Attitudes, Political Engagement, and Transnational Linkages of Young People in Eastern Europe

Project coordination: Dr. Félix Krawatzek and Prof. Dr. Gwendolyn Sasse

Based on a number of online surveys conducted across Eastern Europe (Russia, Belarus, Poland, and Latvia), this project taps into the attitudes, behaviour, and the transnational linkages of a generation that has not yet been empirically studied. Through these surveys, we identify the larger patterns of how young people perceive the political and social worlds they inhabit, how they identify with their countries’ pasts, and what aspirations they have for their own futures. The first two surveys cover the Russian Federation (April 2018/April 2019) and were conducted among young(er) people aged 16 to 34 in fifteen regional capitals. Youth plays an important role in the official discourse of the Russian government. Young people have been shown to be loyal to the regime and to identify with conservative values, but they have also been very visible in the anti-corruption protest movement around Alexei Navalny and protests in the context of the regional elections in summer 2019. This contradiction within the young generation is not unique to Russia. Through further surveys  in Belarus, Poland, and Latvia, this project gains a deeper understanding of the features that explain the diversity of views among the young in rapidly changing societies. We probe a range of issues, such as the level of political interest, knowledge, and public engagement of young people, their sources of information, personal networks, expectations, trust, and values. The online questionnaires combine novel survey techniques, including factual and picture quizzes as well as vignette and list experiments.