DOI: 10.18413/2408-9338-2022-8-3-0-9

Fears of Russian students in a situation of social uncertainty (spring 2022)

The article is devoted to the analysis of the repertoire of Russian students’ fears in four Russian regions in the context of the spring events of 2022. The usual and new aspects of fears and anxiety are described, as well as their regional differences due to the event context and territorial proximity/remoteness from the arena of a special military operation. Empirical data were collected among students of 1-4 full-time courses of study in economic, social and humanitarian areas of training in the Sverdlovsk, Tyumen, Rostov and Belgorod regions from 03/10/2022 to 03/15/2022. The study used the method of group focused interviews (8 focus groups). In the course of qualitative data analysis, axial and thematic coding procedures were implemented. It was revealed that the structure of the dominant elements in the repertoire of fears is preserved in all analyzed regions (fear of illness of relatives and friends, war, one’s own illness and loss of working capacity, arbitrariness on the part of the authorities, poverty), however, for students of the Urals and Siberia, the fear of illness of relatives is in the first place, while in the border regions the first position is occupied by the fear of war. It was revealed that the external environmental factors of the border areas affect the strengthening of fears: the closer and more real the threat is, the sharper and more specific the students' fears are. Socio-psychological tension is caused by diffuse, natural fears for the life, health and well-being of loved ones, one's own social future, the future of the country and the world, which, under the influence of a situation of uncertainty, acquire concreteness and menacing acuteness. New aspects in the palette of fears are associated with economic, political, cultural changes in the country and the world, and, first of all, with manifestations of the "cancel culture". Its economic aspect is due to the total and long-term economic sanctions against the Russian Federation, which caused a surge in economic fears, the need to cope with which will require serious changes in the economic consciousness and behavior of young people. The political aspect of cancel culture is associated among students with growing fears about the external political isolation of Russia and alienation from various forms of political activity within the country. The socio-cultural aspect of the cancellation phenomenon manifested itself in new types of fears of the cultural isolation of Russia as a whole, reduced access to familiar social networks and services, limited student cultural, scientific, educational exchanges and educational opportunities abroad.

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