Staunton, April 30 – Only 49 percent of Russians plan to do anything special to mark the May Day holiday this year, according to a new Levada Center poll. Not only is this the lowest number over the last 15 years, but it is an indication of the larger pattern of depoliticization of Russians as a result of the economic crisis and the government’s inability to do much about it.
In 2002, 69 percent of Russians said they would mark the May Day holiday. But perhaps more important, it reports that only 15 percent say they would like to participate in demonstrations in support of the president and government while ten percent indicate they are ready to do so against the policies of the powers (news.mail.ru/society/29594870/).
May Day, one of the most important holidays in Soviet times, has declined in importance since 1991 and is now easily eclipsed by commemorations of Victory Day on May 9 especially given Vladimir Putin’s obvious conviction that talking about World War II is not only useful for him diplomatically but is an event the overwhelming majority of Russians agree on.