Interethnic Relations and Ethnic Tolerance in Ukraine. (реферат)

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Interethnic Relations and Ethnic Tolerance in Ukraine.

InDepth Analytical Report HYPERLINK
atp.org.ua\\paninarelat.htm” \l “1#1” [1]

The transition from Isolationist (territorial, social, and mental)
principles of social system functioning to principles of openness and
cooperation is one of the most important preconditions of transforming a
closed (traditionalcommunitarian or totalitarian) society into an open
democratic society HYPERLINK
atp.org.ua\\paninarelat.htm” \l “2#2” [2] .

A certain level of tolerance towards members of various social groups,
to which an individual does not belong, is a psychological basis of any
social partnership.

In a situation of heightened social tension (caused by an economic slump
and a struggle of different political forces for power), tolerance of
members of one ethnic group towards other ethnic groups is regarded as a
most important factor, if not of societal stabilization then, at least
of prevention of civil war or murderous interethnic clashes, which a
number of republics of the FSU (Azerbaidzhan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova,
Tadzhikistan, Kirgizstan, Uzbekistan, the Ossetiyaningushetian conflict
in Russia) failed to avoid.

Numerous sociological polls, conducted by the central Ukrainian branch
of the AllUnion Centre for Public Opinion Research and the Institute for
Sociology with Ukraine’s National Academy of Sciences in 1989–1991,
included some questions which touched, to a varying degree, upon
problems of interethnic relations. The data obtained did not reveal any
widespread pronounced nationalist attitudes among the population of most
regions of Ukraine. Despite this, however, and despite the absence of
outbursts of interethnic strife in Ukraine, public opinion polls
typically register a hrefigh level of anxiety among the population about
the possibility of interethnic conflict: in all the polls on issues of
utmost concern for the population, the problem of likely interethnic
feuds figured most prominently among stresscausing factors.

The peak of concern about possible interethnic conflicts was registered
in 1992, when almost half of Ukraine’s adult population (49%) named the
possibility of interethnic conflicts as one of the major problems they
were most apprehensive of. At the same time, the share of people who
found themselves involved in conflicts triggered by disrespect for
national/ethnic dignity, remained at the same level (about 3%).
Discrepancies between the extent of personal experience of interethnic
confrontation and the growth of concern about possible interethnic
conflict seem to be explained, first and foremost, by outbreaks of
interethnic strife in other regions of the former Soviet Union rather
than by the way interethnic conflicts developed in Ukraine and policies
pursued by the leadership with regard to ethnic groups. However, in
order to prognosticate possible paths of development of interethnic
relations in Ukraine and, most importantly, to be able to spot in
advance probable factors of heightened interethnic tensions, one should
have much more evidence than some fragmentary data obtained in response
to a few individual questions, included, as a rule, into prompt topical
public opinion polls on the most urgent problems.

1. Ethnic Tolerance Measuring Procedure

An indepth analysis of the problem presupposes special methods which
make it possible to measure the level of general ethnic/national
tolerance as an underlying psychological basis of interethnic behavior.
One of such methods is Bogardus’ social distance HYPERLINK
atp.org.ua\\paninarelat.htm” \l “3#3” [3] . It allows the measurement
of a person’s social attitude towards members of other ethnic groups and
nationalities — a certain psychological predisposition to affiliate with
or, conversely, to alienate from other ethnic groups or nationalities,
irrespective of their personal qualities and peculiarities HYPERLINK
atp.org.ua\\paninarelat.htm” \l “4#4” [4] . A respondent’s answer to
the question of the capacity in which he/she is ready to accept
representatives of other ethnic groups or nationalities makes it
possible to determine a measure of social distance he/she would per to
be preserved between herself or himself and the group in question.

The scale is organized on a cumulative principle, which allows one to
determine the index (in points) of social distance visavis a certain
ethnic group or nationality: “ready to accept them as members of the
family” — one point, “as a close friend” two points, “as a neighbor” —
three points, “as a fellowworker” — four points, “as a resident of the
country” — five points, “as a tourist/visitor” — six points, “I would
not admit them to Ukraine at all” — seven points. Thus, one point
signifies maximum tolerance, while seven points signifies extreme

Using a list of 23 nationalities, the authors applied the Bogardus
social distance scale in two studies (in Kiev in August 1990 and in July
1991), the outcomes of which confirmed the reliability of the
information obtained by means of this method HYPERLINK
atp.org.ua\\paninarelat.htm” \l “5#5” [5] .

A special study of ethnic tolerance of Ukraine’s population was
undertaken in April 1992 and in May 1994 using the Bogardus scale. The
two studies used a national sample of Ukraine’s adult population (over
18 years old; the calculated sample size was 1800 people, representative
of regions {oblasts} of residence), types of settlement (town/village),
nationality/ethnic group and educational level of Ukraine’s adult
population as a whole.

The list of ethnic groups/nationalities, presented to respondents for
evaluation in April 1992, included 16 groups: Ukrainians, Russians,
Belarussians, Jews, a number of nationalities of the former USSR
republics, Western and Eastern European, Asian and African countries, as
well as Ukrainians living abroad (expatriates in the Ukrainian

In May 1994 the list was somewhat modified by excluding a number of
ethnic groups/nationalities which were of no political interest for the
monitoring of attitudes and including some nationalities/ethnic groups
living along Ukraine’s borders whose attitudes were of practical
interest for political decisionmaking purposes — namely Moldavians,
Serbians, Turks and Slovaks.

2. Attitudes of Ukraine’s Population towards Various
Nationalities/Ethnic Groups

Attitudes of Ukraine’s adult population towards members of various
ethnic groups/ nationalities in 1992 (i.e., half a year after Ukraine
became an independent state) can generally be characterized as being
orientated towards national/ethnic isolation (Table 1):

Table 1

Social distance visagrave;vis various ethnic groups/nationalities as
evaluated by Ukraine’s population (April 1992): “I agree to accept
members of the given ethnic group/nationality as..”

1: members of my family, 2: close friends; 3: neighbours; 4: colleagues
at work; 5: inhabitants of Ukraine; 6: visitors of Ukraine; 7: I would
not allow them into Ukraine at all

Level of Tolerance 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Index

Ukrainians 79 9 3 1 7 2 0 1.55

Russians 43 24 10 3 11 7 2 2.46

Belarussians 29 27 14 4 13 12 1 2.85

Ukrainian expatriates 24 22 7 4 18 23 2 3.48

Poles 15 22 14 4 12 28 5 3.77

Jews 10 14 15 11 23 18 10 4.18

Hungarians 9 14 17 5 15 35 4 4.24

Americans 11 13 9 15 10 38 4 4.31

Germans 8 13 9 16 12 37 5 4.43

French 9 13 8 13 11 41 4 4.45

Romanians g 12 13 6 14 38 8 4.56

Japanese 4 11 9 19 9 43 4 4.66

Crimean Tatars 3 6 9 5 31 29 17 5.09

Georgians 3 8 9 5 16 34 26 5.26

Vietnamese 2 7 6 9 10 52 14 5.29

Arabs 3 6 5 7 11 51 17 5.37

Negroes 2 6 5 6 11 50 20 5.49

Gypsies 3 4 7 3 22 26 35 5.55

 (% of all those polled; N = 1752)

The data obtained made it possible to answer one question raised as a
result of previous research, i.e., why, despite a generally favourable
situation in the sphere of interethnic relations, a considerable part of
the population is still fearful of interethnic conflicts? If, casting a
cursory glance at Table I, one makes an attempt to succinctly
characterize the population’s psychological status in the sphere of
interethnic relations, then the word ‘guarded’ seems to be most
appropriate. In neither ethnic group/nationality, including the
indigenous one, can we observe a maximum (100%) manifestation of
tolerance: only 79% of those polled chose to accept Ukrainians as family
members, and less than a half of the respondents –Russians.

An analysis of the distribution of ethnic groups/nationalities on the
social distance scale according to the ethnic intolerance index (see the
far right column in Table 1 ) leads us to conclude that there is a
certain striving for East Slavic separateness in the minds of Ukrainian
people: Ukrainians, Russians, Belarussians, Poles and Ukrainian
expatriates (the diaspora) have an index value of less than four points
on the social distance scale, which may testify if not to a pronounced
tolerance then, at least, to some positive value for it.

A number of nationalities are characterized by an intolerance index of
more than five 5 points, which means, specifically, that representatives
of these nationalities are not accepted in people’s minds as permanent
residents of Ukraine. A list of nationalities which are rejected most of
all (Crimean Tatars, Georgians, Arabs, Negroes, Gypsies and the
Vietnamese) may lead one to surmise that the underlying reason for such
rejection is an association in people’s minds of these nationalities
with a threat of international or interethnic conflicts. Thus, a fear of
interethnic/international clashes is, in our opinion, a result of
general cautiousness as a basic character trait of Ukraine’s population,
rather than an indication of ethnic/national intolerance. It is probably
this same guardedness that on the one hand helps avoid largescale
interethnic confrontation and, on the other, facilitates the formation
of a certain (as it were, ‘soft’) type of xenophobia, separation from
all ‘aliens’. That is precisely why ethnic Ukrainians abroad (Ukrainian
expatriates, on whom many people in Ukraine pinned great hopes for
assisting them in building up independent Ukraine’s economy) occupy in
the minds of people in Ukraine a more remote place than Russians or
Belarussians, and have an index of more than three points, which is
beyond the range of the closest (friendly, neighbourly or family) ties.

In this context (the shaping of national isolation psychology),
representatives of most nationalities are accepted in people’s minds
only as visitors to Ukraine.

Of certain interest for an analysis of ethnic/national intolerance is
the position of Jews on the scale of social distance. By virtue of
historical circumstances) the problem of antiSemitism has a special if
not leading place in the range of the world’s problems in the field of
international/interethnic relations. Historically, this issue was one of
the most important interethnic problems in Ukraine. It is rather topical
even nowadays, since it is closely linked with the problems of human
rights protection, migration and international cooperation.

The results of international/interethnic tolerance measurements made it
possible to see that problem in a somewhat different light. If
previously this had been a matter of antiSemitism as such, with an
emphasis on the negative attitude towards Jews alone, a comparison of
attitudes to Jews with attitudes to other nationalities leads one to
conclude that antiSemitism is just one particular manifestation of a
more general xenophobia — rejection of practically all nationalities or
ethnic groups different from one’s own: Jews far from occupy a leading
place. Moreover, on the scale of social distance they are placed much
closer in the mass consciousness of Ukraine’s population than most other
nationalities/ethnic groups. When considering the data on Ukraine as a
whole, Jews are placed in the group of nationalities, which are ‘driven
out’ by the mass consciousness beyond the range of close contacts (four
points). This, however, mainly occurs because of the attitudes of rural
and small town dwellers, for whom Jews as well as most other
nationalities are rather ‘alien’. In Kiev, however, the index of
intolerance to Jews is less than four points (3.44 points), in other big
cities (with more than 250,000 thousand inhabitants each) it is 3.67
points, while in small towns – 4.25 points and in villages – 4.56 points
(all differences are significant at least at the level of 0.05, and
between the extreme groups — at the level of 0.001).

This concrete example is a vivid illustration of the conclusion that
people consider as ‘friendly’ those nationalities or ethnic groups with
whom they have lived together for a long time on this territory. This
frame of mind, lecting an a priori mistrust of practically all
nations/ethnic groups that have not lived for a long time on this
territory, is typical of the value system of a closed
traditionalistarchaic society. Widespread traditionalistcommunitarian
values are an essential obstacle in the course of the democratic
transformation of society.

A low level of ethnic/national tolerance, manifested with regard to
certain ethnic groups/nationalities, is but one manifestation of a low
level of general ethnic/national tolerance. It is primarily a matter of
xenophobia which became a real fact of life in Ukrainian society during
the collapse of the totalitarian system, when the ‘genie’ of intolerance
and distrust with regard to ‘aliens’ and other special groups or strata
as well as to other ethnic groups and nationalities broke loose from the
shackles of Communist ideology and allround suppression of dissidence.

This conclusion is confirmed by the results of a factor analysis of the
data. Factorization made it possible to single out three major factors
which, combined, determined 82% of the variance in assessments. The
first factor (its explanatory force was 66%) may be interpreted as the
factor of ‘East Slavic withdrawal’, for only on the scales of
assessments of Ukrainians, Russians and Belarussians were no high factor
loads registered with respect to national intolerance. In other words,
if someone shows intolerance towards a certain ethnic group/nationality,
it is very probable that he/she will show intolerance towards most other
nationalities or ethnic groups not considered by him or her as ‘friendly
people’. There is also another definition of the factor dominant in the
minds of people, namely xenophobia.

The second and third factors are far weaker in their explanatory power
(12.3% and 4.4% respectively) and characterize, in our (optimistic)
opinion, a potentially positive element in the people’s minds. The
second factor may be termed the factor of ‘general ethnic/national
tolerance’, since it includes high negative values for factor loads of
those ethnic groups or nationalities which are rejected most of all by
the mass consciousness. The structure of the third factor ‘orientation
towards the West’ — includes only those scales with high negative loads
which characterize attitudes to representatives of developed Western
countries. It is precisely these two factors, as yet rather weak but
still present in the minds of people, that give us some hope for better
prospects of the development of the system attitudes of Ukraine’s
population towards representatives of other ethnic groups/nationalities.

On the one hand, the population’s general cautiousness and guardedness,
rather vividly manifested in the rejection of nationalities and ethnic
groups whose image is in some way associated in the mass consciousness
with interethnic and international conflicts, work towards the
preservation of a more or less durable peace in Ukraine at a time when
other regions of the former Soviet Union are plagued with murderous
interethnic feuds. On the other hand, such overcautiousness is also
leading to the creation and consolidation of a prospectless (from the
point of view of building up an economically developed civilized nation)
phenomenon of general national and ethnic intolerance, originating from
a psychological isolation from practically all nationalities and ethnic
groups which do not have a long historical record of living on the
territory of Ukraine.

3. General Ethnic/National Intolerance

The phenomenon of xenophobia (established as a result of the correlation
and factor analysis), the essence of which lies in the fact that
manifestations of intolerance towards certain specific nationality or
ethnic group are merely a special case of manifestation of more general
ethnic/national intolerance, substantiate the expediency of using such
an indicator as the general ethnic/national intolerance index. This
index is a simple average of values of ethnic/national intolerance
indicators. In calculating a simple average value of the index of
general ethnic/national intolerance, attitudes towards ethnic Russians
and Ukrainians as the major nationalities living on the territory of
Ukraine, as well as attitudes towards Ukrainian expatriates, are not
taken into account since they are representatives of the same
nationalities as the indigenous population.

According to the data obtained, the general ethnic/national intolerance
index of Ukraine’s adult population in 1992 was 4.63 points on a seven
points scale, where the value of 4 points is a mark dividing positive
(tolerant) and negative (intolerant) attitudes to other
nationalities/ethnic groups. One can see that the general
national/ethnic tolerance of Ukraine’s population has shifted to the
negative end of the scale, for which reason it would be more exact to
speak about a general national intolerance. Analyzing the factors
affecting the phenomenon in question, one can maintain that a factor’s
influence is positive, even if it only reduces the average level of
general intolerance, rather than increasing tolerance.

4. SocioDemographic Factors of General Ethnic Intolerance

Our analysis of sociodemographic factors of ethnic intolerance makes it
possible to empirically verify the hypothesis that educational level,
age and type of settlement substantially affect the level of ethnic
tolerance: the higher the individual’s educational level and the younger
he/she is, the lower the level of general intolerance. Place of
residence affects not only attitudes towards Jews, as was mentioned
above, but also a general ethnic intolerance index (Table 2):

Table 2

Levels of ethnic intolerance of various sociodemographic groups of
Ukraine’s population

  Index of overall national intolerance (on a scale from 1–7)

Ukraine’s population as a whole 4.63


under 30 years 4.40

30–55 years 4.65

over 55 years 4.89


Incomplete secondary 4.91

Complete general secondary 4.61

Specialized secondary 4.58

Higher 4.38


Kiev 4.1

Large city 4.40

Small city 4.62

Village 4.86


Kiev 4.1

the West 4.31

the Center 4.87

the East 4.71

the South 4.71

the Crimea 4.63


Ukrainians 4.69

Ethnic Russians 4.52

Others 4.43

According to the 1992 data, regional peculiarities are as follows: the
lowest level of general ethnic/national intolerance was registered in
the western region, while the highest level was in the central region,
which confirms the hypothesis that a level of national/ethnic tolerance
is influenced by the experience of ethnic groups/nationalities living
together and cooperating with other ethnic groups/nations. Poles,
Hungarians, Romanians and other ethnic groups living in Ukraine are
largely concentrated on the territory of the western region, while the
central region is more homogeneous in its ethnic composition.
Furthermore, joint ventures and business contacts intensified in the
first years of the new, marketoriented economic policy, and were more
developed in Western Ukraine. There is another explanation for the lower
level of general ethnic intolerance in Western Ukraine: in our opinion,
the region’s population was oriented to market transformations in the
economy to a greater extent, and, as will be shown below, market
orientations are rather closely related to a lower level of ethnic

Certain differences in the level of ethnic intolerance were registered
between Ukrainians and ethnic Russians: in 1992 Ukrainians’ general
ethnic intolerance was somewhat higher (see Table 1 ; the difference is
significant at the level of 0.05).

5. Ethnic Specifics of National Intolerance

The data obtained make it possible to specify differences between
Ukrainians and ethnic Russians living in Ukraine with regard to their
attitudes towards various ethnic groups/nationalities. Table 3 shows the
results of the research for the following indicators:

• the left columns represent maximum tolerance of various
ethnic/national groups — the percentage of representatives of the ethnic
group in question who expressed their readiness to have close relations
with representatives of the given nationality;

• the right columns show indicators of national/ethnic intolerance of
each nationality/ethnic group (on a seven point scale):

Table 3

Attitudes of Russians and Ukrainians towards representatives of various
nationalities/ethnic groups

Nationality Ready to accept representatives of this nationality as
related through marriage Index of intolerance towards this nationality
(on a scale from 1–7)

  Ethnic Russians Ukrainians Ethnic Russians Ukrainians

Ukrainians 69 84 1.66 1.47**

Russians 67 34 1.82 2.64**

Belarussians 38 25 2.62 2.92**

Ukrainian expatriates 18 25 3.75 3.39**

Poles 17 15 3.75 3.79

Jews 14 7 3.88 4.30**

Hungarians 12 8 4.11 4.32

Americans 12 11 4.15 4.37*

Germans 12 7 4.20 4.51**

French 12 8 4.22 4.54**

Romanians 10 6 4.50 4.61

Japanese 5 4 4.52 4.72*

Crimean Tatars 4 3 4.91 5.16**

Georgians 4 3 5.06 5.37**

Vietnamese 3 2 5.29 5.30

Arabs 6 2 5.29 5.51

Negroes     5.46 5.51

Gypsies 3 3 5.51 5.60

(* p

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