Friday, June 22, 2018

Three Telling Statistics and Three Telling Signs of the Times from Today's Russia

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 22 – Sometimes the flood of stories from the Russian Federation is so large that one is at a loss to decide which ones must be reported and which ones neglected. Today is such a day, and so here is a listing of three new statistics from Russian polls and three new developments in Russia that constitute at the very least telling signs of the times.

            The three poll results are:

1.      Support for Russian Government and Vladimir Putin Both Falling. The VTsIOM polling agency, which is known to have close ties with the Kremlin, nonetheless reports that as a result of gasoline price increases and the threat of a rise in retirement ages, Russian support for both the Russian government and Vladimir Putin has fallen over the last month, with Putin suffering a decline of over eight percent ( and

2.      Only 24 Percent of Russians Say They have Suffered from Western Sanctions.  According to another VTsIOM survey, 24 percent of Russians say they have personally suffered as a result of Western sanctions, but 67 percent say the sanctions have not had any effect, the preferred answer as far as the Kremlin is concerned (

3.      Russians Significantly Less Likely Now than in 1991 to Blame Stalin for War Losses.  The share of Russians who blame Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin for the enormous losses the USSR suffered at the start of the war has fallen from 36 percent in 1991 to only nine percent now, as a result of consistent Putin efforts to shift the blame away from the Soviet leader (

And the three new developments are:

1.      Russian Soldiers Directed to Kiss Putin Icon and Children to View Him as a Saint.  A picture of Russian soldiers kissing an icon of Vladimir Putin has appeared in numerous publications and websites today (, and a school in Tula has put up a picture showing Putin and Dmitry Medvedev as saints (

2.      Graffiti Warns Kremlin: ‘We are the Revolution,’ signed ‘The People.’ Russians are increasingly angry about the proposed boost in the pension age and have come up with any number of slogans against the idea. Perhaps the most radical appears on the walls of a village in Sverdlovsk oblast that has gone viral on the Runet. It reads simply: “You are of the reforms. We are of the Revolution. The People” (

3.      An Invitation to Suicide? Moscow Urged to Pay for Funerals of Those Who Die Just Before Reaching Pension Age.  A St. Petersburg legislative assembly deputy has proposed that the Russian government take responsibility for paying for the funerals of any Russians who die just before reaching pension age, an appeal that has already been denounced as “an invitation to suicide” that would save the government money ( and

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