"...the state would definitely deceive..."
According to one survey, not only have Soviet citizens learned that not trusting others is a way to survive, they've learned that since the state was always trying to deceive them, they're justified in actively foiling the state:
A large-scale survey titled the "Post-Soviet Man and Civil Society," conducted by the independent Levada Center, found that most Russians find it difficult to trust other people. Such surveys have been conducted every year since 1991, recording the most important changes in the Russians' mentality since the collapse of the Soviet Union.- Trust Nobody: Most Russians Don't Trust Anybody Else, but Believe They Have the Right to Deceive Others, Johnson's Russia List>>
The results of the survey reveal some bizarre trends. The number of people who trust others has decreased significantly over the last two decades. In 1991, only 41 percent of respondents were skeptical and suspicious. Now, 70 percent say they do not trust anybody, 72 percent do not want to help anybody, and 75 percent do not want to cooperate with other people in solving problems.
The authors of the survey believe that these attitudes are rooted in the Soviet past. "A Soviet man fully belonged to the state. He was dependent on the state. He knew the state would definitely deceive him, would try to use all of his resources, leaving him only the minimum required to survive. Therefore, he believed he had the right to mess up the authorities' orders, to make mistakes, to steal and avoid responsibility," they noted in an accompanying statement. The limited opportunities to manage his or her own life made a typical Soviet citizen passive, anxious and envious.
Paradoxically, this mentality did not disappear when the Soviet Union collapsed, and has even strengthened. The survey found that "dubious" forms of behavior, such as distrust, fear, aggression and willingness to commit fraud now have less negative connotations, and have become a normal part of social life...
The only area where utter distrust is less common is within a family. Most participants in the survey said that they trust close relatives and consider a close-knit family one of the most valuable things in life. Honesty and decency are the most attractive personal characteristics of both men and women when Russians look for spouses and partners.
- Levada Center>>
- Photo by Aleksey Petrosian, Russian photographer, is from englishrussia.com>>