The political outlook of young people in the countries of the former Soviet Union is crucial to their countries’ future political development. This is particularly relevant now as the first generation without firsthand experience of communism at first hand is approaching adulthood. Based on extensive original research and including new survey research amongst young people, this book examines young people’s political outlook in countries of the former Soviet Union; it compares and contrasts Russia, where authoritarianism has begun to reassert itself, and Ukraine, which experienced a democratic breakthrough in the aftermath of the Orange Revolution.
The book examines questions such as: How supportive is this new generation of the new political order? What images of the Soviet Union prevail in the minds of young people? How much trust does youth place in current political and public institutions? Addressing these questions is crucial to understanding the extent to which the current regimes can survive on the wave of public support. The book argues that Russian adolescents tend to place more trust in the incumbent president and harbour more regrets about the disintegration of the Soviet Union than their peers in Ukraine; it demonstrates that young people distrust political parties and politicians, and that patriotic education shapes social and political values.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Attitudes toward Democracy 3. Trust in Authorities 4. Building the New Political Community, Remembering the Old One 5. Learning about Politics 6. Construction of Soviet History in School Textbooks 7. Growing Up, but Growing Apart
Olena Nikolayenko is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Fordham University, New York. She received Ph.D. in political science from the University of Toronto and held a post-doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. Her research interests include comparative democratization, social movements, public opinion, and youth, with the regional focus on post-communist societies. Her articles have appeared in Canadian Journal of Political Science, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, Comparative Politics, Europe-Asia Studies, PS: Political Science and Politics and Youth and Society.
"Written in a clear and accessible manner; for those uncomfortable with statistical tables, the quantitative data is explained in the narrative. The many quotes from the semistructured interviews enliven the text.... College students would no doubt be interested to read about the political attitudes of their contemporaries (or near contemporaries) regarding democracy, patriotism, and national identity." - Valerie Sperling, Clark University; Slavic Review, vol. 72, no. 1 (Spring 2013).
"THIS BOOK PROVIDES UNIQUE INSIGHTS INTO THE POLITICAL VIEWS and attitudes of Russian and Ukrainian adolescents, a highly neglected but undoubtedly relevant topic. Nikolayenko convincingly argues that the views of the new, post-Soviet generation are likely to become a determining factor for the future development of these countries. A better understanding of adolescents in these countries and what determines their political views and attitudes is of crucial importance... the book remains a pioneering and interesting work on post-Soviet adolescents, and a good starting point for future studies on this issue offering a wide range of relevant research questions. As such it can be recommended for students of post-Soviet politics interested in this field of research." - ALEXANDER BOR, Central European University; Europe-Asia Studies, 65:6 2013.
'The study’s value lies first and foremost in its empirical research. The reader is given an insight into the political views of young people and their level of trust in political institutions. The results offer an independent and highly relevant contribution to the analysis of political culture in the two largest post-Soviet states. The combination of quantitative and qualitative methods is successful and offers an interesting model for further studies. [...] The reader is given an insight into the political views of young people in two very similar, but also contrasting post-Soviet states. The book offers a valuable contribution to the study of the processes of political transformation, which include not only restructuring institutions but also changing the political culture. The study also shows how important citizens’ trust in political institutions is for societal and political consolidation.' – Ulla Pape, Redaktion Osteuropa, 2013