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A Cultural Examination Of The Russian Federation

1940 words - 8 pages


Introduction

In 1991, the great social experiment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics dissolved. The empire spanning almost five centuries, from the remnants of the Golden Horde to Stalin's "new Russia" (Hoskins, 1997) from Poland to the Pacific disappeared, leaving a political-sociological void that is only now moving towards resolution. Still the largest nation in the world (Shultz, 2000), Russia spans two continents, multiple time zones, and a land area that diminishes that of the United States. Although it no longer demonstrates the breadth of cultural conglomeration existing in the era of Soviet existence, the Russian Federation provides for an interesting cultural examination, and will be the basis of this paper.

Specifically, this paper will examine six different areas of culture noted by the Hofstede Centre's 6-D model; power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, pragmatism, and indulgence. A bar-graph of the various scorings of Russia by the standards of the Hofstede Centre to provide a visual representation of the information to be examined in this paper is provided below. Providing a cultural baseline also will assist the reader in examining a nation such as Russia, therefore the author has included cultural references and notations to the United States of America. As well, though it is outside the scope of this paper, a brief historical examination of different areas of Russia's culture will be offered, as to fully understand a nation's cultural existence and development, knowledge of its history is required.

Power Distance

The dimension of power distance, according to the Hofstede Centre, indicates that “[t]he extent to which the less powerful members within [a society] expect and accept that power is distributed unequally. With a Hofstede score of 88, the power culture of Russia is quite distant. Historically, this may be noted in the emphasis of centralized, bureaucratism that has dominated the Russian political system from the implantation of the khanage ruling class beginning in 1223. (Hoskins, 1996) This top-down acceptance of leadership is noted all forms of Russia and with particular interest now as democracy continues to fully take hold.
Mandates of expectation come from the top, and it is through the middle that actual completion occurs. (Schultz, 2000.) There is little room for individual approach or thought (as will be discussed in the following section,) thus inspiration tends to stagnate without clear encouragement. Acceptance of such distance from power is noted throughout the histories of Russia, with such a statement as "Father Tsar." This demonstrates that the State is seen as a living entity with such persons controlling it that are far removed, yet not so removed that they are unperceivable, and able to "assist" from time to time.
Language, due to this graduation between layers is high context, in that it is better to not draw attention to...

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