Russian Youth and Its Role in Society Transformation




youth, request for changes, actors of changes, actors of demand for changes, political participation, social participation, image of the future, justice, democracy


The article analyzes the reasons behind actualization of the demand for changes and increase in civic activity among young people. When it comes to the Russia’s desired future, apart from economic and social factors behind the difficulties in adapting to a crisis emergent divergence between the majority of young people and political elite is also of great significance. Based on the results of the monitoring studies conducted by the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences the author highlights that the modern young people tie a desired country’s image to the implementation of their ideas and principles of social justice and democracy which gained popularity among them over the recent four years. The number of those young Russians who oppose tough confrontation with the West has also increased. On the contrary, young people are less likely to support the idea of Russia returning back to national traditions, age-old moral and religious values than it was in 2014. On the whole, youth’s views of the social development key goals are founded on today’s realities rather than the memories of wonderful or horrible past. In this situation, youth becomes a social strata not just interested in social changes but a strata with an alternative vision of country’s priorities for the future.

However, modern young people, despite being ready to become an actor of demand for changes, are still not able to be an independent actor in political activities. This is primarily due to youth’s diverse nature and a failure to demonstrate institutional subjectivity. At the same time, not claiming leadership in social transformation youth can merge into a coalition of social forces seeking change; politically active young people are already capable of competing with the traditional parties. As to civic initiatives, youth can raise awareness on the challenging topics, aspects of social conflicts, which are of little concern for the state and the key actors. More importantly, modern youth can set not only principles and political goals but also moral guidelines, which are as important as the struggle against poverty, corruption, and a decline of the public sphere.

Acknowledgments. The article is supported by the RFBR (“Social Transformation of the Russian Society: the Actors for Changes”, project no. 19 011 00277).

Author Biography

Vladimir V. Petukhov,  Institute of Sociology of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences

  • Institute of Sociology of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
    • Cand. Sci. (Philos.), Head of the Center for Complex Social Studies