Post-Christian Europe and Modern Russian Identity

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 17:50
Oral Presentation
Andrey ANDREEV, Institute of Sociology, Moscow, Russian Federation
For the Russians the relations with Europe are not purely pragmatic ones. They are deeply rooted in the core of Russian identity. Up to recently the majority of the Russians were strongly attached to a European perspective for their country. Being asked a question “Should the Russian Federation aspire to the integration with the EU?” the majority of the people (52 %) in 2002 answered “yes”. The opposite view expressed only 35 %. But since then this ratio has inversed. This change has multiple causes, but it is evidently related to the religious background. Russia differs from Europe not only because it historically belonged to another branch of Christianity, but also by the attitude to religion as such. The level of religiosity in modern Russia is lower than in Poland, but much higher than in Western Europe. According to The polls (2016) about 69% of Russians certified themselves as adherents of Orthodoxy, while the proportion of atheists amounted to only 11%. Accordingly, post-Christian Europe, whose values are increasingly divergent from the Christian understanding of the meaning of life and the Christian model of the family, is causing increasing rejection among Russians. In fact, Europe has nearly lost the central position which it occupied in Russian worldview since Peter I. By now this central position seems to be captured by CIS. In 2002 the index of positive emotional reactions to the word “European Union” among the Russian respondents was about 60 %, while in respect to the word “CIS” that index was only 34 %. Since 2002 both figures upgraded. But if in the first case the growth was approximately 6 %, in the second case the index grew twice. These and some other empirical data witness that nowadays the European identity of Russia probably changes to Eurasian one.