Thursday, February 9, 2017

Russians in Smaller Cities More Prepared to Protest than Those in Moscow, Sociologist Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 9 – “Despite the widespread opinion about the concentration of civic activity in the megalopolises,” Irina Trofimova says, Russians who live in small urban centers, called “settlements of an urban type,” are more inclined to engage in protests than are those in Moscow or St. Petersburg.

            Moreover, the Institute of Sociology researcher says, residents of those smaller urban center “show a more critical attitude toward the authorities and their policies” than do Muscovites or St. Petersburgers, the result of the extreme difficulties people in these smaller places have been subjected to in recent years.

            Trofimova’s study, “The Defense of Rights and a Just Society in the Imaginations of Russians” is available online at and was summarized today by Pavel Pryanikov in his Tolkovatel blog atбольше-всего-активных-борцов-за-свои-п/..

            Among her key findings, Pryanikov says, are the following:

·         Those ready to take an active part in struggling for their rights are disproportionately young, educated, well-off and self-identified as members of a higher social stratum.

·         Non-Russians are somewhat more likely to say they are ready to take part in demonstrations to defend their rights than are ethnic Russians, 75 percent as against 64 percent.

·         Students are the most likely to say they are ready to protest (82 percent) followed by government employees (79 percent), bankers (75 percent), and employees of the force structures (60 percent).

·         Just over half of Trofimova’s sample say that living in a more just society is important to them. Seventy-percent say that having a higher income is part of that. “The importance of a more just and wisely arranged society is found most often among residents of centers of an urban type [smaller cities] (62 percent) and least among residents of the megalopolises (47 percent).”

·         The overall willingness of Russians to protest on behalf of their social and economic rights “is not great.” Only six percent say they are “unqualifiedly ready” to do so with another 26 percent saying that they are more inclined than not. Sixty-eight percent say they aren’t ready to take part in meetings to defend their rights.

·         In part this reflects Russian assessments of their ability to influence government decisions. Only 12 percent think they have a chance to do so; 71 percent say they don’t.

·         As for more radical steps to defend their rights are concerned, few Russians are prepared to say they would ever use them. Only three percent allow for participation in armed resistance, and only two percent are ready to turn to criminal groups to help protect their rights.

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