Staunton, September 9 – The share of Russians who think that their country is becoming more authoritarian or a dictatorship has risen from nine percent in 2015 to 17 percent now, according to Levada Center polls. At the same time, the portion who believe that the country suffers from a loss of order has gone up over the same period from 28 percent to 38 percent.
At the same time, the share which says that Moscow is restoring pre-Perestroika arrangments has risen from nine percent to 12 percent, while those who suggest that the Kremlin is pursuing “the development of democracy has fallen from 32 percent five years ago to 22 percent now (levada.ru/2020/09/08/predstavleniya-o-politicheskoj-sisteme/).
In presenting these results on the Levada Center web page, director Lev Gudkov stresses that “there is no unifying idea about the character of social-political processes which are taking place in the country.” Instead, fractions of less than half are committed to very different points of view.
But some trends are noteworthy, he continues. “The formation of the Putin regime was accompanied not only by the growth of economic well-being but by a spread of the significance of the view that this system is ‘a democracy.’” Now, ever fewer people accept that idea and instead view it as something less desirable.
At the same time and perhaps equally important, the poll shows that Russians do not accept the Kremlin’s argument that difficulties require a more authoritarian state. Instead, its findings suggest that they view the move away from democracy and attending to the views of the people is making Russia less stable not more.