Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. James Butterfield

Second Advisor

Dr. Emily Hauptmann

Third Advisor

Dr. Vyscheslav G. Karpov


Post-Communist countries are unique in the sense that they are undergoing not a single, but multiple transitions. The extent of social change underway inthis region is truly monumental and researchers are faced with the daunting task of studying the extent of this transformation. Change is most evident when one studies formal institutions. But lies beneath, on the level of value orientations? The answer to this question helps us understand the real progress of post-Communist countries towards the goals of their transitions.

What were the political, ideological, economic, foreign policy, and ethnic relations attitudes of the post-Communist Russian and Polish elites and publics, and were there any changes? Were original liberal attitudes on both the elite and the popular levels replaced by organic-statist/conservative orientations? What werethe areas of consensus and disjunction between the elites and the publics? The project traces the relationship between the elite and publics' attitudes along five issue domains, cross-culturally and over the entire post-Communist period. This is the first study of its kind.

This dissertation uses both quantitative (statistical analysis and an extensive review of public opinion data collected by Russian and Polish national polling organizations) and qualitative (content analysis of public statements of Russian and Polish government-affiliated intellectuals) methods. Comparison between elite and public attitudes shows values that are shared by both post-Communist governments and the general populations, and exposes motivationsof post-Communist decision-makers.

I find that organic-statist evolution of the Russian elite's value orientations is incomplete; some original liberal elements survived. Likewise, the organic-statist shift in public opinion was not absolute; there remains considerable popular support for political democracy and pro-Western foreign policy. In Poland, both theelite and the public consistently supported modified liberal values.

The Russian elite and the general population agree on organic-statist values, as only politically authoritarian, ideologically conservative, anti-Western, and nationalistic preferences are found on both the elite and the popular levels. In Poland, inclusive democratic, ideologically mixed, moderately etatist, and pro-Western attitudes (i.e., moderately liberal value orientations) are shared by both the elite and the population at large.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access