Staunton, February 4 – A new poll released by the Public Opinion Foundation reports that Russians have a significantly better opinion of their security services now than they did earlier and that half would like to see their children pursue a career in these organs, a reflection of both upbeat media coverage of them and Russians’ assessment of the problems Russia faces.
Between 1998 and 2011, the poll says, Russians were almost evenly split in their assessments of the security services, with an average of 35 percent of Russians having a positive view of them and 34 a negative one. Now, the balance is 66 to 12 in their favor (bbc.com/russian/news-42911558).
According to POF expert Grigory Kertman, positive coverage of Russian and Soviet intelligence services have played a role in this shift; but so too has the fact that there have not been any major terrorist attacks inside Russia in recent years, something which people there are inclined to ascribe to the work of the FSB and its partners.
The prestige of work in the organs has risen from 42 percent in 2001 to 69 perecent know, with 45 percent of those polled saying that they would like their offspring to serve in the organs of state security, 16 percent more than made that declaration in 2001. Nonetheless, a third of those polled said they would oppose such a career choice.
Perhaps significantly, more young people (aged 18 to 30) have a positive image of the security police than do those over the age of 60, 76 to 59 percent respectively. While such attitudes could change, they nonetheless for the time being provide a basis of support for the Putin regime.
That is especially true if Russians continue to accept the Kremlin’s portray of Russia as a besieged fortress. In such a situation, sociologist Leonty Byzov says, people believe that the threats to the country come from abroad rather than from within and that the security forces are their first line of defense against them.