Gorlova N. I.

Social and Cultural Prerequisites for the Formation of Voluntary Assistance Schemes in Russia P. 27-35.

UDC 364(09)(47+57)

DOI 10.37724/RSU.2020.68.3.003


In the recent decades the issue of volunteerism has become a priority issue of historical research in the sphere of social self-regulation and citizens’ independent activities.

Volunteering practices have been evolving for several centuries. Modern volunteerism is no longer confined to sporadic and incidental measures induced by occasional generosity. Modern volunteering presupposes systematic and well-organized assistance to the needy. The research of social and cultural prerequisites for the evolution of voluntary assistance and voluntary labor maintains that people’s cravings to engage into altruistic behavior appeared long before volunteerism as an organized way to contribute to social good. The tradition of mutual support was treated in Slavic communities as a means to consolidate efforts to ensure common survival. Since the 9th century, voluntary labor has been treated as a traditional means of providing selfless assistance. In the early stages of Russian nationhood, Orthodox Church played a great role in highlighting the significance of altruistic behavior. The research of the phenomenon of voluntary labor and its evolution enables the author to maintain that religious organizations and asceticism are vivid examples of volunteering and predetermine the specific features of volunteering practices in Russia. In the 19th century, volunteering became a part of government initiatives and community initiatives. The article analyzes numerous historical sources to investigate the above-mentioned issues. The author of the article singles out a number of social and historical prerequisites for the genesis and evolution of volunteering. The author analyzes the forms and types of volunteering assistance, assesses spiritual guidelines and behavioral patterns.


charity; altruistic behavior; volunteerism; voluntary labor; voluntary assistance



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