¹ 6 - 2003
Ilyinskaya S.G.

Tolerance and the Strengthening of Ethnocentric Consciousness

The author essays reflecting on and critical rethinking of the tolerance category as the central element of such social and political practice, rather widely spread in the world in recent decades, when it finds itself divorced from the whole comprehensive, and at the same time strict, legal context in which it was assuming its raison d’être within classic liberal theory, and is being “introduced” as a self-sufficient category (legal, too!) based on the idea of collective and, at that, special rights. In the corresponding historical contexts this proves conducive to results opposite to those intended (to intolerance, to social segregation, to the ethnization of consciousness). If, for that matter, in the USA, for instance, such results might at least be regarded as historically inevitable costs of the realization of the declared equality of civil rights, then in the USSR, and especially in Russia after the disintegration of the USSR, the consequences of similar negative processes and the problems they engender, are much more serious. For, to make the long story short, when laying into the foundation of the country’s administrative arrangement the ethnoterritorial principle, the Bolsheviks, thus, institutionalized ethnicity. So, after the disintegration of the Union, ethnicity remained the only functioning institution and became the motive force of the “parade of sovereignties”.