Saturday, September 28, 2019

Russians Less Concerned about Economic Problems and More about Political Ones, Levada Center Poll Shows

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 25 – In a development that may reflect coverage of the Moscow protests but that could point to a broader sea change in Russian attitudes in a direction that challenges the authorities, a new Levada Center poll conducted in August finds that Russians are less concerned about economic issues than they were and more focused on political questions.

            Even with the declines in attention to economic problems, however, Russians are still more worried about them than they are about political issues; but the declines over the last year in concern about the former and increases over the same period about the latter are nonetheless striking (

            Asked about which of a list of issues they were most concerned about, Russians told Levada polltakers that they were less worried about prices rises than a year ago, 59 percent as opposed to 72 percent; less about poverty, 42 percent as against 52 percent; and rising unemployment, 36 percent compared to 48 percent.

            Over the same period, they said that they were more concerned about corruption and bribery (41 percent as against 33 percent), the impossibility of getting justice in the courts (13 percent against nine percent), the repressive actions of siloviki (11 percent compared to seven percent), and conflicts among the branches of the state (six percent against three percent).

            Perhaps equally important, however, is the fact the percentage of Russia respondents concerned about human rights in general rose only one percent  (from six to seven percent) and that the share concerned about “the weakness of state power” jumped from nine percent last year to 15 percent this.

            The survey found stable or falling levels of concern about ethnic conflicts, terrorism and crime but a large rise in the share of Russians who say they are worried about immigration, up from ten percent a year ago to 18 percent now and a doubling of the percentage fearful of the spread of HIV/AIDS from four percent to eight.

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