Few words on the high level of social distrust among the Russian youth: Civil servants’ social image

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Abstract


Based on the empirical data of the repeated surveys conducted by the Sociological Laboratory of the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, the authors consider the student youth typical answers to quite simple questions on the political interest and awareness as well as on the level of social trust in the most general interpretation of the term. According to the surveys data, since 2007 we cannot identify the students’ value orientations as political apathy (which is typical for the Russian media), political unawareness or electoral ignorance. Moreover, the Moscow student youth consider themselves patriots and identify as grounds for their national pride the historical past, natural resources, cultural heritage and sports achievements, though not the development of the economic and social spheres, respect for human rights and freedoms, activities of the public authorities, and general standards of living. The authors believe that such pessimistic evaluation of the situation in the country is connected (if not determined) by the low level of social trust (or high level of social distrust), especially to the public administration and the officials of all kinds in general. The authors conducted an exploratory online opinion poll to reconstruct the social image of the civil servant in the Russian public opinion to explain the low level of social trust in the society and the stable proportion of young respondents claiming that the Russian state represents and defends the interests of the rich and the civil servants. The questionnaire consisted of the questions on the obligatory ethical principles that should be guiding for all state/municipal employees, on the grounds for considering the behavior of civil servants as unethical, on the requirements to the applicants for the public administration positions, on the appropriate ways to deal with cases of unethical behavior in the public administration bodies, on the social image of the civil servant and its determinants, etc. Although the youngest group (18-24-year-olds) proved to be the most optimistic one, it also easily reconstructs the negative image of the civil servant, who does not meet the professional and ethical requirements to this social-professional group, which does not consist of the most intelligent, talented and competent people in the country, not to mention the most honest, conscientious and descent ones.


I V Trotsuk

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia

Author for correspondence.
Email: irina_trotsuk@rambler.ru

Sociology Chair

E A Ivlev

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia

Email: ivlevdjon@mail.ru

Sociology Chair

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