A society’s commitment to gender equality and sexual liberalization proves time and again to be the most reliable indicator of how strongly that society supports principles of tolerance and egalitarianism. But how can citizens, socialized by authoritarian regimes in quintessentially authoritarian cultures, in societies, where sexual freedom was persecuted and even one is prohibited by law, learn to be loyal to these phenomena and gain sexual liberalization values?

Two theories dominate: cultural theories of learning emphasize the importance of early life socialization. Individuals in authoritarian societies are taught, virtually from birth, to embrace attitudes, values of society. Institutional theories, by contrast, emphasize adult experiences or “relearning” based on individuals’ rational assessments of “the net present value” of contemporary institutions and circumstances.

Researchers who held cultural theories anticipated that it would take decades or longer to adopt values of sexual liberalization in Russia. Institutional theories held that Russians would rapidly adapt to the social norms of sexual liberalization. This research tests these competing perspectives using data of forth waves of WVS (1990, 1999, 2005, 2011) and Age-Period-Cohort analysis.

Keywords: modernization, liberalization, sexual values, generational differences, cohort analysis.