International Politics

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 314-333

First online:

Russia and the West: Is there a Values Gap?

  • Stephen WhiteAffiliated withDepartment of Politics, University of Glasgow
  • , Margot LightAffiliated withDepartment of International Relations, London School of Economics
  • , Ian McAllisterAffiliated withResearch School of Social Sciences, Australian National University

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For centuries, Russians have wondered if they are a part of ‘Europe’ and Westerners have questioned whether Russians are ‘European’. Since the collapse of the USSR, economic reform in Russia has followed Western models and good relations with the European Union have been high on Russia's foreign policy agenda. However, EU policy is based on an assumption that Russia will adopt European values. This article investigates whether there is a commitment to common values, or whether there are differences that might put the EU–Russian relationship at risk. Comparing the results of a national representative survey conducted in December 2003 and January 2004 with the findings of a 2001 survey and with European responses to Eurobarometer surveys, the authors find that there are consistent and often substantial differences in values between Russians and their counterparts in EU member countries and that the values gap appears to be widening.


Russia European Union the west civilization values