Intercultural relations in Kabardino-Balkaria: Does integration always lead to subjective well-being?

Alexander N. Tatarko, Zarina Kh. Lepshokova
2016 Psychology in Russia: State of Art  
This article examines intercultural relations in Kabardino-Balkaria. Among a great number of ethnic groups living in Kabardino-Balkaria, Kabardians and Balkars are one of the largest (they are so-called titular ethnic groups). Russians are the second largest of the ethnic groups after Kabardians. We report here the results of an empirical study of the intercultural relations, mutual acculturation, and adaptation of Kabardians and Balkars (N = 285) and Russians (N = 249). Specifically, we
more » ... the relevance of three hypotheses formulated to understand intercultural relations: the multiculturalism hypothesis, the integration hypothesis, and the contact hypothesis. We conducted path analysis in AMOS with two samples: a sample of Russians and a sample of the two main ethnic groups (Kabardians and Balkars), and we further compared the path models with each other. The results revealed significant effects of security, intercultural contacts, multicultural ideology, acculturation strategies, and acculturation expectations on attitudes, life satisfaction, and self-esteem in both samples. These findings partially confirm the three hypotheses in both groups. However, we also identified a regionally specific pattern. We found that, in the Russian sample, the integration strategy was negatively related to wellbeing, while contact with the dominant ethnic group was positively related to well-being. At the same time, in the sample of Kabardians and Balkars, acculturation expectations of integration and assimilation were positively related to well-being. In the article, we discuss these regional specifics. In our study, we sought to verify three hypotheses of intercultural relations (the multiculturalism hypothesis, the integration hypothesis, and the contact hypothesis). republics, each republic has its own particular features of intercultural relations. Thus, the hypotheses can be confirmed only with acknowledgment of certain specific regional characteristics. In this study, we focused on the specific way each of these hypotheses works in the context of intercultural relations in the Kabardino-Balkar Republic (KBR). Kabardino-Balkaria can be viewed as a new context in which to examine these issues. Russians, who are the former Soviet political elite in the Republic, are now in a minority position. In contrast, there has been a growth of ethnic consciousness among the Kabardians and the Balkars, who are the titular population. To begin, we briefly describe the history and specific features of intercultural relations between Russians and the titular ethnic groups in the KBR. The context of the intercultural relations of Russians and the titular ethnic groups in the Kabardino-Balkar Republic Kabardino-Balkaria was formed in 1922 as an autonomous oblast by merging the Kabardian autonomous region and the Balkar region of the Mountain Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. The Russian population of these regions was involved in this process too. Since then, in Kabardino-Balkaria the principle of parity has been accepted by each side. The principle of parity means equal representation of Kabardians, Russians, and Balkars in the government structures of the Republic (Akkiyeva, 1999) . Nowadays the Kabardino-Balkar Republic (KBR) is a part of the North Caucasian Federal District of the Russian Federation. The Russian population is the second largest after the Kabardians. Although both Russians and Balkars have an essential impact on the Republic, Kabardians are the most influential. It is important to note that Kabardians and Balkars are Sunni Muslims and the Russians are Orthodox Christians. Russians have been living in the KBR for several generations. However, the outflow of the Russian population from the region has been increasing. From 1989 to 2010 the Russian population in the KBR decreased from 31.9% to 22.5% (Vsesoyuznaya ..., 2015; Itogi ... 2010 Itogi ... , 2012 . A survey conducted in 2007 among Russians in Kabardino-Balkaria (N = 520) revealed that every fourth Russian would like to leave the Republic. More than one-third (37%) of the people aged 18-24 years intended to leave (Akkiyeva, 2013) . Dzadziev (1999) claims that the main reasons for the Russian population outflow were socioeconomic and ethnopolitical factors. The replacement of qualified Russian specialists by specialists from the titular ethnic groups of the North Caucasus republics was the most important socioeconomic factor. In the period before and after II World War, Russians were brought to the Republic to set up the industry sector, and qualified workers among the titular ethnic groups were trained at this time. As a result, qualified workers from these groups displaced Russian workers. At the same time, an increase in interethnic tension between the titular ethnic groups and the Russian population, caused by the process of "sovereignization" 1 (Dzadziev, 1999) , was the most impor-1 Sovereignization is defined as the aspiration to achieve independence and the process for doing so. Intercultural relations in Kabardino-Balkaria... 59
doi:10.11621/pir.2016.0104 fatcat:oislq47tdrbn7dbarajprlwd7m