Academic journal article Review of European Studies

Diversity and Tolerance in a Multi-Ethnic Region of Mari El Republic, Russia

Academic journal article Review of European Studies

Diversity and Tolerance in a Multi-Ethnic Region of Mari El Republic, Russia

Article excerpt

Abstract

The article is dedicated to the problem of tolerance preservation under the conditions of national and cultural diversity of civil society on the example of the Republic of Mari El-a multi-ethnic region of the Russian Federation. On the basis of the analysis of earlier pedagogical and sociological research the ethnic, linguistic and confessional diversity of the Republic population has been described. The study of tolerance motivation of different population groups including teachers, students, experts, representatives of public authorities, civil society organizations and the mass media has been presented. A detailed description has been given to the most important conditions of the formation and tolerance manifestation in a multi-ethnic region: state policy and inter-cultural approach to education. The research has indicated that the present state of civil society in the Republic is characterized by the real inter-cultural tolerance being formed under the conditions of multinational diversity of the region due to the sensible politics of the regional government in social sphere, culture and education.

Keywords: diversity, tolerance, state regional policy, edication, intercultural approach

1. Introduction

The terrorist attack against the contributors of Charlie Hebdo magazine in January 2015 which caused a wave of anti-Islamic and pro-Muslim protest actions all over the world revealed an old latent problem. The ideology of multiculturalism has led a modern European society to the severe crisis of principles of their own set-up-secularity, tolerance and freedom of all kinds (Headley, 2012). According to Western analysts, all this makes the problem of possible collision of civilizations prevention quite acute (Cassidy, 2015). Therefore, the analysis of the Russian experience when many ethnic groups and religions have been coexisting peacefully for many centuries is of great value.

The objective of the article is to study the conditions under which tolerance is formed and manifested in a multi-ethnic region. The subject of the research is diversity and tolerance of civil society of the Republic of Mari El as one of the multi-ethnic regions in Russia.

The Mari El Republic is the national Republic within the Russian Federation. It is one of subjects the Russian Federation belonging to the Volga Federal District. It is situated in the East European Plain in its eastern part in the Middle Volga Region where the biggest rivers come together-these are the Volga, the Vetluga and the Sura. The length of the Republic from north to south measures 150km, from west to east-275km. The length of the borders exceeds 1200 km. In the north, northeast and east Mari El borders the Kirov Oblast, in the south and southeast-the Republic of Tatarstan and the Chuvash Republic, in the west and northwest-the Nizhny Novgorod Oblast. Such geographical position of the republic has determined its ethnic and cultural diversity. Representatives of more than 100 ethnic groups inhabit the Republic.

The assumption that the present state of civil society in the Republic of Mari El is characterized by a true inter-ethnic tolerance being formed under the conditions of the region's multinational diversity, which has been reached due to the sensible politics of the regional government in social sphere, culture and education, is the hypothesis of the research.

2. Methods

An interdisciplinary (sociology, education, psychology) approach and research design was used, combining qualitative and quantitative research, including the following methods:

1) Analysis of official statistics and results of published sociological research;

2) Survey of policy and local authorities;

3) Questionnaire survey of 200 university students and interviews of 20 experts representing government agencies, public organizations, mass media and education;

4) Theoretical synthesis.

Such design of this research allows exploration of the heterogeneity and the complexity of the national, cultural and religion diversity and tolerance in Mari El Republic as a multi-ethnic region. …

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