Revisiting Rustow: An Empirical Assessment of the Relationship Between National Identity and Attitudes Towards Democracy in Post-Soviet Russia

John P Schultz, Purdue University


Does national identity influence a country’s prospects for democratization? Brudny and Finkel (2011) contend that national identity explains variation in the political developments among former Soviet states. In considering this argument, this effort examines the empirical evidence to determine 1) whether a measurable model of national identity has developed within Russia, 2) how this national identity has developed over time, and 3) whether a relationship exists between this intersubjectively held conception of national identity and attitudes towards democracy. Findings suggest the development and ongoing contestation of two competing conceptions of national identity that covary with changing attitudes towards democracy over time. This supports prior research suggesting a purposively distinctive conceptualization of democracy that prioritizes stability over liberty at a foundational level (Hale 2011). Consistent with social identity theory and Eckstein’s (1966) congruency theory, this research adds to the knowledge derived from the intersection of political psychology, political culture, and democratization, while providing evidence to support the theoretical linkage between psychological mass tendencies and systemic institutional properties.




McCann, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Political science

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