Satisfaction and the Wrong Track

Two articles from Interfax  and Vedomosti enlightens the attitude of Russians towards development in the economy. 55 % of the Russian population is not satisfied with the current situation in Russia. However, respondents don’t connect their dissatisfaction with President Putin, although they admit that he and his administration have the most influence over Russia. President Putin’s support rating is still around 85% according to polls. This is a known phenomena from other authoritarian regimes. “If Hitler only knew ….” was a common comment among Germans living in the Third Reich – all bad came from his subordinates, but the leader himself had only good intentions.

Half Of Russians See Economic Situation As Satisfactory

MOSCOW. July 20 (Interfax) – About half of Russians consider the condition of the Russian economy as satisfactory but do not personally feel the results of the high economic growth, a sociological poll has found.

The Public Opinion Foundation concluded following a poll of 1,500 respondents in 100 communities in 44 regions of Russia on July 14-15 that 49% of Russians view the condition of the country’s economy as satisfactory, 27% as bad, 8% as good, and 16% were undecided.

The poll also found that 42% of Russians had not seen virtually any changes in the economic situation in the country over the previous year, 33% felt it had improved, 11% were sure it had worsened, and 14% were undecided.

It is the hope of 31% of the respondents that the economic situation in Russia should improve in 2008, 28% do not expect any changes, 8% said it would worsen, and 33% found it difficult to predict how the economy would perform next year.

Some 57% of Russians have encountered media reports on high economic growth in the country over the previous several months (41% of them frequently and 16% rarely).

Another 31% had not seen or heard such information.

The poll showed, however, that only 21% of Russians agree that economic growth in Russia is high indeed, 50% do not share this viewpoint, and 29% were undecided.

In the view of 35% of Russians, the government influences the economic situation in the country positively, 28% believe it has no impact on it, 12% said the government has a negative effect, and 25% had no opinion on the issue.

The poll also showed that 32% of Russians are sure that the financial condition of the average Russian had improved over the previous year, 17% said it had worsened, 40% did not notice any changes, and 12% were undecided.

 

THE WRONG TRACK

Vedomosti July 23, 2007.  The people are not satisfied with the government.  Opinion poll: is Russia heading in the right direction? [In a recent poll done by the Levada Center, a third of respondents say that Russia is developing in the wrong direction, and most are dissatisfied with the current situation in Russia. Analysts conclude that demand for change and social justice is building up in our society.]

In a recent poll done by the Levada Center, a third of respondents say that Russia is developing in the wrong direction, and most are dissatisfied with the current situation in Russia. Analysts conclude that demand for change and social justice is building up in our society, and this is precisely what the electorate will demand from Putin’s successor.

The Levada Center’s poll focused on finding out whether Russiais on the right track. Almost 50% of respondents say that it is; 30.5% don’t support the chosen course of development, and 20% are uncertain.

The poll was done on July 13-16, 2007, approaching 1,600 citizens aged 18 and over. Margin of error: no more than 3%.

Most respondents (55.5%) say they are not satisfied with the current situation in Russia; 42% say they are satisfied. Almost 38% are satisfied with the federal government’s economic policy course, while 57% disapprove of it.

Respondents don’t connect their dissatisfaction with President Putin, although they admit that he and his administration have the most influence over Russia. President Putin’s support rating (85%)has almost matched its record high (86%), seen in late 2003 in thelead-up to the last presidential election.

Senior deputy prime ministers Dmitri Medvedev and Sergei Ivanovalso get some praise: their performance approval scores are 57% and 63% respectively. But opinions of the government’s performance are divided: 47% approval, 50% disapproval.

Alexei Grazhdankin, deputy director of the Levada Center, notes that the figures for “on the right track” responses and confidence in the president are correlated. But while respondents connect the national development course with the government, the president iss een as a symbol, more removed from daily life.

In the last years of the Yeltsin era, only 8% of respondentssaid that Russia was on the right track – but this figure had risen to 30% by the time of Putin’s first election campaign. Satisfaction with Russia’s chosen course reached 50-55% in 2003, then declined. This indicator dropped to 30% in 2005, when social benefits were monetized; a rise in approval started from June 2006. Putin’s rating has also fluctuated: 31% in 1999, 86% by late 2003. With another election coming up, his popularity is peaking again, says Grazhdankin.

Leontii Byzov, an analyst from the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), confirms that there’s a gap of 10-12% between those who say we are on the right track and those who say we have made the wrong choice. According to Byzov, before 2003 there was a drastic upswing in support for the idea that Russia is on theright track (60%), but then this indicator stalled and started to decline.

Byzov points out that social optimism has been declining in the last year or two, while anxiety has been rising. According to Byzov, two sources of tension are the Stabilization Fund (ordinary citizens aren’t seeing any benefits from rising oil prices) and the low effectiveness of the national projects. All the same, citizens aren’t blaming any particular individuals – other than three ministers: Mikhail Zurabov, Alexei Kudrin, and Herman Gref. Inc ontrast, Sergei Ivanov and Dmitri Medvedev are getting a share of Putin’s popularity.

Political analyst Dmitri Badovsky agrees that this reflects Ivanov and Medvedev’s potential successor status rather than their performance results. In his view, the level of uncertainty andd issatisfaction with the policy course indicates that “incantations about stability” aren’t meeting demand; people are disoriented, uncertain about what tomorrow will bring, and wanting some changes in the direction of social justice. However, according to Badovsky, all grievances will be addressed to Putin’s successor, not Putin himself; the successor has yet to build up his credibility.

Author: Kira Latukhina 

Translated by Elena Leonova

 

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