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18.05.2021, . 04:44

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1. Research Goals and Objectives

2. Research Organization

3. Subject and Main Concepts used in the Research

4. Research Object: The activists and Population

5. Research Methods and Sample Design

1. Research Goals and Objectives

The main goal of this research is to identify social groups of Russian people who have the potential for democratic development, and the real strategies of these social groups that may appear or must appear in the development and maintenance of democratic values and institutions.

In accordance with the main goal, the objectives of this research prioritize as follows:

    1. Studying the attitude of Russians toward democratic values and institutions;

    2. Studying the attitude of Russians toward elections;

    3. Studying the attitude of toward power, firstly, executive power and the state;

    4. Studying forms, peculiarities and readiness to the social and political activity of people;

    5. Studying possibilities for the social self-organization of people and its potential.

The findings of this research are not intended to comprehensively cover all the above-mentioned topics and to resolve all problems, specified within the main goal. We can only register today's level, because studying the dynamics of these processes would require additional research.

2. Research Organization

The research has been conducted by the Institute for Comparative Social Research (CESSI) by using an original technique developed by a team of researchers that consists of:

      Anna Vladimirovna Andreenkova, Ph.D., Deputy Director of the Institute for Comparative Social Research;

      Nina Vladimirovna Andreenkova, Ph.D., Director of the Institute for Comparative Social Research;

      Vladimir Lvovich Rimskiy, Head of the Department of Sociology of the Regional Public Foundation «Computer Science for Democracy» (INDEM Foundation);

      William Viktorovich Smirnov, Ph.D., Head of Sector of the Institute of State and Law of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

At the first stage, we conducted in-depth interviews with heads of public organizations, public foundations, etc., the purpose of which was to identify the main tendencies of public activity and sources of the active life stance of people. However, already the first results of those in-depth interviews showed that the activists of public organizations who hold various paid offices are, in essence, professional who have taken the path of public activity because of various reasons, but who aim their work at some specific problem - e.g., protection of the rights of consumers, pensioners, war veterans, the environment, etc. They estimate the effectiveness of their activity not by the level of the social activity of people, but by the number of resolutions, decrees, and laws adopted with their participation or as a result of their initiative. That means that such public organizations, as a rule, are self-sufficient, and do not need any wide public support and involvement of volunteers without being paid.

Thus, in-depth interviews generated interesting materials about the activity of various public organizations and the methods of recruiting personnel to work for them, but did not answer the question of the level of the social activity of the population, and the incentives to increase the social and political activity of people.

With due account of that, a questionnaire was designed for the population at large and a special module for the so-called «the activists», while the entire sample was divided into two parts: two-thirds of the sample (945 people) represented the entire population of Russia ranging from 18 years of age and older, and one-third of the sample (450 people) comprised the activists of public organizations, foundations, parties, trade unions, condominiums, etc.

3. Subject and Main Concepts used in the Research

The subject of this research is the social activity of Russians in relation to their socio-political self-organization. For the purpose of this research, «political participation» will mean any direct or indirect involvement of people (groups, communities) in the preparation, adoption and implementation of political managerial decisions and political strategies. That is, political participation is their own participation in public political life and control of the activities of representatives of governance authorities, as well as procedures for involvement of a wider circle of people in such participation.

For the purpose of this research, socio-political self-organization is considered as a process of the structurization of society itself by means of creating non-governance public associations (socio-economic, environmental, political and cultural associations) intended to express and defend the interests and needs of the main groups, layers and communities, as well as to protect and defend human rights in the regime of ongoing interaction and coordination of actions within a civil society and a multilevel dialog of society with governmental authorities. For the purpose of this research, «public contract' means all main types of formal and informal agreements and partnerships between various segments of society, business and power.

Levels, Types and Forms of Researched Participation

Levels of researched participations are local, regional and national.

Types of researched participation are legal, voluntary, spontaneous and mobilizing, conventional (support) and nonconventional (protect).

Forms of researched participations are as follows:

I. Mass forms:

    1) Participation in elections and election campaigns;

    2) Participation in other political campaigns, rallies, marches, demonstrations and political strikes.

    3) Participation of people in the activity of public (whether formal or informal) associations (organizations, movements, foundations, bodies of public independent actions).

II. Group and individual forms:

    1) Oral and written appeals on public political issues to politicians, officials, and to bodies of federal and municipal authorities and governance, and to the mass media.

    2) Pickets, negotiations, lobbying.

Resources and Factors of Political Participation

During this research, we took account of such resources of political participation as the knowledge and understanding of the real authoritative managerial processes, financial material processes, leisure time, membership in political parties and other public organizations; access to the mass media, especially to electronic and increasingly to the Internet; belonging to authoritative elites on the basis of kinship, acquaintance, or ethnical identity, religious identity, friendly association of people coming from the same area or any other identity.

Special attention was paid to the following factors of political participation:

    1) Institutional factors: local, regional and federal levels of governance and the degree of participation in their operation, three branches of power and the degree of confidence in all the three branches of power and their bodies, the degree of development of public political organizations and movements and their interaction.

    2) Political cultural factors: type of political culture and character of the polled activists subcultures of the elites and the masses.

    3) Socio-demographic factors: education, income, and economic status, age, gender, type of residence, etc.

4. Research Object: The activists and Population

During the research, two types of objects were studied:

    Population of the Russian Federation,

    Political the activists.

The real involvement of Russians in politics and governance, the potential of citizenship and readiness of various layers and groups for the creation of nongovernmental organizations in order to defend their common interests in bodies of power and governance, and for the interaction of these organizations may be revealed on the basis of a poll of the population.

By and large, socio-economically and politically active people have the necessary information and knowledge of the effectiveness of various forms of the self-organization of the population, of the involvement of people in politics and governance, in entrepreneurship, and of forms of such self-organization, as well as they have the understanding of their potential possibilities from the viewpoint of the development of democracy, the establishment of civil society and the implementation of political rights and freedoms of people. The activists have not only some certain experience of interaction with authorities, but also the largest potential of institutionalized dialog and the conclusion of a public contract with them.

The main idea of this approach is based on a suggestion that the combination of the findings of the survey of the population and the socially active members of society may facilitate: (1) a better understanding and resolving of issues related to the achievement of a qualitatively new forms, levels and effectiveness of the participation of people in the governance of the affairs of the state, and their self-organization; (2) working out procedures for the conduct of negotiations between members of an emerging civil society and authorities, technologies for the conclusion of public contracts between both parties.

1. Definition of the General Universe as the Population of the Russian Federation

The general universe is the population of the country from 18 years of age and older that is permanently resident in Russia. The exceptions from the general universe are as follows: Chechnya and other territories that are in the zone of military operations and of the location of military regiments, military bases, penitentiaries, hospitals, and institutional establishments of any similar kind.

2. Definition of «Political Activists»

For the purpose of this research, «political activists» mean people who take an active part in public life, in resolving society problems (non-personal) by means of collective or individual forms.

Into the group of political the activists we put people who either participated in elections themselves as candidates or organizers of election campaigns, or initiated the organization of various groups and communities, or were active participants in public organizations during the last three years. Thus, political the activists include as follows:

    1. People who participated in the following types of political activity:

      - People who ran for office in bodies of local self-governance (municipal, rayon councils, advisors of rayon administrations), including those who won, as well as those who lost;

      - People who took an active part in the election campaign of any candidate or party running either for office in bodies of local self-governance, or for office of a higher level, on a voluntary basis and without paid. For example, they were agitators, spoke at rallies in support of the candidate, managed the distribution of fliers, placards, etc.

      - People who acted as organizers of groups, collective actions, for example, in order to prevent the construction of monuments, the demolition of buildings and other structures, or the solution of any matter of public importance, including environmental, improvement-related problems (not their own apartment or staircase, but, for example, an entire building or rayon);

      - People who acted as organizers of protest actions on matter of any public importance (rallies, strikes, pickets, demonstrations, etc.)

    2. People who are taking or during the last three years took an active part in the work of:

      - Political parties (party the activists, leaders of party cells, but who are unofficial oblast/kray/city and higher party leaders receiving salaries for their work);

      - Public organizations - who are direct founders of public organizations or groups or active participants in the work of public organizations, but those for whom it is not their principle place of employment (committees of soldiers' mothers, environmental, women's, youth and other organizations, associations of people coming from the same area, associations of migrants, councils of veterans)

      - Active figures of trade unions, organizers of actions for protections of the rights of workers, but not formal leaders of trade unions working on a professional basis and receiving a salary.

      - Active participants in charitable organizations or organizers of charitable actions, such as donations, concerts, rallies for the benefit of the needy.

      - Active participants in the activity of religious communities, involved in the support of low-income families, trusteeships and the solution of other social problems.

5. Research Methods and Sample Design

    A unique feature of this research is its comprehensive nature. Concurrently with the survey of the activists, the survey of the population of the country was conducted. Therefore, the work of one research team on the development of methodology, instruments, and joint analysis of the survey of the activists and of the population allowed to obtain wider information about the forms and tendencies of expansion of social and political participation, and of problems related to the establishment of civil society in Russia.

1. Research Methods

    In-depth interviews of experts. Several in-depth interviews of heads of public organizations of various types were conducted before a quantitative survey of the population was started. The findings of these in-depth interviews were used to design questionnaires for the quantitative survey.

    Survey of the population. The survey was conducted by using the method of a personal interview with respondents at home. A total of 945 people were polled. The sample was representative of the population of Russia aged 18 years and older, and reflects the socio-demographic and socio-economic structure of the population of Russia.

    The survey was conducted using a formalized questionnaire. The average duration of an interview was 40 minutes. The survey was conducted by the Institute for Comparative Social Research (CESSI) from May 15, 2003 to June 15, 2003.

    Survey of the activists. A total of 450 the activists who met the criteria described in the definition of the activists were surveyed. The survey was conducted by using the method of a personal interview with respondents at work or at home depending on their preference. The average duration of an interview was 40 minutes.

2. Principles of Sample Design

The survey was conducted on the basis of a multistepped territorial probability sample designed so as to represent the population of the Russian Federation aged 18 years and older that is permanently resident in the country.

Figure 1. Geographical division of Russia in 10 regions and location of selected primary points of sampling

Figure 1

A total of 945 interviews among the population of Russia were conducted in all the selected points of sampling.

The standard error for the sample of this type being ± 3.1  percent.

The distribution of the sample according to the socio-demographic parameters is very close to the distribution provided by Goskomstat1 for the overall population. In addition, the data were weighed according to: the gender and age composition within the 10 regions of Russia.

In addition, 450 interviews of the activists were conducted, of which:

Table 1. Composition of the sample of the activists

TYPE OF RESPONDENTS Number of people polled
Deputies of bodies of local self-governance or municipal/rayon authorities 35 people
Those who ran for office in bodies of local self-governance or municipal/rayon authorities in the last 5 years 42 people
Those who personally participated in election campaigns 60 people
Those who organized actions on a problem of public importance 29 people
Those who organized protest actions 44 people
Those who participated in the work of a political party 67 people
Those who participated in the work of a public organization 54 people
Figures of trade unions 40 people
Participants in charitable organizations or actions 43 people
Participants in the activity of religious communities 36 people


450 people

1 The State Statistics Committee.

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