Oleg Savelzon

Dr. Yuri Stern, Member of the Israeli parliament, tells about the book and its autor:

The book of Dr. Oleg Savelzon sets forth solutions to the problems of adaptation of Russia and Israel to the radical changes outside and within. The collapse of the old social-economic and political systems has transformed the population of the post-Soviet countries into "immigrants" of a special type. Everything in their lives except the place of residence and language environment has changed drastically, and they have to adapt to a new (still in constant rapid change) reality. Israel, the country of immigrants, altering with each new immigration wave, turns out to be the only modern example of the society in which a significant part of population is solving the problem of adaptation to the unknown reality changing in the course of "absorbing" this new population.

About thirty years ago, Alvin Toffler introduced the notion of "future shock" - a critical situation in which mankind will find itself: the conditions of an ever accelerating rate of change in industry and household, outdating and renewal of information which an individual is not able to cope with. Toffler and his successors search for the possibilities to adapt to future shock in the educational, technological and social spheres. Savelzon proposes another more general deeper approach that consists in the improvement of the decision-making culture which brings about basic transformations in politics, social psychology, etc. The analyzed problem of adjustment to the rapidly changing environment typical of the new immigrants in Israel and their former compatriots in the countries of CIS as if models the problem which will be faced by the whole world in the near future. In view of Savelzon’s theory, creation of efficient adaptation mechanisms is a historical task, a new stage in the development of a democratic society.

The doctrine set forth in this book is based on the results of Savelzon’s many-year research of the decision-making style typical of Russian-Soviet culture. His work on this subject started in the late 80-s in the USSR and continued after his immigration in 1990 at The Israel Institute of Applied Social Research and is now being conducted at Jerusalem College of Technology.

The results of Savelzon were used as a basis for the election campaign of the party "Israel ba-Aliyah" among immigrants from the ex-USSR in the parliament elections of 1996. His research revealed the main factors which determine the decisions of people grown up in Russian-Soviet culture. He analyzed which of these determinants were influenced by the most successful election and advertising campaigns of 1993-1995 in Russia. In each of them, only two or three (every time different - perhaps, intuitively chosen) factors determining the decisions of Russians were used. So, each time numerous important determinants turned out uninvolved. Savelzon proposed building up the election campaign of the party consciously in such a way that, having involved all the important factors, it would be possible to bring potential electors most effectively to making the decision to vote for "Israel ba-Aliyah".

The success of the immigrants’ young party at the election of 1996 upset all the unfavorable predictions based on the surveys conducted before the short but very intensive election campaign of "Israel ba-Aliyah". So, this success was to a great extent stipulated exactly by the efficiency of the campaign. Thereby, the theoretical theses of Savelzon sort of found their empirical approbation and confirmation. If his theory presented in this book is correct also regarding the "disadaptation" crisis experienced by Russia and Israel, work up of an effective answer to the questions faced by Russia and "Russian" Israel is really significant for the whole world. If reforms ensure effective functioning of the population in Russia as well as new immigrants in the Israeli society and economic structure by rationalizing the processes of personal and collective decision-making, it will not be only a social project extremely important for the post-Soviet countries and Israel. It will also be a breakthrough to the XXI century the central point of which will be efficient organization of decision-making processes in the society which is forced to be in a constant process of adaptation to the ever changing conditions of existence.

Savelzon’s conclusions, despite their dryness and analytical character, could possibly be of psychological importance for many educated thoughtful Russians and new immigrants who, so-to-say, lose heart and belief in themselves, in their country, in participating in its political development, in the possibility to make a serious change for the better. If the root of troubles is in concrete deviations from rationality of decision-making by the people raised in the USSR and these deviations of a cultural character can be corrected, a way out of the crisis appears and a program for action is given. On this basis it is possible to transform the world - in Israel, Russia and in the long run - all the rest having created a model of democracy for the future.

To receive the book, it is necessary to send the post address and check for $ 7.
The address of the sending:
Dr. O.Savelzon, Jerusalem College of Technology, st. 21 Havaad Haleumi, POB 16031, Jerusalem 91160, Israel.

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