she said.
“When we talk about those who are ready and out on the action, you need to understand that the majority of them lives in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. And there is a feeling that Peter is configured even more sharply than Moscow. In million cities like Ekaterinburg, too, there is opposition-minded guys. But the vast majority of Russian cities, rallies for young people is something that does not concern them. Rather, they are afraid to go out because everything in sight and all know each other. Many perceive the meetings as a threat, especially if we talk about the guys from the regions. They fear, in principle, any sanctions that might fall on their heads for involvement in non-governmental actions. And there is no certainty that this something will lead,” — said the expert.
According to the head of the laboratory, all the talk about that one more step and we repeat the 1917, have laymen who simply escalate the situation and do not know how many young people actually involved.
“In focus groups, most young people in the statements on rallies and protest activity adhere to the pragmatic position. For them, it is important that in the near future they will find an interesting job, career, family, and protests are perceived as something external and even alien to their lives. Reasoning about these actions and opposition politicians are abstract in nature. Only a few were willing to discuss the details of the protest activities, to talk about the agenda of the opposition rallies and to Express their position. The most heated debate on this issue took place in Siberian cities — Novosibirsk, Tomsk, and the last thing I wanted to touch on this topic young people in the regions with strong elements of a Patriarchal political culture — Kazan, Stavropol,” — said the head of the lab.
According to her, for many, the political struggle is not what is causing them genuine interest. It’s not something they are “burning”. Hence the lack of a clearly articulated position and reluctance to give a final assessment.
“For them the opposition rallies — is very shaky ground for reflection, where the motivation of the participants of the protest activity may not be completely clear and understandable, and immersion in the topic just confuses everyone: the state, dispersing rallies, acts correctly, but not always reasonable, but the opposition seems to wish the good of the country, but are only making it worse,” — said the interlocutor of “Rosbalt”.
Overall, according to the expert, the attitude of students to protest can be defined as a mixture of condemnation, sympathy and bewilderment. The ambivalence of the relationship to the protest rallies boils down to two theses: “Meetings are useless, harmful and dangerous” and “Meetings — a way to signal to the authorities that in the country there are problems”.
Supporters of the first thesis believe that the rallies — populism, “the oratory”, which is not worth wasting your own time. That such activity “does not solve problems, but only provokes people.” That those who go out to protest, and to provoke law enforcement. Such activity can lead to serious collisions, casualties, eventually “will be a riot — and all disperse”.
Proponents of the second believe that the demonstrations are normal for a democratic society, people have the right to Express their point of view regarding pressing problems. What is the mechanism by which citizens can hint to the authorities that something is wrong, not unleashing the conflict. And that the authorities do not quite right, when trying to silence or ban rallies, giving the signal about the fairness of the requirements of his claims.
This is not to say that the harmful and dangerous rallies, supporters of the government. “Among them there are people who say: despite the fact that meetings are useless, we still went and we will go. For some it’s a way of social self-realization”, — said Casamara.
According to the results of studies that researchers carried out directly on rallies at the beginning of 2012 and the spring of 2018, there have been three groups.
In the first group of people who go out on the street for the idea. They’re close to the topic of the meeting: “I am against corruption and I don’t care, who will conduct the meeting. I come because you believe that corruption is a problem of Russian society”.
The second group of people who come out of curiosity. “Very revealing it was in late 2011 — early 2012. Before it was peaceful times, and what then began to happen to the youth of the time was something unprecedented, something they have not seen. For them it was a big party, you can come to see celebrities. Moreover, up to a point the rallies were seen as a safe pastime”, — said the interlocutor of “Rosbalt”.
And the third group supports a political leader, movement. They don’t care what the theme of the rally.
Do they really care about what you’re up against? “With the rallies against pension reform data I have. I can’t say with confidence that youth was really deep knowledge of the matter. A similar study we performed at a rally against the renovation in Moscow. And, as is usually the case, the level of awareness was quite low. Not understanding and not looking deeper, the young people immediately went into denial,” she said.
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