Trust and Social Inequality: The Case of Russia
Keywords:trust, public trust, social inequality, Russian society, non-profit sector, participatory approach
The article focuses on the study of relationship between trust and social inequality in Russian society. The methodological framework is an integrated multidisciplinary approach which combines sociological and economic theories. The research is based on official statistics and social surveys of international, national, and regional levels. The analysis shows that in Russia there is still excessive inequality (since 2003, the fund ratio has not dropped below 15 times, and the Ginny index is below 0.4). Using the method of two-dimensional distributions, we assessed the impact of social inequality on the level of generalized trust in Russia as a whole and the Vologda Oblast in particular. It was revealed that the Russian society is characterized by a low level of social trust and its increasing trends cannot be predicted. The existing mistrust is compounded by the stratification of society, persistence of significant differences in the level of well-being of the population, and the lack of mutual understanding between the poor and the rich. The article confirms the fact that the level of generalized trust depends on the economic component: with a decrease in well-being of the population, the level of mistrust grows. We conclude that the variables of inequality and trust form a vicious circle with poles of inversely proportional impact on each other. The practical task is to find a solution to the current situation. As a further research prospect, the article indicates the development of science-based proposals in solving the problem of the relationship between social inequality and public trust.
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