Staunton, July 1 – Many Russians “genuinely support the actions and lies of Putin” because as Moscow’s propaganda machine suggests, he is a guy willing to use force to stand up to America and defend the national interests of the country, according to Lev Gudkov, the head of the Levada Center.
They recognize only “very poorly” that there is a direct cause and effect connection between the policies of Putin and “the worsening of [their] lives and standard of living,” he says, because his propagandists have done everything they can to shift the blame to others – the West, declines in oil prices, or lower-ranking officials (nv.ua/opinion/Gudkov/pochemu-rossiyane-veryat-chto-putin-vse-delaet-pravilno--56976.html).
And consequently, the majority of them are currently not prepared to recognize themselves or to tolerate suggestions from others that Putin is a most odious person, “the head of a corrupt mafia-style state,” and thus responsible for their problems. Unfortunately, Gudkov says, there is little prospect that is going to change anytime soon.
There is no alternative to Putin up to now, he says, and “people will not participate in elections because they do not see the sense of taking part in the political process. More than that, they are afraid and get angry at those who are brave enough to contradict the leadership of the country, thus transferring to them their own feelings of inadequacy, dependence, and opportunism, and transforming these things into aggression against ‘disturbers of the peace.’”
“This is a powerful mechanism of conformism,” the sociologist continues, and he says that he “still does not see any social force which could change the situation. Without access to the mass media by the opposition or even those who are dissatisfied … and the possibility of presenting their views, programs and comments on the adventurist policy of the authorities, there is little likelihood that any other views, ideas and motives will appear among the population.”