Staunton, August 2 – Pro-Kremlin commentators celebrated today when the VTsIOM polling agency reported (wciom.ru/index.php?id=236&uid=9831)that 69 percent of Russians backed the idea police should use harsh measures against proteters who break the law and only slightly fewer the idea that the authorities shouldn’t register those who violate the rules (e.g., stoletie.ru/lenta/pochti_70_rossijan_podderzhivajut_zhostkije_mery_vlastej_na_nezakonnyh_akcijah_641.htm
These figures were trumpeted as evidence of support for Putin’s hard line (e.g., stoletie.ru/lenta/pochti_70_rossijan_podderzhivajut_zhostkije_mery_vlastej_na_nezakonnyh_akcijah_641.htmbut a careful analysis of the actual reports of the poll showed that the sociologists had asked leading questions in order to get the results the powers that be wanted.
However, it didn’t take long for analysts to show that these figures were collected in ways inconsistent with polling norms and had been manufactured by the polling agency to give its clients exactly what they wanted to hear (thinktanks.by/publication/2019/08/02/opros-33-moskvichey-schitayut-otvetstvennymi-za-zaderzhaniya-na-mitingah-samih-zaderzhannyh.html, rosbalt.ru/blogs/2019/08/02/1795326.htmlehorussia.com/new/node/19022
VTsIOM has been lying since 2003, he says, the year Yury Levada was replaced by Valery Fedorov. The latter’s agency has often been caught in the act, including most notoriously when the Kremlin complained about its ratings of Putin and Fedorov changed them almost instantly.
At the present time, the commentator continues, “VTsIOM often fulfills the functions of a sociological special forces unit.” Recently, for example, its sociologists polled residents of Yekaterinburg about where a new cathedral should be without including among the possible answers that no church should be built in the central square.
“But all that was bug a prelude to the development which took place today. Along with the change of Kremlin policy in the direction of tougher measures, the status of its servants is changing as well. VTsIOM has been transformed from a PR and political technology company into a pogrom organization, that is, a body which serves those who carry out pogroms.”
As Yakovenko suggests, “it is one thing to manipulate public opinion about the construction of a church or the ratings of the president. But it is quite another when one is speaking about slander on people being beaten … Putinism has given birth to many disgusting phenomena like ‘sovereign democracy’ and ‘the policy of forcing others to peace.’”
But now it has exceeded even its past “achievements.” It has established “’pogrom sociology’” in the form of VTsIOM and other pollsters who are ready to take money and orders from the Kremlin and to provide it with the “correct” answers that may affect the lives and wellbeing of Russians.