Value orientation and national identity in Russia: A media effect study on the Holocaust documentary “Night and Fog”
(University of Vienna, Austria)
ABSTRACT: After the disintegration of the USSR, nation states formed which until today struggle for value orientation and collective identities. Especially the Russian identity seems heterogeneous and partially correlating with in-group vs. out-group stereotypes. The question arises how historical media communications can shape values and identity in Russia. In particular the breach of civilization by the Holocaust, as central element of European memory culture, offers manifold references. Guiding the research is the model of ‘Multidimensional-Imparting-of-History’ (MIH) which includes empirical indices of (humanitarian) values, national identity as well as European and Asian identification. A media effect experiment carried out with young Russian subjects (Moscow, 2012, N = 192) shows that the reception of a Holocaust documentary has limited humanizing effects. Identity-building was ambivalent. Apart from a partial increase in nationalistic attitudes, there was predominantly an increase in cosmopolitism. The findings in Russia are compared with results of similar studies in Austria, Germany and Israel.