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Kirill Zhirkov

Associate Researcher

E-mail: k.zhirkov@gmail.com

CV| Personal page

Education and academic positions:

  • 2010 – 2011 - Master of Arts (M. A.), European University at St. Petersburg, Department of Political Science and Sociology;
  • 2008 – 2010 - Master of Science (MSc), Utrecht University, the Netherlands, Graduate School of Social and Behavioral Sciences;
  • 2003 – 2008 - Specialist (Economist), St. Petersburg State University, Department of Economics.

Academic interests: political radicalism, social sciences methodology, social and political psychology, electoral behavior

Research projects:

  • Looking for a Universal Measure of Religiosity: A Latent Variable Approach  (with Ronald Inglehart; 2013-2014)
  • Immigration as a Dimension of Electoral Competition in Scandinavia  (2013-2014)
  • Is Muslims’ Anti-Americanism Unique? Evidence from Cross-National Survey Data (2012-2013)
  • Development, culture, and hostility to America: A study on the country-level predictors of anti-Americanism (2011-2012)
  • Nationalism, ethnic and political: Factors of Tatar nationalism in the republics of the Volga-Urals region of Russia (with Eduard Ponarin; 2010-2012)
  • Nativist but not Alienated:A Comparative Perspective on the Radical Right Vote in Western Europe (2011-2012)

Looking for a Universal Measure of Religiosity: A Latent Variable Approach (with Ronald Inglehart; ongoing)

The research project aims to conduct a cross-cultural analysis of religiosity and its determinants using the method of multilevel structural equation modeling. Project’s theoretical framework is based on the works of Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris who link a level of religiosity in a given society to both cultural heritage and socioeconomic development. In the project I plan to address several theoretical and methodological problems related to the cross-cultural analysis of religiosity. By now I managed to get first empirical results, namelyI tested the measurement part of the model based on confirmatory factor analysis. Further work on the project will include expansion of the model and attempt to disentangle individual and societal factors influencing religiosity in different cultural zones.

Immigration as a Dimension of Electoral Competition in Scandinavia (ongoing)

In the study I use spatial voting model to assess the importance of the left-right and immigration issue dimensions on electoral behavior in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. My findings indicate that distances between parties and voters on both left-right and immigration dimensions do significantly influence voting choice in all three countries, although effect of the latter is substantially lower. I also demonstrate that voting for the niche parties, and especially for the radical right, is much stronger related to the immigration issue than voting for the mainstream parties, both center-left and center-right ones. Finally, my analysis demonstrates that positional spatial voting model shows a good degree of stability even under imperfect measurement of policy preferences.

Development, Culture, and Hostility to America: A Study on the Country-Level Predictors of Anti-Americanism (completed)

Within the present study survey data from 45 countries are examined by the means of factor and regression analyses in order to understand the nature and causes of anti-Americanism.  Empirical results reveal the existence of general and political forms of anti-Americanism as two theoretically and empirically distinct phenomena.  The former concerns negative attitudes to the U.S., Americans, and spread of American values, while the latter is related to criticism of American foreign policy.  The two forms also differ in their relationships to socioeconomic development: General anti-Americanism is most widespread in countries with average levels of HDI, whereas political anti-Americanism is stronger in the most developed societies.  It was also found that Muslim societies are characterized by higher levels of general anti-Americanism.  This association needs further explanation as regression results indicate that it cannot be attributed to conservative social values or authoritarian political regimes.

Research Progress:

Is Muslims’ Anti-Americanism Unique? Evidence from Cross-National Survey Data (completed)

Within the present study I use large-scale cross-national survey data and multilevel regression analysis to address the driving forces behind popular anti-Americanism with emphasis on Muslim populations.  In the theoretical part of the paper I formulate several testable hypothesis derived from both “clash of civilizations” framework and alternative approaches to the issue of anti-Americanism.  Empirical analysis provides with a number of important findings.  First, Muslim respondents appear to be more anti-American than non-Muslims even if other potential factors are also taken into account.  Second, political predictors of anti-Americanism are substantially more powerful than cultural ones in terms of their effect sizes.  Third, my results indicate that general, cultural, and political forms of anti-Americanism have largely similar predictors on the individual level.  Opposition to war in Iraq is found to be the strongest predictor of anti-Americanism for both Muslim and non-Muslim respondents.  Overall, my findings do not make a decisive argument in the debate on anti-Americanism suggesting that the latter is caused by both cultural and political factors.

Research progress: 

Nationalism, Ethnic and Political: Factors of Tatar Nationalism in the Republics of the Volga-Urals Region of Russia (with Eduard Ponarin; completed)

The project addresses the issue of relationship between ethnic and political nationalism in the Volga-Urals region of Russian Federation. One of the factors which can possibly influence the connection between the two forms of nationalism is the institutional design of federation assuming the presence of titular groups within the national republics. With the example of Tatar populations of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan it is investigated whether titular and nontitular groups differ in the levels of nationalist attitudes as well as in the factors of their development. In the study we analyze the characteristic for the institutional design of federation in Russia and highlight the historical factors which shaped its development. We also recapitulate the history of Tatar nationalism since the Russian conquest of Volga-Urals region till the present time. Then using the data of mass surveys conducted in years 2005 and 2011 in Tatarstan and Bashkortostan we conduct the statistical analysis. The results indicate the presence of a coherent pattern of Tatar nationalism within the Volga-Urals region and its relative prevalence. However, the explanatory factors of Tatar nationalism in the two republics and in the two chosen time points differ. Finally, we make some conclusions regarding the potential of nationalist movement within the Volga-Urals region.

Nativist but not Alienated: A Comparative Perspective on the Radical Right Vote in Western Europe (completed)

In the present study I use large-scale survey data to compare radical right voting to other forms of electoral behavior in Western Europe.The chosen method, multilevel multinomial logistic regression, allows, first, distinguishing among voting for several party families as well as abstention and, second, controlling for differences between countries and survey rounds.I find that the radical right electorate is not characterized by social alienation or anti-modern values; these characteristics are more likely to be encountered among people who abstain from elections.Radical right voting is most strongly motivated by political attitudes, namely by negative perception of immigration, political mistrust, opposition to income redistribution, and—rather unexpectedly—political satisfaction.My analysis also shows that radical right parties in different West European countries attract voters with similar ideological orientations which remain relatively stable over time.In the conclusion I discuss implications of my findings for comparative research on the radical right party family.

Other presentations:

Selected publications:

  • Zhirkov, K. (2014) Development, culture, and attitudes to America: country-level predictors of anti-Americanism" // Working papers by NRU Higher School of Economics. Series SOC "Sociology". 2013. No. WP BRP 35/SOC/2014 Read online
  • Zhirkov, K. (2013) Nativist but not alienated A comparative perspective on the radical right vote in Western Europe // Party Politics, December 16, 2013 , doi: 10.1177/1354068813511379 Read online
  • Ponarin E. and Zhirkov K. (2013). Political and Ethnic Nationalism: Institutional Factors of Tatar Nationalism in the Volga-Ural Region // Mir Rossii (The World of Russia), 3, 2013, pp. 152-177. (In Russian)
  • Zhirkov, K., Verkuyten, M., & Weesie, J. (2013). Perceptions of world politics and support for terrorism among Muslims: Evidence from Muslim countries and Western Europe // Conflict Management and Peace Science , 0738894213510121. Read online


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