The Next Generation in Russia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan: Youth, Politics, Identity, and Change

This Tuesday, Nadia Diuk, Vice President of the National Endowment for Democracy, hosted a panel discussion concerning her book and the topics addressed therein. Also featured was Sharon Wolchik, Professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, and Marc Plattner, who moderated the discussion. Diuk’s book studies the role of youth in politics in Russia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan, through public opinion polling in 2003 and 2009 of youth between the ages of 18-35 and interviews with young leaders, analyzed from a historical perspective.

The public polling of a sample size of 500, which the author took at face value, ignoring error margins, provided the major sociological basis for the book, along with the interviews and her personal experience in the regions. The polls conducted targeted mainly middle-class urban youth and assumed that rural youth interested in politics would have migrated into the cities. From the results of the polls, the author concluded that Ukrainian youth has much stronger anti-establishment ideas than the youth of Russia and Azerbaijan, which, during the panel, she attributed to a lack of cohesive Ukrainian history. She also concluded from the polls that Azerbaijani youth are mostly secular, and that young Azerbaijanis and Russians have a strong sense of patriotism and faith in their leaders. However, she left many details up for panel debate.

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