Thursday, November 8, 2018

More than One Russian in Nine Now Favors Using Force to Disperse Unsanctioned Meetings, Poll Finds

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 7 – A new survey conducted by the Public Verdict Foundation finds that one Russian in nine (12 percent) now favors using force to disperse any unsanctioned meeting, a number that is large or small depending on one’s perspective. It also found Russians are increasingly tolerant of the use of force by officials in a variety of specific circumstances.

            The survey, which was conducted with the assistance of experts from the Moscow Institute of Sociology, asked about the use of force by officials in a variety of specific circumstances and concluded that the share of those backing such force has risen five to six percent in the last year (

                Forty-three percent of Russians questioned considered that the police had the right to use force to stop a robbery, 42 percent to deal with maniacs and their actions, and 69 percent said doctors in psychiatric hospitals were justified in using force in order to maintain order in the wards, according to the survey. 

Further, 24 percent considered torturing those accused of group murder justified, and 11 percent considered the use of force against prisoners who refuse to go to work necessary. Many of those interviewed said that using force against prisoners was all right because such people “are not in a sanitarium but in jail.”
Denis Volkov of the Levada Center observes that “a majority of Russians” are against the use of force in principle but are prepared to support it in particular cases, a reflection of the more general pattern of considering any such use in isolation from the general pattern in society as a whole.
People with higher education and foreign passports somewhat more often than the others oppose such violations of the law, but younger people and especially young men are more inclined to approve the use of force by the militia and other siloviki in a variety of circumstances, the survey found. 
There is insufficient data to conclude whether this rising generation will retain these attitudes as its members grow older or whether they will drop their youthful enthusiasm for violence in favor of  a more law-based public order. 

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