Staunton, December 21 – A new poll conducted by the Levada Center shows that great power attitudes have reached a historic maximum in Russia, but it also shows that most of the growth in great power attitudes among Russians occurred not under Vladimir Putin but rather under Boris Yeltsin.
In April 1992, only 13 percent of Russians believed that their nation is “a great nation having a special role in world history; while 80 percent said that the Russian nation was one nation among others. By March 1999, the polling agency said, those figures had shifted to 57 and 26 percent respectively.
Now in a new poll, they have shifted again but in a far smaller amount to 64 percent who believe the Russian nation has a special role and 32 percent who think it is a nation like others, Elena Mukhametshina of Vedomosti reports (vedomosti.ru/politics/articles/2017/12/21/746009-velikoderzhavnie-nastroeniya).
The latest poll also found the share of Russians who say Russia is a great power has reached a historic maximum of 72 percent, up from 64 percent last year. But it also found only 17 percent associate the people with the state, down from 26 percent in 2016. 83 percent said they were proud that they lived in Russia, while 67 percent said they were proud of their country.
Levada’s Karina Pipiya says that these results are “an echo of the post-Crimean mobilization” but that to a large extent “the active phase of ‘the struggle with enemies’ has passed.” Nonetheless, while Russians continue to have a positive view of their president, they link themselves more often to the nation than to the state.
According to the sociologist, “the growth of great power attitudes can be considered as a reaction to the ‘unjust,’ ‘anti-Russian’ policy of the countries of the West which has consolidated public opinion” in Russia. “Such defensive nationalism as a rule always leads to a consolidation around a historical-cultural core which in the Russian case is the notion of ‘a special path.’”
Feeling abused by others, political analyst Aleksey Makarkin adds, Russians have compensated “with dreams about a great future. After Crimea, these feelings intensified. Now, however, the emotions have already receded but the underlying attitudes very much remain in place.”
And that means, he continues, that “even in the case of the growth of protest attitudes and demands on the authorities, the imperial attitudes will remain” and define how Russians view themselves and others, something many liberals are likely to find horrifying (tsargrad.tv/articles/russkie-prosnulis-liberaly-v-uzhase-ot-dannyh-socoprosov_101853).