Staunton, August 8 – If all other conditions remain the same, Kirill Rogov says, extrapolating from the latest Levada Center polls about attitudes toward demonstrations in Moscow suggests that as many as 50,000 young Russians are likely to take part in protests there next month, a projection that helps explain the alarmed reaction of the authorities now.
The Moscow political analyst draws that conclusion on the basis of a step-by-step analysis of the latest Levada Center poll (facebook.com/kirill.rogov.39/posts/3212736938743904 reposted at newizv.ru/article/general/08-08-2019/tsifra-dnya-kakoy-protsent-molodezhi-gotov-uchastvovat-v-protestnyh-aktsiyah).
First, he says, the Levada Center poll shows that young people in the capital are paying much closer attention to the protests than their elders with 43 percent saying they are doing so rather than 29 percent of the others. Second, people between the ages of 18 and 24 are far more sympathetic and less opposed (55 percent as against 9 percent) than their elders (37 and 27).
Third, Rogov continues, young people are getting their news about the protests and other events from the Internet rather than state channels, with 70 percent of those aged 18 to 39 in the capital doing so, making Moscow “the city in which the Internet has won.”
Fourth, young people in the capital may be relatively few, seven percent, according to the official figures Levada relies on; but fifth, that percentage still works out to 500,000. If as the polls suggest, 10 percent of these are ready to protest, that works out to 50,000 demonstrators. And sixth, this calculation he has made, Rogov says, has also been made by the authorities.
It explains why the powers that be have reacted so harshly to the demonstrations in August and why threats of expelling students from higher educational institutions and being drafted “will only grow in the weeks remaining” during the campaign leading up to the September voting.
“But there is another side” to this, Rogov says, one the Kremlin doesn’t appear to have factored in. After September 8, complaints about blocking candidates will certainly ebb; but the actions of the authorities to prevent demonstrations now will help power more protests even after that date.