The Importance of Civil, Ethnic and Regional Identity for Residents from Small Russian Towns and its Determinants



Objective. The objective of the study is to analyze the subjective significance attached by residents of small towns to civil, ethnic and regional identities and to identify its determinants. Background. The growth of uncertainty and social and economic instability in society actualize the processes in the social identification of the person. Under these conditions the study of civic, ethnic and regional identities of residents from provincial towns in the Russian Federation as an important resource for group solidarity is of particular importance. Study design. The authors rely on H. Tajfel and J. Turner’s theory of social identity. We conducted a survey among residents in the town Belev, Tula region, and the town Staritsa, Tver region, characterized by mono-ethnicity, negative demographic dynamics, remoteness from the capital and its regional centers. Participants. The study involved 600 ethnic Russians (50.8% women). The quota sample in both towns included three age groups: 16—29 years old, 30—49 years old, 50 and older, each group included 100 people. Measurements. The questionnaire was developed and tested at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences. The questions are aimed at determining the identification degree of respondents with various social groups, as well as assessing satisfaction with various aspects of life and confidence in their own future and the future of their town. For data processing we used methods of descriptive statistics, Student’s t-test, multiple regression analysis, SPSS 18.0. Results. We have found high rates of subjective significance of civic, ethnic and regional identities for respondents. Moreover residents of small towns identify themselves more with representatives of their folk, less with residents of their town/region and even less with citizens of their country. The determinants of the subjective significance in the investigated types of identity for old people are satisfaction with various aspects of life, while residents in town Belev have unlimited love for their native town, pride and faith in its future prosperity. Conclusions. The study showed that residents of small towns are looking for reliance, support and protection, primarily in identification with their ethnic group. The resource for maintaining positive self-determination is also regional identity. Moreover regional identity in this case plays an important consolidating role acting as a mechanism for the social integration of civil society.

General Information

Keywords: civil identity, ethnic identity, regional identity, subjective significance of identity, determinants of identity subjective significance, residents of a small town

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article


For citation: Gritsenko V.V., Ostapenko L.V., Subbotina I.A. The Importance of Civil, Ethnic and Regional Identity for Residents from Small Russian Towns and its Determinants. Sotsial'naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo = Social Psychology and Society, 2020. Vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 165–181. DOI: 10.17759/sps.2020110412. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)



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Information About the Authors

Valentina V. Gritsenko, Doctor of Psychology, Proffesor of the Department of Cross-cultural Psychology and Multicultural Education, Faculty of Social Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Lyubov V. Ostapenko, PhD in History, Senior Researcher of the Center for Interethnic Relations Studies, Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Irina A. Subbotina, PhD in History, Senior Researcher of the Center for Interethnic Relations Studies, Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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