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Peer Reviewed


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Journal/Book/Conference Title

British Journal of Political Science

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Employing data from three surveys of mass opinion conducted in Lithuania, Ukraine and European Russia during 1990, 1991 and 1992, we examine three prominent but competing hypotheses about the source of political values in the post-Soviet societies: historically derived political culture, regime indoctrination and the effects of societal modernization. The literature on Soviet political culture argues that Russian mass values are distinguished by authoritarianism and love of order, values which will be largely shared by Ukrainians, especially East Ukrainians, whereas Lithuanian society would not evince this pattern. Our data do not support this hypothesis. We then examine acceptance of Soviet era norms, both political and economic. We do not find support for the argument that regime indoctrination during the Soviet period produced a set of ideologically derived values throughout the former Soviet Union and across a series of generations. The third hypothesis -- that industrialization, urbanization, war and changing educational opportunities shaped the formative experiences of succeeding generations in the Soviet societies and, therefore, their citizens' values -- receives the most support: in each of the three societies, differences in political values across age groups, places of residence and levels of education are noteworthy. The variations in political values we find across demographic groupings help us to understand the level of pro-democratic values in each society. We find that in Russia and Ukraine more support for democracy can be found among urban, better educated respondents than among other groups. In Lithuania, the urban and better educated respondents evince pro-democratic values at about the same level as their counterparts in Russia and Ukraine, but Lithuanian farmers and blue-collar workers support democracy at a level closer to urban, white-collar Lithuanians than to their Russian and Ukrainian counterparts. In all three societies, those citizens most likely to hold values supportive of democracy are those who are less favourable to Soviet-era values and less convinced of the primacy of the need for social and political "order." Those who desire strong leadership, however, tend to have more democratic values, not more authoritarian ones.

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Published Article/Book Citation

British Journal of Political Science, 24:2 (1994) pp. 183-223.


Copyright © 1994 Cambridge University Press. Used by permission.