Staunton, July 9 – Vladimir Putin has associated with and promoted conservative values, including adding amendments to the Russian constitution mentioning God and defining marriage as between a man and a woman. But a new poll by the VTsIOM survey center finds that in critical ways, Russians are moving in a different direction.
Compared to a decade ago, Russians are positively inclined toward marriages with residents of other locations and more supportive of marriages between people of different religions or nationalities as well as of second marriages and the involvement in new marriages of children from earlier ones (wciom.ru/index.php?id=236&uid=10362).
Over the last decade, the poll found, Russians became less negative to the idea of marriages between people of different faiths: 48 percent had a negative view of that in 2010 but only 30 percent do now. They have become less negative about the inclusion of children from earlier marriages: 34 percent were against that in 2010; now, only 17 percent do.
Russians were also less negative about the contracting of marriages between people of different nationalities: 34 percent didn’t approve those in 2010; but now only 19 percent are against them. And while 29 percent had a negative view of remarriage a decade ago, now only 16 percent do.
Russians today are more approving of marriages involving children from previous marriages, with 22 percent approving them, up from 13 percent in 2010 and also of marriages among people of different nationalities, with 21 percent saying now they have no problems with that compared to only 10 percent ten years ago.
And Russians were increasingly neutral, that is, neither supportive nor opposed, to marriages between people of different religious faiths, with 54 percent now saying they are indifferent to this issue compared to 37 percent in 2010. The only measure where there was little change concerns attitudes toward marriages among people of radically different age groups.
A third – 36 percent – currently have a negative view of such unions, down only slightly from the 42 percent in 2010.
Both the size and the direction of change on most of these members underscore that Russian society is changing and changing ever more in a direction different than the one Putin puts forward as the only acceptable one. This divergence is likely to have ever more important political consequences in the coming years.